Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Echorer Dalna (JackFruit Curry) - Veg meets Non-veg Dish


Sometimes I wish I had a pause button.

A button that allows me time. Some time to me and the rest to carry out things at my pace.
Like, time to stop and take the pictures of the things I cooked and I so wanted to share. Time to pause and write the story which had been brewing in my head that day while I was cooking.Time to smell the flowers. I agree . There will never be enough time for it all. Clothes will always be dirty. Toys always strewn across. A mountain of clothes always waiting to be folded. Diapers to be stacked. Noses to wipe. Vegetables to buy. 

As I rush through my day. Something cuts into my soul. My mom never hurried. Neither screamed mad. Yet, laughter was abound. House always brimming with love and enough food for all the unannounced guests. We were not sitcom type families. Below the belt jokes were conspicuously absent.Foul words out of the window. Even speaking any language other than Bengali in the house was sniggered at.Good bong houses of yore never had PDA between parents, yet we knew it was there.

And look at what hurry has done to me.

I am angry. Little one screaming. Profanity flows.Anxiety overload and love is nowhere to be found.

Let me help love find its way back into my house.

Let me get it the old school way…through the stomach. What else…

With this thought I get to chop a gummy tender and green Jackfruit. The complication ends at chopping as the rest of it is quite simple and quick.  Jackfruit is actually the vegetarian option for the hardcore non-veg Bengalis. A delicacy which most often than not finds its place in the vegetarian buffet section of the weddings and always cooked when you are serving vegetarian guests a Bengali meal. A win win option to keep both meal hemispheres happy.

Today's Recipe is the most most popular and commonly made using up the very basic Bengali pantry staples.


Echor er Dalna


Ingredients:

Vegetables you will need 

Tender green Jack fruit  - around 400 gms
Potatoe - 1 nos boiled (optional)
Onion - 1 medium sized, chopped
Tomatoes -1 medium,chopped
Ginger - 2-3" piece, finely grated
Garlic - 5-6 cloves, finely minced
Green Chilies- 2 nos (you can also use red chili powder for an extra  kick)

Masalas
Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
Red Chili Powder  - 1 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds - ½ tsp
Whole Cardamom - 3-4
Whole Cinnamon - 1" sticks
Whole Cloves - 4-5
Bay Leaf - 1 whole
Garam Masala Powder - ½ tsp

The grease :

 Mustard oil (this is what adds the flavor, trust me . Don't substitute.) - 2 tbsp
Ghee (Clarified Butter) - 1 tsp



Method:

Pressure cook the raw Jackfruit pieces.1-2 whistles. Remember to add salt to the water.


Heat oil in a pan and temper with the whole Spices , namely the Cumin,Cardamom, Cinnamon and Cloves and Bay leaf . Once they stop spluttering add chopped onions and fry till slightly browned.Add the ginger and garlic and fry lightly.

Now time to add the salt, turmeric powder, and cumin powder and fry till the masala is well blended and cooked through.sprinkle water every now and then. add tomatoes. cook and stir till well blended.

Time to add the chopped pressure cooked jack fruit pieces and mix well in the above spice mix.

Lastly add a cup full of water to the mixture and keep simmering on low heat for around 10-12 minutes. This will allow the spices to seep into the jackfruit In case you like it dry, keep cooking till most water is evaporated. Top it with a teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter) and a teaspoon of Garam Masala Powder. Mix. Serve with steamed rice.


My thakuma 'grandmother' used to say that if cooked well you cant make a difference between this and Kosha Mangsho.  In reality the texture of a green jack fruit is quite meaty, hence the nickname earned "Gaach Pantha" literally translated it means 'this meat grows on trees'!. You can cook green jackfruit any which way you want, the most popular is cooking it the like the  way we cooked above, with thick and sinful gravy topped with a dollop of ghee. You can also add plain yogurt to the gravy and make it Doi Enchor. One more popular way is to add Shrimps and call it Enchor Chingri. Or go the Vaishnav way without onion or garlic and call it the Niramish Enchor (Vegetarian Jackfruit curry).





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