We Mangaloreans, the Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmins, take special pride in including seasonal produce in our cuisine. That is why it is no surprise that you will find bamboo shoots travelling all the way from Mangalore with the uncle of your sister-in-law or even one particular masala going all the way from Mumbai to Bengaluru. Authenticity is given the pride of place in our food and that’s possibly why it is so distinct from many of the other cuisines that you find in the country.

Come summer and there are a whole lot of delicacies that you will find on the menu. While a majority of them feature mangoes – both in the raw and cooked form – there are some other fruits/vegetables that are equally prized but are sadly overshadowed by the king of fruits! One of these is the raw jackfruit or kadgi, as we call it in Konkani, cleaning this is a complicated process and is best left to the experts. Luckily, my vegetable vendor was willing to do it for me so I was thrilled! The minute I set my eyes on the kadgi, my mind was brimming with options – I just hoped I had enough to make whatever I wanted.

This made for a delicious addition to our Sunday lunch menu

The one dish I’d been waiting to make was Kadgi Chakko, this is a spicy, dry dish and is ready so quickly; the only time-consuming part here is getting the vegetable cleaned. The raw jackfruit needs to be steamed well before proceeding with any recipe and what makes this such a favourite is that it has this wonderful flavour of its own that blends so beautifully with any spice(s). This dish in particular tastes like mutton sukka, try it and you’ll know what I mean! In fact, it was my dad who drew my attention to this similarity and since this was such a favourite of his (both of us, to be precise) I wanted to make this the first with the batch of kadgi I got.

You don’t need much to go with this, we had it with just daal and rice, the chakko is a star and that’s how it ought to be. If you make this a couple of hours beforehand then even better, the masala has enough time to soak into the raw jackfruit and this makes it yummier.

Kadgi Chakko
(Adapted from The Konkani Saraswat Cookbook)

250gms of raw jackfruit (kadgi), cleaned, cut into one-inch size pieces and then steamed till soft

For the masala
1/2 tsp of urad dal
1 tbsp of coconut, grated
2 red chillies (byadgi)
1 tsp of tamarind paste
1 tsp of coriander seeds
1/4 tsp of methi seeds

For the seasoning
1 tsp of mustard seeds
1/2 tsp of urad dal
4-5 curry leaves

Salt to taste
Oil

Dry roast all the ingredients, other than the coconut and tamarind, required for the masala. If you wish, you can add a little bit of oil to quicken the process but make sure it isn’t too much because then you will end up frying the spices and this will completely change the taste of the final dish. Allow the ingredients to cool down and then grind into a paste with the coconut and tamarind paste.

Mash the cooked jackfruit with a fork/spoon so that the little fragments are separated.

Heat some oil in a kadai and add the mustard seeds to this, when it begins to sputter add the urad dal and stir till golden brown. Following this, add the curry leaves. Add the ground paste to this now and stir it around for about 30 seconds. Next, add the jackfruit pieces to this. You can also sprinkle some water over this if you would like the dish to have a slight gravy. It is a good idea to use the same water in which the jackfruit was cooked as this will enhance the flavour of the dish. Cover and let it cook for about five minutes, add salt and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot with rice and daal.

* Handling raw jackfruit can be a messy affair, so make sure you generously rub your palms with coconut oil before proceeding with the recipe.

* Some people like a touch of sweet to their dishes. If you’re one of them, then add some jaggery while grinding the masala.

* According to my grandma, this same recipe can be used for vegetables like lady’s finger or even sweet potato. That’s something I need to try soon though!

7 thoughts on “A Mangalorean favourite

  1. Thanks Hari Chandana!

    @ Shruti – Arrey! No… you get the raw one as well, there's a Mangalore stores in Malleshwaram, 11thcross where I've bought it from. He'll also clean and give it you 🙂 Try it out…

  2. @ Shruti – yes, we used to (and still do) call it vegetarian mutton!

    @ Veena – thanks 🙂

    @ Divya – trust me, this is equally delicious!

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