Jackfruit biryani or kathal ki biryani is one unusual but flavorsome rice based dish. This faux meat biryani will adequately comply with all the complex flavours of meat biryani, its unparalleled taste and the gratification of having a good, delectable biryani meal.
Much had been said against the vegetable biryani or vegetable pulao and to some extent such persuasions holds true to large extent, given that technically and historically such dishes are not possible and were never existed in any culinary history.
Both biryani and pulao has its roots of origin in Persia, and both were essentially cooked with meat as these dishes had been primarily devised as a one-pot meal that can be cooked in army cantonments to serve the daily food requirements of Mughal army. But that was history, some 400 years ago which has little bearing on the present day biryani or pulao as we understand today and both the dishes had been evolved since then, it has absorbed regional flavours and had metamorphosed in to vegetable biryani, fish biryani, egg biryani and so on. Some are also a result of confluences of biryani and pulao.
But still I would call this as Jackfruit biryani and not pulao or tahiri as technically both jackfruits and rice are cooked separately and I had used the layering process to prepare this and then cooked in dum style. Using vegetables to imitate the non-vegetarian dishes is an age old tradition in Hindu households (specially in kayastha community) where meats were prohibited on some days of the week or on some festive occasions. Yet to enjoy the meal in its full regality , such meals were devised which would connotate every aspects of non-veg dishes.
Jackfruits (check here how to make jackfruit curry) were long considered as faux meat because of its appearance, its texture and its ability to soak up the flavors and spices. While cooking this jackfruit biryani, I had followed and imitate every single process that I would follow to make mutton biryani. Right from marinating the tender pieces of jackfruits in yogurt and aromatic blend of spices that consists black cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves, mace et.al. to bhunoue (braising) on high heat just like you would do with mutton chops. Then finish the cooking in dum style layered in between the fragrant basmati rice, few drops of rose or kewra essence, handful of fried onions and a raita to serve with.
Before you read on how to make jackfruit biryani, let me tell you one of the vital point of making a good jackfruit biryani – how to choose a good jackfruit for this recipe. Jackfruit that is too young to eat, the one with no seeds and tender core will not make a good biryani. You need to choose the one that has started to open up a bit, with fibrous pieces that will beautifully soak up the flavours and juices and the one that has tender seeds. Jackfruit biryani will taste good with the kind of jackfruit where the pieces can be shredded, this will help to meld it beautifully with long grain basmati rice and can then truly imitate the meat biryani in all aspect.
- Jackfruit (read above how to choose a good one) : shredded around 3 cups including tender seeds
- Onion, chopped : 1 big
- Ginger-garlic paste (do not use the readymade ones): 1 tbsp
- Red chilli powder : 1 tsp
- Cumin powder : 11/2 tsp
- Garam Masala : ½ tsp +
- Whole garam masala ( cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, mace, bay leaves) :2-3 piece each
- Salt and sugar to taste
- Turmeric powder : 1 tsp
- Salt as required
- oil ; 2 tbsp
- Yogurt, thick set : ½ cup
- Basmati regular : 3 cups
- Black cardamoms: 2-3
- Cinnamon stick : 1
- Fried onions : 1 cup (finely slice the onions and fry them in ghee till brown and crisp)
- Cilantro, finely chopped : ½ cup (optional)
- Rose water : 2 tbsp
- Kesar, saffron : soaked in warm milk
- Ghee : 3-4 tbsp
- With a greased hand and knife, peel and chop the jackfruit in medium size chunks. If the pieces can be shredded, then do that.
- Soak them in warm salted water for half an hour.
- Drain and marinate the jackfruit with ingredients listed under marination. Rub the pieces really well. Keep aside for half an hour.
- Warm 2 tbsp ghee in a deep bottom pan or preferably pressure cooker.
- Fry the chopped onions. Throw in all the whole garam masala listed under for jackfruit.
- Add the jackfruit pieces along with the marinade.
- Sautee on high heat, add ginger-garlic paste.
- Add all the spices and ingredients one by one listed under for jackfruit.
- Keep braising them on high heat till the rawness disappear and jackfruit begins to soften.
- Meanwhile, wash and soak the basamti rice for 15 minutes.
- Cook the rice in excess water with the ingredients listed under rice. Add fewd rops of ghee too while rice is getting cooked.
- Cook the rice till it is 80%done.
- Drain the rice very well, spread the rice on big flat plates in two portions.
- Spread saffron milk over one portion of rice and reserve the rice for later use.
- by this time jackfruit must have been softened enough. Add one cup hot water and pressure cook till one whistle. If extra liquid remains, cook on high with out lid till all the liquids are almost 80%dried up.
- Depending upon the quality of jackfruit, you need to cook them in pressure cooker. If the unripe jackfruit is soft enough then you can simply cook it in deep bottom pan. While cooking it in pressure cooker, take care not to make mushy jackfruit.
- In your biryani pot. pan or dekchi, add 1 tbsp ghee and smear the base of the pan with that.
- Spread the white rice over it. Place one or two bay leaves also.
- Spread the almost cooked jackfruit over it.
- Cover that with layer of saffron rice.
- Stir in rose water, remaining spoon of ghee.
- Cover with a tight fitting lid through which steam can not escape.
- Cook on low heat for another 15 minute or till done.
- Serve :
- Fluff out the biryani with a fork. Stir in fried onions and chopped cilantro. And some dried rose blooms if you have any.
- Serve warm with raita.
Off late, I was getting few requests for jackfruit biryani. So here it is and I sincerely hope that you will love this as well. And as the season is not yet fully matured to have a good unripe jackfruit, this one I had prepared sometime back with off season but good quality jackfruit from my neighbour’s farm.
Stay hydrated, its getting hotter here in Bangalore,