Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Enchor er Dalna - Tender Green Jack fruit Curry - A Vegetarian Delight

There is a lot more to Bengali Cuisine than Macher Jhol (Fish Curry) and Misti Doi (Sweetened Yogurt). There is a plethora of delicious and healthy vegetarian recipe too. The one I am posting today is called Enchor er Dalna (Tender Green Jack fruit Curry) and is one of my favorite.

Jackfrut is a tropical plant and is widely cultivated in tropical regions of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and South East Asia. Jack fruit is also found in East Africa as well as throughout Brazil and Caribbean nations. The young, tender fruit is called "Enchor" in Bengali and is boiled and used in curries as a vegetable. The ripened, sweet fruit is called "Kanthal" in Bengali and is eaten raw, at least in Bengal. More about tender jack fruit is here.


While savoring a plateful of steaming rice and Enchor er dalna might by a Bengali's dream vegetarian lunch, prepping a Tender Green Jack fruit for its gorgeous curry, is what I call a nightmare. The outer skin is tough and you need to get rid of it. Then, not all the portion in the inside are edible. You need to patiently segregate that and then proceed to cook it. Moreover, your fingers needs to be well oiled, while you are handling a tender jack fruit. The moment you cut it open, a sticky, milky substance comes out, which will give your finders and hands a dirty black stain, will will take at least a week to go. Peeling, chopping and prepping a tender jack fruit is a pain and I was never comfortable doing it, while I was in India. Luckily, I had a maid, who would do all the prep work and I just needed to make the curry. So you could imagine my joy, when I saw that in US you get your tender jack fruit, all prepped up in a can. All I need to open the can, drain out the brine, wash the jack fruit in some warm water and its ready to meet its curry!

Ever since I discovered the "Canned Enchor", I have been making this curry at least once a week. The texture of a tender jack fruit is very meaty and poultry like. Hence its lovingly called "Gaach Pantha" (the vegetable meat!). Tender jack fruit can be cooked in a variety of ways. You can make it rich and special by cooking it in coconut milk, a la Thai style or even in a tangy yogurt based sauce (Doi Enchor). You can make it festive by adding shrimps to it (Enchor chingri). Or you can cook it the Satwik way, sans onion and garlic (Niramish Enchor). The recipe I am going to share today is the most common, everyday way of cooking the Bengali style Enchor er Dalna, using basic Bengali pantry staples.


Heat oil in a pan and temper with Whole Garam Masala troika (Cardamom, Cinnamon and Cloves), Bay leaf and a cumin seeds.


Once the spices stop spluttering add chopped onions and fry till slightly golden.


Add the ginger and garlic and fry till the rawness of the garlic is gone.


Add salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder and cumin powder and fry till the masala is well blended and cooked through. Add small splashes of water to prevent it from sticking at the bottom.


Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are mushy and blend right into the masala.


 Now add the drained and chopped tender jack fruit pieces and mix well in the masala.


Add cup full of water and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the flame and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. This will ensure that the jack fruit will be infused with masala. If you want more gravy, you can turn off the flame after simmering. But I like it slightly dry, with the masala thickly coating the jack fruit. So I bring it to a boil again and evaporate a little more water. Finish off with a teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter, optional) and a teaspoon of Garam Masala Powder.




Recipe Snapshot:


What I used:
Tender green Jack fruit  - 1 10 oz can
Onion - 1 medium sized, chopped
Ginger - 2" piece, grated
Garlic - 4 fat cloves, finely minced
Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
Red Chili Powder (or Paprika, if you like it mild) - 1 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds - ½ tsp
Whole Cardamom - 4-5
Whole Cinnamon - 1 stick
Whole Cloves - 4-5
Bay Lead - 2
Oil (Mustard/ Canola.Veg/ Sunflower) - 2 tbsp 
Ghee (Clarified Butter) - 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder - ½ tsp
Sea

What I did:

1. Heat oil in a pan and temper with Whole Garam Masala troika (Cardamom, Cinnamon and Cloves), Bay leaf and a cumin seeds.


2. Once the spices stop spluttering add chopped onions and fry till slightly golden.

3. Add the ginger and garlic and fry till the rawness of the garlic is gone.

4. Add salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder and cumin powder and fry till the masala is well blended and cooked through. Add small splashes of water to prevent it from sticking at the bottom.

5. Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are mushy and blend right into the masala.

6. Now add the drained and chopped tender jack fruit pieces and mix well in the masala.

7. Add cup full of water and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the flame and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. This will ensure that the jack fruit will be infused with masala. If you want more gravy, you can turn off the flame after simmering. But if you like it dry, bring it to a boil again and evaporate a little more water. Finish off with a teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter) and a teaspoon of Garam Masala Powder. The ghee bit is optional though.




Diabetic Platter:
Tender green Jack fruit is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin C and Manganese. However it is mostly made up of carbohydrates. However the good news is, its all complex carb that breaks downs slowly and does not cause blood sugar spikes. It is also an excellent source of dietary fiber and it also had protein. Serve it with brown rice and simple salad for a wholesome meal. Since this curry is just too delicious, keep and eye on your portion!



6 comments:

  1. top kore tule kheye nebo! Looks delish. Have been years since I made enchor. have to go get a can (Only P and me eat it). amader barite beshir bhaag shomoye pneyaj chara hoto adar jhaal type er.

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    1. Soma, amar mayer bari is predominantly carnivore. Niramish, ie. sans piyaj and garlic keo khai na, including my thakuma and dadu. But amar in-law abar just opposite. More of aada-jeere bata. Aminext enchor er post amar ma-in-law er style e korbo.

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  2. Darun dekthe hoyeche. Aami o bhabchi je next week echor er dalna prepare korbo. Thanks for posting.
    Deepa

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  3. Welcome Deepa... ekhane canned enchor peye jano bachlam. Actual enchor kat te pari na. Kolkata thakar somoi, I had a maid je kete dito. Tumi paro enchor kat te??

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  4. Dear Progna
    darun recipe ...anek din EnchoD khaini..dekhi pai kina bajar-e...Thai enchoD is also very good...I had eaten 2-3 times in Kuwait..
    Bhalo theko..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you... your comment meas a lot!

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