Jack of all tastes: Chefs reveal the humble jackfruit`s multiple facets

The saving grace of this relentlessly hot season is the variety of refreshing fruits it brings. While watermelons and mangoes always steal the show, the jackfruit is not far behind and has its fair share of fans around the country. The fruit, popularly known as a summer fruit, is available all year round now but what better way than to celebrate it than when it is available in abundance?

One glance at the neighbourhood markets and it can be seen that the fruit is sold in two forms – the fleshy part known as the bulbs and the entire green fruit. The latter is usually picked up by those who eat it in abundance but for those who eat it in lesser quantities, the former is ideal.

While the sweet fruit is enjoyed plain, it is also used in different kinds of dishes around the country, the most popular among which is the jackfruit biryani. Mid-day reached out to city chefs for recipes — either traditional or innovative — to help Mumbaikars make the most of the fruit this season. The recipes include using the fruit to make a biryani, burger, kebab and empanada too.

Jackfruit Boti Kabab by Chef Juliano Rodrigues, Anglo Indian Cafe & Bistro, Lonavala
At the Anglo Indian Café & Bistro, a property of Out of the Blue, chef Juliano Rodrigues innovates with the seasonal ingredient by turning it into a delectable boti kebab. He explains, “The kebab is marinated twice so that the ingredients are absorbed well in the fibre of the fruit after it is tenderised to make it flavourful.” The fruit is slathered with a delicious marinade and slow cooked with a special masala and then served with mint chutney, lemon wedges and laccha onion.

Jackfruit (raw) – 1 cup (seedless), red chilli powder – 1 tsp, jeera powder – 1 tbsp, garam masala – 1 tbsp, coriander powder – 1 tbsp, hung curd – 1/3 cup, turmeric powder – 1 tsp, chaat masala – 1/2 tsp (garnish), garlic paste – 1 tbsp, ginger paste – 1 tsp, fresh coriander (chopped) – 1 tbsp (garnish), lemon juice – 1 tsp, salt – 1 tsp, black pepper – 1/2 tsp.

1. Evenly cut jackfruit, boil in 2 cups of water with salt and red chilli powder for 15 minutes; drain and allow to cool.
2. Marinate the jackfruit with ginger and garlic paste, garam masala, turmeric powder and allow to rest for one hour.
3. Prepare a second marinade by combining all the ingredients except chaat masala and fresh coriander.
4. Marinate the jackfruit in the prepared marinade for 30 minutes, until the fruit absorbs the flavour.
5. Place the jackfruit evenly on skewers and cook in tandoor or American grill until cooked well.
6. Sprinkle chaat masala and fresh coriander on kebabs.
7. Serve with onion rings and mint chutney.

Jackfruit biryani by Chef Rachel Goenka, Mumbai
Chef Rachel Goenka suggests going with the classic jackfruit biryani, a favourite in quite a few parts of India, this summer. With the fruit available in abundance, does one really need a reason to eat it? Yes, the chicken and mutton biryanis will hold more value over any other version for many but those who want to experimentcan always try their hand at making biryani with the jackfruit, an option that is preferred by many vegans too.

Jackfruit (chopped) – 1 cup, basmati rice – 3 cups, onions (thinly chopped) – 4 nos (medium size), ginger + garlic paste – 2 tbsp, water – 3 cups, oil – 6 tbsp, yoghurt – ½ cup, bay leaf (tejpatta) – 3 nos, whole black peppercorns – 5 nos, garam masala – 1 tsp, biryani masala – 2 tbsp, red chilli powder – 1 tsp, salt to taste, coriander (chopped) – 1 tbsp, mint leaves (chopped) – 1 tbsp. 

1. Heat 4 tbsp oil in a large pressure cooker and add bay leaf and black peppercorns.
2. Add thinly chopped onions and saute for a minute.
3. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute till onions are dark golden brown on medium heat for 2 minutes.
4. Add red chilli powder and salt and saute once.
5. Add the jackfruit and saute for a minute.
6. Cover lightly and let this cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.
7. Add the biryani masala, garam masala and yogurt to the pressure cooker and mix everything.
8. Cover and let it cook for another 3 minutes.
9. Now, finally add the rice and saute once to mix everything evenly.
10. Let this cook over low heat for 3 minutes.
11. Now add the water and pressure cook on high till 3-4 whistles.
12. Turn off the heat and let the pressure cooker cool.
13. Once the pressure cooker is at normal temperature and all the steam is out, open the lid carefully.
14. Fluff the rice and let it cool for 2 minutes.
15. Transfer to a serving dish garnish with chopped coriander and mint leaves. Serve hot with raita.

Chef Sushil Multani believes the jackfruit is a versatile ingredient as it picks up flavours and the texture adds to the mouthfeel. Photo Credit: Cafe Panama

Jackfruit Empanada by Chef Sushil Multani, Cafe Panama, Lower Parel
Chef Sushil Multani believes the jackfruit is a very versatile ingredient. “It picks up flavours very well and the texture adds to the whole mouthfeel,” he explains. The fruit is popularly used in a biryani in India and the fact that it can also be used to make kebabs and a burger is further proof of its multiple facets. Multani, who is the culinary director at Acapella Hospitality, says the dish was born at Café Panama because they wanted to have a vegetarian alternative for their lamb empanada. “The pulled jackfruit texture with chipotle and garlic filled inside a pastry served with salsa verde is just divine,” he adds.

Ingredients (Makes 10 pieces):
Raw jackfruit – 400 gms, chipotle chilli – 3 – 4 nos, garlic – 10 gms, salt – 3 gms, black pepper –  2 gms, smoked paprika – 3 gms, cilantro – 5 gms, empanada pastry dough – 200 gms.

1. Peel the jackfruit and marinate with chipotle chilli paste, salt, smoked paprika and chopped garlic. Keep aside for 30 minutes.
2. Pressure cook the jackfruit till done. Ideally, it should take 4 whistles.
3. Remove the pieces and pull the jackfruit using a fork.
4. Reduce the leftover sauce in the cooker and add to the jackfruit.
5. Add the mixture in the empanada pastry and bake for 15 minutes at 170 degrees Celsius.

Jackfruit Burger by Chef Amit Shetty, Café Noir, Lower Parel 
Who doesn’t love a burger? Chef Amit Shetty takes this passion for the American food to create a burger patty with jackfruit for a delicious jackfruit burger at Café Noir. Pointing out how the fruit has the potential to become a substitute for meats like lamb, he says, “It is perfect for any flavour as it has a very neutral taste. It is also a healthier option than potatoes for vegetarians.”  
Raw jackfruit – 200 gms, cumin – 3 gms, onion – 10 gms, carrot – 5 gms, thyme – 2 gms, rosemary – 2 gms, unsalted butter – 10 gms, flour – 10 gms, breadcrumbs – 5 gms, truffle oil – 2 ml.   

1. Cook the raw jackfruit with onion and carrot on a very low flame. 
2. Once the jackfruit is cooked, shape it into a patty.  
3. Coat the patty with flour and breadcrumbs and deep fry it. 
4. Apply truffle mayonnaise on the base of the bun with tomato and lettuce.

Chef Rohit Jhangiani uses the fruit to create a delicious Teriyaki jack sandwich, an option that is perfect for any time of the day. Photo Credit: Wakao Foods

Teriyaki jack sandwich by Chef Rohit Jhangiani, Wakao Foods 
Experimenting with different kinds of ways to eat the jackfruit, in-house chef Rohit Jhangiani says a sandwich is perfect because it can be had any time of the day. He says, “The jackfruit has a similar consistency to pulled pork after being cooked, making the filling procedure easier.” Using a mix of vegetables, Jhangiani says it is quite easy to make a sandwich with jackfruit because of its ability to break down easily and make every bite soft, succulent and satisfying.  
Onion (diced) – 1 no, Tomato (chopped) – 1 no, Spring onion (white side, chopped) – 1 no, olive oil – 2 tsp, vegan mayonnaise – as per choice, jumbo sandwich bread – as per choice, Wakao Teriyaki Jack or regular jackfruit – 300 gms.  

1. Saute the onion, tomato and spring onion in a pan with olive oil. 
2. Add the Wakao Teriyaki Jack or regular jackfruit and let it simmer. 
3. Get your jumbo sandwich bread out and add some vegan mayonnaise to it on both sides.  
4. Add the cooked teriyaki jack and put the sandwich on the grill. 
5. Add the other jumbo bread slice on top. 
6. Grill for 3-4 mins on medium-high. 
7. Relish your sandwich by dipping it in hot sauce. 
8. The two jumbo sandwiches are ready to serve.

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