Kadgi Sukke…Raw Jackfruit Curry

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So sorry Guys! I uploaded the photos thinking I will type in the post soon and poof, the modem conks out. Just had the “modem guy” come in and straighten things out. And, So the post comes in.

Raw jackfruit is a quintessential konkani ingredient. It is used as a star of the recipe like in this dish or as a subtle ingredient in a beans curry dish. Either way, it is found in every konkani kitchen. However, in my part of the world, the fresh ones are not available. I make do with the canned ones. I use the ones that preserved in water and salt only. No artificial preservatives. My rule of thumb for any canned veggies. The good thing about using them canned is you don’t have to struggle with cutting an actual raw jackfruit which is full off a sticky sap that no ordinary soap can get rid off. Plus, they are cooked half way through which makes it a snap to make dishes like these ones. Just rinse them REALLY good.

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1 10 oz can of raw jackfruit, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 tsp Brown sugar or 1/2 golf ball size Piece of jaggery
Salt to taste

To be ground together, with water as required, into a coarse paste

3/4 cup Shredded coconut
2-3 Red Chillies, roasted in a little bit of oil
1/2 tsp Tamarind Paste
1 tsp Coriander Seeds, roasted in a little oil (maybe with the chillies)

Seasoning/Tadka

1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
6-7 Curry Leaves
2 tbsp Good Quality Coconut Oil

Cook the Jackfruit in a cup of water, covered, till cooked through. A good indicator is, if it is mashed when pressed by the ladle, its cooked. Doesn’t take more than 3-4 minutes. Add the ground paste, Jaggery, salt to taste. Mix and cook till any liquid present is boiled away. In a seasoning pan, heat the oil, add mustard seeds. When they get crackling, add the curry leaves. Step away from the pan as they are going to sputter. When the sputtering stops, add it to the curry and immediately cover it. Mix the seasoning in before serving. Serve with rice and dal or with rotis. Enjoy.

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Kesar Sandesh..Lessons Learnt…

Kesar Sandesh

Folks, this is probably my last post before I leave for India. It's a 3 month vacation and I am really not sure how much I can post before I come back. I do have a collection of recipes, that I experimented with past few months and hadn't gotten around to posting. As and when time permits, I will try to post them. However, no promises!!! In the meantime, I leave you with another treat for the sweet tooth. Bangla Special..shondesh!!!

The whole trick to this mithai, or for that matter any bangla mithai, is the chenna/paneer. Whats the difference between chenna and paneer?..From what I understand, the curds from the milk is the chenna and when its drained completely dry, its paneer. But, I might be wrong. Anyone who knows better, may please feel free to correct me. I would really like to know. I really should be packing for my trip and not writing a post. Which is why, I am going to explain the whole process in pictures.

For the chenna, curdle the milk first.

6 cups whole milk

2 cups dahi, beaten till smooth

You know the process. Bring milk to a boil. Remove from flame and stir in the dahi ,a little at a time, till the curds separate. If you need more dahi, add more. It should look like below.

Curds and Whey

Using dahi instead of citric acid/vinegar results in softer curds. Also, the curds won't have the sour taste of the acid/vinegar, which is really important for a mithai. Be careful that you don't burn the milk and please don't scrape the bottom while you stir the milk. The brown bits you see in the photo above result from the same mistake. I had a tough time removing that, once the chenna was formed. Lesson Number 1 learnt….

Next,strain it in a muslin cloth. Once all the whey has drained, pull together all four corners of the cloth and twist it. Keep twisting till the chenna forms a ball of sorts. The twisting will also remove any additional whey left in the curd. Tie the cloth with the chenna ball to the tap in your sink, or generally, any place where the chenna can be suspended at a height. Tying it to the tap just means that I don't have to clean up any remaining whey, that is draining away. Like so.

Strain Curds

Yep, the brown spots still there. You don't have to hang it for long, just till the whey stops being a steady drip. Remove the chenna from the bag. This is what you will end up with.

Chenna/Panner

 

Yeah, yeah, I know. the brown spots. Chenna is ready. Now, we can move on to making the sandesh.

Recipe

1 1/4 cups chenna

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Now, take the chenna in a wide bowl. Add the sugar to it and start kneading it. Knead till very, very, very smooth. It took me 5 minutes for this amount of chenna (That is, after I painstakingly removed all the brown spots). But the time is so dependent on kneading style. All I can say is that, the chenna loses its grainy texture and becomes a soft, smooth dough. When you form a ball with it, it will not have any cracks.

Chenna Ball Before Kneading

Before Kneading

Chenna Ball After Kneading

After Kneading

Add flavorings. I added cardamom and saffron(nuke 1 tbsp of milk , add saffron and then add it to the chenna) You can add rose essence and a drop of pink color, which is the classic way of making sandesh.You can call that rose sandesh. 🙂

Cook on a very low flame in a kadhai stirring continuously with a flat wooden spoon. Remove the kadhai from the flame at regular intervals so as not to overheat the sandesh. If it does over heat, it will become grainy and recurdle. Not good. And, no, that was not lesson number 2. The sandesh is ready when it leaves the sides of the kadhai and is neither too dry nor too moist. This doesn't take long, as you have already kneaded it. Just about 2-3 minutes. Some recipes that I researched on the internet, did not cook the chenna after kneading it. So you can completely skip this step. But, I like the flavor, after it is sauteed, better. So, I did.

Kesar Sandesh

It should have the consistency of very soft dough. The sandesh should be used immediately for making various shapes and garnishes. This, my friends, is lesson number 2. I didn't shape it immediately and hence, did not get smooth, uncracked balls. Here's where the 'asbestos hands' thingy comes handy. But, it tasted just as good. So, other then being a visual atrocity, no harm done. Well, lesson learnt. There is always a next time….

Anyway, top with chopped almonds or pistachios and chill. Ready to eat in a hour.

Thats it, Friends. Have fun while I am gone and don't do anything I wouldn't do ;)…