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The Essence of Mustard Oil in Indian Cooking: Spicy Mustard Jackfruit

Updated: Jun 6

Spicy Mustard Jackfruit
Spicy Mustard Jackfruit

In many parts of India, when one thinks of Mustard Oil, one doesn’t see it merely as a cooking medium. It is more than that – a lot more. It is an integral part of the fascinating taste of the dish. In fact, sometimes it is the very essence of the dining experience, tickling the taste buds with the subtle sharpness of Mustard Oil and its rich, heady aroma. The dish that we will be preparing today demonstrates this aspect very effectively.

Today’s recipe is Spicy Mustard Jackfruit. Known as Kathal in most parts of India, jackfruit is known to have originated in the rainforests of India. Nutritionists look upon jackfruit as a super-food because it is packed with vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin C which builds immunity. It is also rich in dietary fibre – this enhances the functioning of the digestive system and prevents constipation. It is abundant in potassium which helps in lowering blood pressure and reducing the risks associated with stroke and heart disease. And as if all this isn’t enough, jackfruit is also packed with natural antioxidants which keep your cells healthy and, in the long run, protect you from degenerative diseases and cancer.

In this dish, a truly unique flavour is created by tempering mustard seeds in Mustard Oil and adding the sizzling warmth of red chillies and other spices.

Here are the ingredients that you will require.

Ingredients for Cooking Jackfruit

  1. Jackfruit (Kathal): 300 grams

  2. Whole Red Chillies, dry: 5

  3. Black Lentils (Urad Dal): 2 teaspoons

  4. Mustard Oil: 4 tablespoons

  5. Mustard Seeds (Rai): 2 tablespoons

  6. Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: Half a teaspoon

  7. Curry Leaves (Kadi Patta): 10

  8. Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: 1 tablespoon

  9. Salt: to taste

The quantities mentioned above are for preparing four servings. Adjust the quantities proportionately to suit the number of servings that you require.

Preparation for Cooking Jackfruit

Peel, wash and cut the jackfruit into small cubes. This is a bit of a tedious task since a jackfruit isn’t easy to cut. You have to first remove the skin and then separate the fleshy parts from the tough membrane-like strips. It is the fleshy parts that you will be cutting into cubes.

Use your hands to break the dry red chillies into small pieces. (Don’t accidentally touch your eyes, and remember to wash your hands after you handle the red chilli pieces.)

In a mixing bowl, take one tablespoon of mustard seeds, the broken red chilli pieces, two teaspoons of Mustard Oil and two tablespoons of water. Mix well and then grind into a smooth paste. Keep aside.

Finely chop the coriander leaves.

Method for Cooking Jackfruit

Take around 500 millilitres of water in a pan. Add the jackfruit pieces along with the turmeric powder and salt to taste. Mix well. Then cover the pan and cook on a Medium flame for around 15 minutes or so. At regular intervals, remove the lid and stir the contents of the pan. Then turn the flame off. Drain the excess water and discard this water. Keep the jackfruit pieces aside.

Heat the remaining Mustard Oil in a pan on a High flame till the oil reaches its smoking point. Streams of white smoke wafting from the surface of the hot oil will indicate that the oil has reached its smoking point. When this happens, reduce the flame to Medium.

Add the remaining tablespoon of mustard seeds to the hot oil and sauté for around half a minute.

Now add the black lentils and curry leaves, and continue to sauté for another minute or so.

Next, add the mustard seed-red chilli paste and mix well. Cook for a minute or so, stirring the contents at regular intervals.

Finally add the jackfruit pieces along with around 50 millilitres of water. Cook for around four minutes or so, gently stirring the contents to ensure that the jackfruit pieces are mixed well with the spices and the mustard paste. Then turn the flame off.

Transfer the contents of the pan to a serving dish and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Your traditional Spicy Mustard Jackfruit dish is now ready. Serve it hot. This dish can be eaten with both, rice or roti. Many people have mixed feelings about jackfruit. It is a bit of an acquired taste. But once you cook it in this delectable mixture of Mustard Oil, mustard seeds and spices, it comes alive in a whole new way. Try it and see!

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