Friday, April 22, 2011

Kathal ki Sabzi: a Veggie's delight !

Last week we were at my sis-in-law's place. They have an independent house and an enviable garden wherein they grow a huge variety of plants and trees. Of all trees, what awed me most was the sight of the jack-fruit tree laden with the fruit.And of course, I brought one home!

During my childhood spent in Orissa, almost every second home had a jack-fruit tree. What's different about the jack-fruit tree is that unlike other fruit-bearing trees, many of the fruit grow on the trunk/branches near to the ground. Some of the fruit can grow up to two feet in length. Exchange of home-grown vegetables/fruits was very common in our childhood days and jack-fruit featured quite commonly in that exchange. Sometimes we received the fruit. None of my family could stand the smell of the ripened fruit and we used to offer it to people who loved them. But when the raw one was at home, I used to pester my mother to make the sabzi, the Bihari style. There is one recipe for the Andhra style too wherein the jack-fruit is chopped very fine and cooked with mustard powder.But my favorite is this one.

From my childhood, my friends kept teasing me saying that I don't know what I miss as I never tasted non- vegetarian food. Inside my heart I used to wonder what it really tastes like but never had the desire to do so.
For vegetarians, let me tell you that kathal ki sabzi, the recipe that I share with you now looks exactly like mutton when cooked and when my friends tasted it, they remarked that it even tasted like mutton ki sabzi!
So here goes...
Call it Kathal in Hindi, Jack-fruit in English, Panasa in Oriya and Panasakayi in Telugu. I choose to call this recipe as kathal ki sabzi as it is the Bihari style of cooking the curry.

To prepare kathal
1. Skin the kathal first. For this, you need to oil your hands and the knife as well. The fruit exudes a milky gum-like substance which doesn't leave your hands easily. I wore the kitchen gloves as an extra precaution and applied oil to the gloves itself. Keep a small bowl of oil at your side and keep dipping you fingers in to it from time to time as you cut the kathal.

                                                                   The uncooked pieces.

2.      Cut the kathal into 1 inch cubes. Discard the hard middle section of the kathal as it doesn't cook.
3.      Soak some tamarind in water and squeeze out the tamarind juice. Add one tsp of salt and a pinch of turmeric to this extract. Put the kathal pieces in this tamarind water and pressure cook. Switch off after one whistle.
4.      Drain the kathal. After draining, fry the pieces in a shallow pan adding two tbsps oil for each batch of about ten pieces. Fry till they are golden brown in color.
5.      To give it a yummier taste, add potato as well. Cut potato into half-inch pieces and fry. Do not remove the skin.

The fried pieces 

To prepare gravy:
  1. Make a powder of 6-7 cloves, dalchini, elaichi(big), 1 tsp black pepper, 1/4 nutmeg, 1 tbsp dhaniya, & 1 tsp jeera
  2.  Make a paste of 3 medium-sized onions. Fry in 2 tbsps of oil till it starts leaving oil.
  3. Add 1 tsp of ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute.
  4. Add the above masala powder. Fry well. Add turmeric and lal mirchi powder. Fry for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add paste of 2 large tomatoes. Keep stirring from time to time till the paste starts leaving oil.
  6. Add salt and tej patta. Add water (approx 2 glasses) till you have the desired consistency for the gravy.
  7. Add the fried kathal and potato pieces, cover with lid and cook for 10 minutes on low flame.

                                                                      And ready to go!

  1. This recipe is for three people.
  2. A ten-inch long kathal is enough for five people.
  3.  It is important to make this kathal ki sabzi in mustard oil to enhance its flavor.
  4.  Some people recommend adding the mutton masala powder available in the shops instead of the garam masala that I used.
  5.   It takes about an hour and half to prepare the curry.
  6.  It can be eaten with roti/nan/ paratha.


surya said...

Thanks for the recipe. Wifey wanted kathal ki sabzi and I remembered my childhood ke bihari style kathal which tasted like mutton

Beautiful World said...

Hi Surya,
Glad that you found the recipe useful. Hope your wife enjoyed the sabzi. Pl do write in if you have any questions on the preparation.

Firdosh Sheikh said...

i have a question.. is it necessary to boil it in cooker... plz do reply fast...

Firdosh Sheikh said...

Is it necessary to boil it ..

Beautiful World said...

I am sorry I didnt reply immediately. I hadnt checked my blog yesterday. It is not necessary to boil the jackfruit in pressure cooker but if you boil it separately in a covered vessel, it will take very long to get it soft.

Betty said...

Your recipe is outstanding :) I am finally tasting the kathal curry that I had as a child in a neighbour's house and still remember the exotic, rich flavour it had! Almost meat curry - you are 'bang on' with the reference! The dish turned out fabulously. Thanks for sharing the secrets of your heritage recipies...

I'm wondering if you would know - the kathal pieces have a slightly bitter taste, even though they were cooked exactly as you specified. This is my first time with cooking raw would be good to know from you if you have a solution for this bitterness.



Beautiful World said...

Hi Sonya,
Thanks for all your lovely words. The kathal needs more tamarind, a lemon sized ball, than normal dishes.But also take care not to add too much or it becomes sour. Also do not use an iron skillet as the sourness can turn bitter. I have never had a bitter taste with this recipe. Let me know when u make it the next time.

Anonymous said...

Finally i get to see the kathal ki sabzi i had it in India when i was there during my boarding schooldays.been looking for this vege for a long time.thanks.
If i could learn a nice dry style Arbi receipe that would be great.

Anonymous said...

looks yummy--

Neha Dhiman said...

Ohh this looks so yummmyy! I remember once one of my colleagues brought it to the office in lunch. Mmmmm...and it was sooo delicious. Thanks for the recipe, I am surely gonna try it.

Beautiful World said...

Thank you! Do let me know how it turns out.

anupam joseph said...

Looks super... will try it out

Beautiful World said...

Thank you, Anupam :) Let me know how it turns out.

Maneesha said...

Just loved the recipe ... thanks a ton ☺

Beautiful World said...

Thank you, Maneesha. So happy you liked it.

Anonymous said...

Lovely recipe! I was looking for an authentic kathal recipe, and this was it. I made it with canned kathal, so it was quick and easy.
Thanks for sharing it.
I also loved your writings on mother tongue and language. - S

Beautiful World said...

Thank you so much for your kind comments. I hope the curry turned out good.
Thanks also for making the effort to read my other posts and liking them.