Saturday, March 21, 2015

2015 March 20: It's Finally That Time of Year!

It's finally that time of year! No, not springtime, although I am sure that our family and friends back in North America are fervently wishing and praying for signs of spring after the mountains of snowfall that they have received.

It's jackfruit season.

Steve is in heaven. He loves jackfruit, although it is an acquired taste. The first time he tried it many years ago he thought it tasted strange. But now he is a true jackfruit connoisseur, and has been eagerly anticipating the beginning of jackfruit season. Every time we pass a jackfruit tree he comments on how the the fruit is coming along.

Jackfruit season is so anticipated here in Sri Lanka that when I asked our tuktuk driver - a different one than we usually use, as 'ours' was away yesterday - to take us to get some samosas for supper, he said, "No! No samosa! You need jackfruit!" Then he drove us to the fruit market in central Negombo, and personally chose the jackfruit he thought was at the perfect stage of ripeness. After looking through them, feeling them, and smelling them, he chose three. "This one you must eat today. This one you must eat tomorrow. This one, just eat later."

Okay!

So, we returned home with our fresh jackfruit, as well as green jackfruit and chopped jackfruit for cooking. Unfortunately, in all the commotion, I ended up with three bags of the goodness, rather than the two that I paid for. All night I dreamed that I was on a Wanted Poster at the post office, for theft of jackfruit! Today our regular driver took me back to the vegetable stand where I bought them, and somehow between four market sellers, my driver, myself and lots of pantomime, I was able to make it know to the owner that I owed him money! 30 rupees (22 cents) is not a lot to pay for peace of mind and sweet dreams.

Jackfruit is a strange fruit. It grows directly from the trunk of the tree instead of from the branches because the fruit is so heavy - one fruit can weigh up to 80 pounds!
By Shahnoor Habib Munmun (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Huge soft yellow kernels with a texture reminiscent of mango slices or peaches that are just a little too soft cover edible seeds the size of macadamia nuts.
"Jackfruit Flesh" by Mullookkaaran - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jackfruit_Flesh.jpg#/media/File:Jackfruit_Flesh.jpg

Delicious raw, it is also good cooked into savoury dishes. Here are some recipes that look like the ones I like in different restaurants we have eaten, but I confess to completely ripping them off...er...borrowing the recipes...from other sites!


Green Jackfruit Curry - eat this as a cold side dish with rice
Recipe and photo courtesy http://www.srilankanrecipes.info/recipes/Sambols/GreenJackFruit.aspx

Ingredients
1 Green jackfruit (2 cans of green jack fruit)
Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
(a)Ingredients
2 tspn Mustard powder
1 tspn black powder
chopped 1 clove garlic
1 tbsn curry powder
shredded coconut(1/2 cup)
(b)Ingredients
1 tspn mustard seeds
Sliced onion
Curry leaves
Rampe(pandan leaves)
2 or 3 dried whole red chillies


Peel the outer skin of the Green jackfruit and chop it into very small pieces.Now add salt and turmeric powder and a little bit of water and cook for awhile.Chop all the (a)Ingredients together with shredded coconut and add a little salt and add to the boiled green jack fruit mix.When the coconut mix is well heated take it out of the stove.

Heat a pan with a little cooking oil and temper the (b)ingredients and add it to the cooked dish and mix well.



Green Jackfruit Curry - if it looks like tuna, tastes like tuna, but is vegetarian...it's jack fruit.
Recipe and photo courtesy http://www.infolanka.com/recipes/mess3/148.html

Ingredients
3 cans of Young Green Jackfruit
1 onion, chopped
1-2 green chillies
2 tsp garlic, chopped
2 tsp ginger, chopped
1 sprig of curry leaves (optional)
1-2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 tsp curry powder
3-4 cardamoms
3-4 cloves
1 inch piece of cinnamon
2-3 pieces of goraka
1 can of coconut milk
salt to taste
Fry the onions, green chillies, ginger, garlic and curry leaves in about 1 tbsp of oil, till golden brown. Next add all the spices, fry for a minute for so till fragrant.
Now add the rest of ingredients, except coconut milk, stir to coat. Add salt.
* Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker, add coconut milk. Stir and cook on low heat for at least 6 hours. The curry would turn a dark brown color when done. (I usually let it cook over night)
Serve hot.
* You can cook this also in a pressure cooker. Cook for about 20-25 minutes at steady pressure (Since cooking times, vary depending on the type of cooker you have, use your judgment here)
** If you want to cook on the stove, cook under low heat in a heavy bottom pan.


Deep-Fried Jackfruit Seeds
Recipe adapted from and photo courtesy http://www.inside.lk/food/recipe/deep-fried-jackfruit-seeds/

Ingredients
1 cup jackfruit seeds
oil for deep-frying plus oil for frying
1 sliced onion
1 tsp red chili flakes
1/4 cup fresh or dried unsweetened coconut flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the jackfruit seeds until the shells soften. Let cool. Cut in half and remove shell. Heat the oil and deep fry the seeds until golden brown. Drain. Deep fry the onion slices until golden brown. Drain. Roast the coconut in a dry pan for a few minutes. Put everything into one bowl and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.



And of course, our favourite, just plain jack fruit, fresh from the tree! (You can buy these canned in the International section of grocery stores, and they are almost as good as fresh.) Monkeys love the fruit as well. When we were in Kandi last week, Steve and Elanor watched a troupe of about thirty toque macaques happily sharing some with each other. Three were breaking apart the fruit and then passing it to the others.

All this talk of jackfruit is making my mouth water. I think it's time to go have some right now!