Kathal is a seasonal vegetable, not a common one, yet liked immensely whenever it was served by my mother. I can’t recollect ever eating it at any other home barring a Kayastha family. That is not to say others don’t make it, as my mother had to pre-book a supply whenever the vendor could get Kathal , otherwise he would runout almost the same day, indicating the popularity of it.
In the South India, Jackfruit is actually eaten raw as a fruit, but only when it has repined, whereas in the North India we eat it as a cooked vegetable and one has to pick the fruit when it is still green. It is rather a large fruit almost as big as medium sized pumpkin. What is surprising is that unlike pumpkin, it grows off a tree and hangs despite of its size and weight. It has a tough spiky skin, which is difficult to cut and peel off. We would invariably get it cut by the vendor himself, who had the large tough knife needed for larger vegetables.
I am sure Kathal is prepared in different styles but my mother’s recipe is dry and tangy in taste because she used a fair amount of tomatoes. She would serve it with pride along with other dried specialities like lamb chops. I can remember that it got its due and deserved share of praise.
I normally only put the recipes once I have made them and taken correct measurements of the ingredients. Unfortunately, Kathal is something not easily available in the UK so I can't take the pictures, but I have made this not so long ago (just before I started to take pictures!) so am reasonably confident the amounts are correct. I am adding this because someone has requested it. So here we go.....
- Kathal 250 gms
- 2 medium sized Onion
- ½ tin of chopped Tomato
- 1 tsf Salt
- ½ tsf Chilli powder (to taste)
- ½ - 1 tsf Garam Masala (to taste)
- 5 tbsf oil.
- Cut the Kathal into approximately 2 inch pieces, keeping the seeds in each of the piece.
- Shallow fry the Kathal and keep aside.
- In the same wok while the oil is still hot add the chopped onions and fry till brown.
- Add chopped tomatoes and fry till brown and oil separates.
- Add salt, chilli powder and garam masala and fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the fried Kathal mix well and cover the wok and cook on low heat for approximately, 20 minutes or till the Kathal is cooked.
It goes very well with Parathas!