My mother-in-law specialises in cooking dishes that are delicious in taste, but which can be cooked in a matter of minutes. With four kids on hand, and being a working mother herself, she has told me of how she would always be pressed for time, which forced her to learn a whole lot of quick-cook dishes. Over the years, she has mastered a number of techniques and processes – all unique to her – that help her cook faster. She has been freezing pastes and purees and powders and vegetables in bulk, long before freezing became fashionable. This lady doesn’t believe in standing over the stove-top for hours, sweating it out in the kitchen, and checking on the cooking progress of a dish every few minutes. A lot of her recipes are, like, prepare the ingredients, sit in a chair comfortably and ready them as much as you can before the actual cooking begins, and then let them slow cook, forgetting all about the dish. Don’t hover.
A lot of the dishes that my mother-in-law cooks are from Kerala, considering she spent a major part of her life there. The food of Kerala is not very familiar to me, and I have considered my marriage to the OH as an opportunity to learn more about this cuisine, from her and other extended family. My mother-in-law’s Chakkakooru Thoran, or a curry that she makes from the seeds of the jackfruit, is one of my favourites from her repertoire. Like most of the dishes that she prepares, it consumes a bit of time for the prep, but the actual making of the curry is easy-peasy.
I learnt her version of the jackfruit seed curry very recently, and went on to make it at home, to huge success. I made a couple of changes of my own, too. The husband and I loved this curry, with its nutty taste, and the coconut adding a lovely flavour to it.
Here is how I made the curry.
Ingredients (serves 2):
About 1 cup of jackfruit seeds (with the outer membrane removed, sun-dried for a couple of days, to make them less sticky and easier to handle)
Salt, to taste
A dash of sugar
4-5 tablespoons fresh, grated coconut
2 green chillies
Red chilli powder, to taste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons oil
A pinch of asafoetida
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
A few fresh curry leaves
- Chop the green chillies. Grind the green chillies and coconut into a paste in the mixer, adding a little water. Keep aside.
- Pressure cook the jackfruit seeds for 6-8 whistles – the more mature the seeds are, the higher the number of whistles you would need to allow. For seeds that are quite tender, up to 6 whistles should do just fine.
- When the pressure has released naturally, drain out the excess water from the jackfruit seeds and let them cool a bit. Then lightly smash them in a mortar and pestle, after removing any membranes that you think might be too tough to eat.You will know which parts of the seed to eat and which ones to discard, once you get to this stage. This part takes quite a bit of time, but I will hasten to assure you that the end result (the curry!) will be totally worth it. Keep the smashed jackfruit seeds aside.
- In a deep-bottomed pan, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds, and allow them to splutter. Add the asafoetida.
- Add the smashed jackfruit seeds, salt and red chilli powder to taste, the coconut-chillies paste, sugar, curry leaves and turmeric powder. Mix well.
- Turn the flame down to medium, and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring intermittently. If you feel the curry is getting too dry, sprinkle some water over it, as and when required. That’s about it!
This curry goes wonderfully well with rice, served with rasam or sambar.