Jackfruit which is called as kathal or echor in Bengali makes great koftas and these kathal koftas can give malai koftas a run for its money!
Kathal or raw jackfruit is a very popular vegetable across India. Of course, every region has its own unique style to make it and today I bring the kathal kofta curry in the way we make it at home. Kathal or jackfruit seems to be a very amusing vegetable to me; when raw you can make delicious curries with it and when ripe, it becomes a yummy fruit! Now how amusing is that! Kathal kofta is a delicious dish which is usually made on weekend as there is some effort involved to make this and can be a little time consuming. But nonetheless, it is not difficult at all and I really feel that we should have such recipes in our repertoire for delighting our friends and family on celebratory meals!
Raw jackfruit or kathal can seem intimidating to many of us and I agree it is! Even I wasn’t very comfortable handling this complicated looking vegetable few months back and I still prefer to get this thing cut and cleaned from the vegetable shop itself or my mom or MIL comes to rescue in such situations! The point is simply that you need to know which parts of kathal to discard and which one to keep. Once you get that sorted, it’s not tricky at all and you will be able to make one of the most delicious vegetable koftas ever!
There are endless types of koftas in Indian cuisine and koftas in general are loved by everyone. In layman’s term, koftas are nothing but crispy fried balls made of mashed vegetables (or even minced meat) and kofta curries are succulent koftas immersed in a spicy gravy. Malai kofta is one of the flagship dishes of India and is made of grated paneer. Similarly, the kathal kofta is made of boiled and mashed kathal or jackfruit mixed with some boil potatoes for binding everything together. I have also added some boiled chana dal for an extra bite but that is completely optional.
Kathal is a seasonal vegetable and I urge you to give this kathal kofta a try. If you are scared of how to properly clean this vegetable then you can easily ask your vegetable vendor to prepare it for you and I am sure they will be happy to do it. The creamy tomato based gravy of kathal kofta taste great with anything – roti or rice and will be loved by all at your next dinner party at home! Try it!
- Kathal / raw jackfruit – 500 gms, cut into small cubes
- Chana dal – ¼ cup
- Potato – 1, medium, peeled and cut into quarters
- Onion – 1, large, finely chopped
- Ginger paste – 1 tsp
- Garlic paste – 1 tsp
- Green chilies – 2
- Salt to taste
- Vegetable oil or mustard oil for deep frying
- Green cardamom – 4 to 6
- Bay leaf – 1
- Cloves – 4 to 6
- Cinnamon stick – 1 inch piece
- Onion – 2, medium, make a smooth paste of them
- Ginger paste – ½ tbsp
- Garlic paste – ½ tbsp
- Tomato puree – 1 tbsp
- Yogurt – ¾ cup, beaten until smooth
- Fresh cream – 3 tbsp
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Kashmiri chili powder – 1 tsp
- Coriander powder – 1 tsp
- Garam masala – 1 tsp
- Mustard / vegetable Oil – 2 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Soak the chana dal in water for about an hour.
- Now boil the dal with the potato cubes and raw jackfruit pieces till all are cooked through. Drain the water and mash everything together. The vegetables and dal will be easily mashed when they are still warm.
- Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a large wok. Add the chopped green chilies and chopped onion. Sauté them until the onion turns golden.
- Next add the ginger and garlic paste and cook them until oil starts to separate, about 5 minutes on medium heat.
- Add the mashed vegetables & dal mixture, season with salt and chili powder. Keep cooking on low until all the moisture dries up for about 10 to 15 minutes. The mixture should look glossy and leaves the sides of the wok easily.
- Remove the mixture from heat and let it cool. When the mixture is cold enough to handle, take about a tablespoon of the mash and roll through your palms to make a firm & smooth ball. Repeat till the mash is finished.
- Heat enough oil for deep frying in a deep wok. Fry the prepared koftas in batches until golden brown on all sides. Take them out and place on absorbing paper.
- Heat the oil in a wok and once hot temper it with bay leaf, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Let them crackle and become fragrant.
- Then add the onion paste and sauté them on medium until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Next add the ginger and garlic paste and cook them for couple of minutes or until the oil starts to separate. At this stage, add the tomato puree and cook until the raw smell is gone.
- Make a smooth paste of coriander powder, chili powder and turmeric powder mixed with 2 tablespoons of water. Add this spice paste to the wok and season it with salt to taste. Sauté the spices on medium-high until the water is absorbed and oil starts to separate again.
- Now bring the flame to the lowest and add the beaten yogurt to the wok while stirring continuously to ensure the yogurt doesn’t split. Keep cooking until all the yogurt is thoroughly combined with the spice mix.
- Now add 1 to 1 & ½ cup of warm water to the wok and let it come to boil. Mix everything well to make a uniform gravy and check the seasoning. Once the gravy comes to a rolling boil, cover and let it simmer for 5 to 6 minutes for all the flavors to amalgamate and mature.
- Finally add the cooking cream and the prepared koftas and boil the gravy for final couple of minutes. Adjust the consistency of the gravy as per your desire. You may add more water if it seems to be too dry and bring it boil or boil off any excess water. But do remember that the koftas will soak up a lot of the gravy, so make the adjustment accordingly.
- Sprinkle garam masala and serve the kathal kofta hot with poori or parantha. Enjoy!