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I had a craving for JackFruit (Kathaal in hindi) and got reminded of potato & jackfruit curry-soup in Java (as in Indonesia) It is quite popular in India.

How about other countries in Asia ?

Are any dishes available outside the continent ?

Do restaurants in the US serve jackfruit ?

anil

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Wwe eat the jackfruit and another similar fruit called "cempedak" as a fruit, hardly cooking them. Jackfruit may be chopped up thrown with red beans, sweetcorn, jelly and topped with shaved ice, coconut milk and syrups in the dessert "ice kacang". Cempedak may be fried as fritters.

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Malays have the following saying:

"Dari cempedak, baik nangka;

Dari tidak, baik ada."

That means:

"Nangka is better than cempedak;

Something is better than nothing."

I happen to hate nangka (I found it barely tolerable when I had little choice, but I never liked its sap and something else bugged my stomach or something), but cempedak is just awful, as far as I'm concerned. The opinion of my neighbors in the village I spent 2 years in in Terengganu (Peninsular Malaysia, east coast) was IIRC absolutely unanimous that nangka (which was generally well-liked) was superior to cempedak, which is smelly and has a nasty off-taste, if you ask me (which you weren't exactly doing).

The only cooked things I remember that had nangka (which is your garden-variety jackfruit, I believe) in them were lempeng nangka and jemput (spelling?) nangka (NO-ONE made lempeng or jemput with cempedak, and I think the idea would have disgusted everyone!). IIRC, both were essentially pancake-type breakfast dishes, with one having a filling in the middle and the other, I think (lempeng) with the fruit distributed throughout. I much prefered lempeng and jemput with bananas (pisang) or coconut (nyiur).

The big seeds in nangka and cempedak (also durian, a fruit which my parents love and I hate) are good roasted the same way you'd roast chestnuts (though chestnuts are better, if you've got 'em).

I never liked ais kacang, either, with or without nangka. :raz:

My favorite fruits in Malaysia were, in no particular order, buah kemunting - wild red berries I used to pick - manggis (mangosteen), mangga (the best kind of mango available in Malaysia in those days), Malaysian perfumy papaya, and kelat (tart) varieties of bananas like pisang kelat keling and pisang rastali. Rambutan are delicious, too, though I have to say I prefer lichees. Very honorable mention for the four varieties of pineapple that were available in Malaysia: nanas, nenas, lanas, and lenas.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I prefer cempedak to nangka- the strong smell and texture is exactly why I like it. I never refuse cempedak fritters, and now I remember cempedak ice cream. Yummy.

When I was a child, my grandmother had a nangka tree in her backyard, so we ate nangkas a lot, and did the roasted seed business (chestnuts were rare and expensive then). However, her nangkas were not that tasty or sweet, and some parts close to the centre of the fruit were downright gummy, so it wasn't my favourite fruit. A few years ago, the Thai came out with a type of nangka that is very sweet, and now I buy them whenever I see it.

As for local Malaysian fruits, I love durian (my grandmother's neighbour had a durian tree overlooking her yard, and any durians that falls in her yard were claimed by us), mangosteen (manggis), chiku and langsat. I don't like rambutans, because the flesh sticks to the seed, then again I ate a lot of it when I was a child, my grandmother's neighbour had , you guessed it, a few rambutan trees in their yard. And the bananas- so many varieties. Grandmother had a papaya tree too, that yielded a better tasting fruit than her nangka tree.

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Which part of Malaysia did you grow up in, tonkichi?

Btw, chestnuts were rare in Kg. Merchang, Terengganu (where I lived from 1975-77), too. They grew wild deep in the jungle and required a special group expedition to gather. I recall wanting to join one such expedition and being rebuffed because the feeling was that, while I had proven my worth on clam-gathering trips through the mangrove "swamps" (not really swamps) and gathered plants in light undergrowth, it would be dangerous for even an adventurous American kid to go into the deep jungle, where all sorts of things can fell the less than totally sure-footed.

I'm trying to remember which of the four chestnut types were edible. There were buah berangan, buah belangan, buah berongan, and buah belongan - or at least, such were the names in Terengganu and Kelantan. I think the last two were poisonous.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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You probably remember the Hotel Majestic, where I used to stay when I was in KL, and the Imperial Room at the Hotel Malaysia, and dim sum at the Hotel Merlin, and Bangles....Anyway, without going too far on a KL tangent (which we could do elsewhere or by PM, if you like), yes, there were indeed wild jungle chestnuts, and I liked them very much at the time. If chestnuts imported from China were available in the mid-70s, they were only _just_ available. I recall when the first large (2-story, I think) store opened in Kuala Terengganu, featuring imports from China. We snapped up the sweet preserved fruits and such-like. Must have been 1976. Malaysia renewed ties with China in 1972, I believe.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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JackFruit is available at several Carribean restaurants in South Florida. It's also sold canned at some West Indian markets here. You'll occasionally find it fresh at The Swap Shop Farmers Market.

South Florida

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Langka, as it is called in the Philippines, is used both in its ripe and unripe stages. The ripe fruit is added to sweet, sticky rice, halo-halo (similar to ais kacang) or a dessert soup made with coconut milk and sweet rice dumplings (similar to Japanese mochi). The unripe fruit is cooked with shrimp, coconut milk and hot peppers to make a delicious curry-like dish and it's one of my favourite dishes even with its unappetizing grey colour. We also roast the nuts. I'm sure there are lots of other uses for jackfruit, but those are the ones I remember.

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You probably remember the Hotel Majestic, where I used to stay when I was in KL, and the Imperial Room at the Hotel Malaysia, and dim sum at the Hotel Merlin, and Bangles....Anyway, without going too far on a KL tangent (which we could do elsewhere or by PM, if you like), yes, there were indeed wild jungle chestnuts, and I liked them very much at the time. If chestnuts imported from China were available in the mid-70s, they were only _just_ available. I recall when the first large (2-story, I think) store opened in Kuala Terengganu, featuring imports from China. We snapped up the sweet preserved fruits and such-like. Must have been 1976. Malaysia renewed ties with China in 1972, I believe.

I was born in 1969, and our family moved to KL in 1976. I am not familiar with Hotel Majestic, it is likely to be called something else now. Hotel Malaysia is still around. Merlin is now Concorde Hotel, home of Hard Rock Cafe. Dim sum is still served at Concorde. I remember going to the Merlin for Sunday yum-cha, saw my first butter sculptures there, and we ran around the courtyard with a pond and live fishes. Another Sunday yum-cha spot was Federal Hotel, with its dragon columns and red decor.

Bangles- does not ring a bell here.

We loved chestnuts- it was a rare treat. My father got them from Petaling Street (Chinatown), and they were sweet, nutty and much larger than the ones we get nowadays. Chinatown was also where my mum got roast duck, sold by men in little pushcarts.

I can go on, but we can do it by PM. I love KL, even though I am living in Singapore. Am planning to retire there.

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  • 3 months later...

Some time ago, my VN S-I-L boiled some jackfruit seeds, and they were delicious -- ranked up there with cashews for me. My attempt was okay, but lacked something. I just boiled those things straight. Should I have added salt to the water? Roasted the seeds, too?

Any hints/help would be appreciated.

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Jackfruit is very common in Thailand too. It is mostly eaten fresh, like most fruits, but you can also find them in certain curries. Young fruits that are not quite ripe are sometimes used as accompaniment for certain relishes as well.

Let me know if you want recipes.

Pim

chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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Jackfruit is very common in Thailand too.  It is mostly eaten fresh, like most fruits, but you can also find them in certain curries.  Young fruits that are not quite ripe are sometimes used as accompaniment for certain relishes as well.

Let me know if you want recipes. 

Pim

Do you have a recipe for skillet frying? I saw a program on FoodNetwork where the VN nuns season and fry them.

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Do you have a recipe for skillet frying?  I saw a program on FoodNetwork where the VN nuns season and fry them.

sorry...no. I don't think we do that in Thailand.

I think I saw that program as well, it was Bourdain, wasn't it?

chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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My favorite Hue restaurant in Saigon offers jackfruit salad. It's served warm, with a bit of coriander, some pork pieces, shallots, a smidgen of fish sauce (and more to pour over, if you like), and prawn crackers for scooping (or shoving onto the fork). The flavor of the salad is delicate, subtle, but somehow comforting (maybe it's the temp at which it's served), in a can't-stop-eating sort of way. And the texture and taste of the jackfruit is, strangely, a bit like that of overcooked artichoke hearts.

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pim, it wasn't Bordain, although I do enjoy his forays into Asia.

The show I saw was Cooking School Stories (I'm pretty sure, but not 100%).

I can't imagine jackfruit tasting any better than fresh, but fried had me intrigued.

This may not be the right place to ask, but I since I have your attention: pim, ever eaten insects? Any good recipes? I used to work in entomology, had fried mealworms and chrysalis, and have been hooked to try more of them critters.

Thanks to mudbug for the link. Will now have an excuse to buy a pressure cooker.

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I had a craving for JackFruit (Kathaal in hindi) and got reminded of potato & jackfruit curry-soup in Java (as in Indonesia)  It is quite popular in India.

How about other countries in Asia ?

Are any dishes available outside the continent ?

Do restaurants in the US serve jackfruit  ?

At Pondicherry I made a Kathal Kee Biryaani (rice layered with Jackfruit). A dish made for Diwali in our Delhi household.

Jackfuit is coming to a restaurant in NYC very soon. Be on the lookout. :rolleyes:

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Hi Suvir,

:smile: I'm from Malacca, Malaysia. My mum used to cook young jackfruit for me. We called it masak lemak nangka. It is quite simple as all you need to do is just boil some coconut milk, be sure to stir it all the time under small fire, put in blended chilli and shallots, and some anchovies. Then put in the cut jackfruit. If you like it hot, put in the little monster...small chilli, we call it chilli padi. Add some salt and cook till the jackfruit turn soft and voila! You'll have your jackfruit sorta curry. :biggrin:

I happen to be a die-hard fan of Indian food. I've tried apom, idli, tosai, beriyani rice, all sorts of curry, rasam...they're all yummy. I've tried cooking curry..they taste ok to me. I wonder if other Indians use coconut milk as much as we do here. Due to health factor, I've replaced the coconut milk with yogurt. I guess they taste better...there's a tinge of sourness and it taste real delicious.

btw, how are you going to find jackfruit over there? :rolleyes:

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Hi Suvir,

          :smile: I'm from Malacca, Malaysia. My mum used to cook young jackfruit for me. We called it masak lemak nangka. It is quite simple as all you need to do is just boil some coconut milk, be sure to stir it all the time under small fire, put in blended chilli and shallots, and some anchovies. Then put in the cut jackfruit. If you like it hot, put in the little monster...small chilli, we call it chilli padi. Add some salt and cook till the jackfruit turn soft and voila! You'll have your jackfruit sorta curry.  :biggrin:

        I happen to be a die-hard fan of Indian food. I've tried apom, idli, tosai, beriyani rice, all sorts of curry, rasam...they're all yummy. I've tried cooking curry..they taste ok to me. I wonder if other Indians use coconut milk as much as we do here. Due to health factor, I've replaced the coconut milk with yogurt. I guess they taste better...there's a tinge of sourness and it taste real delicious.

        btw, how are you going to find jackfruit over there?  :rolleyes:

Hello Arunaputri!

I envy your environs and living setting. Most beautiful and wonderful and so very conducive to many delicious fruits and vegetables. You are indeed very lucky.

Thanks for sharing the jackfruit story. I shall remember it.

As for coconut, I am no big fan of it, and use yogurt happily instead. I too love the tang and lightness that comes with careful and clever use of yogurt. It also works wonders with Indian cooking and is such a great thing to add in ones diet.

It is not easy, but one can find fresh Jackfruit in the US. I was in Florida a couple of years ago and found it fallen in the grounds of the Botanical Garden I was visiting in Miami. The curator was leading a tour (for myself and my ex), since no one else had shown up, he shared a story about how each year, people from the Indian Sub Continent break into the gardens at night and steal the jackfruits.

I find them from time to time at the Jamaican/West Indian/Trinidad store right at the area where the F train makes its last stop in Queens, a borough of NYC. They are not as big in size, and certainly far from any level of amazing quality, but when you have no other options, this poor fruit, makes do, and with some effort, some clever wizardry, I make whatever I feel like making using this fruit. It certainly never tastes as wonderful and superb as even the worst preparations of it can taste in India. But it is not all that bad either.

Welcome to eGullet! I look forward to reading more of your posts. If you find time, do stop by at the Indian forum as well. There are many members there who would enjoy your posts and also could entertain you with their knowledge of Indian foods and food trivia.

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  • 3 weeks later...

:smile:

Hello Suvir,

You are welcome to Malaysia. It's a multi-racial country, well-blended, made up of many ethnics, the top ones being Malay, Chinese and Indian. So, we have all kinds of food here for you. I'm a mixed blood, combination of Malay and Chinese, and I have the best of all worlds...Each ethnic has got their own dishes and I like 'em all. It's difficult at times, when I need to make a decision on what I shall have for lunch and dinner. There's too much food, and too many varieties, and they're all yummy! God! Am I lucky or what...

Can you tell me how to get to the Indian forum? I cooked Beriyani rice last week, but I have some problems with the saffron I bought. It was in a dried form, and I soaked it for a while but the color produced is kinda pale yellow. I opted for Artificial Coloring then. Can you tell me what went wrong? And how do you make your mutton tender? Mine was tough, thank goodness I'm not wearing any false teeth...or else the teeth would've gotten stuck to the meat!!! :laugh:

I had jackfruit curry yesterday. Reminded me of e-gullet and you! By the way, I forgot to mention that my mum put some tumeric too.

Have a good day Suvir.

Regards,

Aruna

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:smile:

Hello Suvir,

          You are welcome to Malaysia. It's a multi-racial country, well-blended, made up of many ethnics, the top ones being Malay, Chinese and Indian. So, we have all kinds of food here for you. I'm a mixed blood, combination of Malay and Chinese, and I have the best of all worlds...Each ethnic has got their own dishes and I like 'em all. It's difficult at times, when I need to make a decision on what I shall have for lunch and dinner. There's too much food, and too many varieties, and they're all yummy! God! Am I lucky or what...

          Can you tell me how to get to the Indian forum? I cooked Beriyani rice last week, but I have some problems with the saffron I bought. It was in a dried form, and I soaked it for a while but the color produced is kinda pale yellow. I opted for Artificial Coloring then. Can you tell me what went wrong? And how do you make your mutton tender? Mine was tough, thank goodness I'm not wearing any false teeth...or else the teeth would've gotten stuck to the meat!!! :laugh:

          I had jackfruit curry yesterday. Reminded me of e-gullet and you! By the way, I forgot to mention that my mum put some tumeric too.

          Have a good day Suvir.

Regards,

Aruna

Hello Arunaputri! :smile:

I do envy you and all Malaysians and Sinaporeans and Indian. You all have such great diversity. It is mind boggling and no wonder so fully enveloping in all ways.

I usually toast my saffron for a few seconds and then grind it and only after that, add milk or cream to it. The color should usually be yellow or very pale orange. Never the red that one finds in rice preparations in restaurant cooking. IN fact, I am offended when served that coloring instead of the yellow I look for when wanting to enjoy saffron. Your color might have been closer to what it ought to be. Do not worry much.

CLICK HERE to get to the Indian forum. I cannot wait to have you join us in threads there. :smile:

Maybe you can start a thread on how to cook mutton in the Indian forum. I am sure you will find all the information you ever need and more. Or, you can email me at chef@suvir.com and I can send you some recipes from the meat chapter from my upcoming cookbook.

Also, if you have any interest, I can send you via email, the recipe I have for Kathal (jackfruit) and in that, I use turmeric like your mother. I envy you to be able to eat your mothers cooking. My mom lives several continents and seas away.. I can only speak about food with her most of the time.... when she visits me in NYC, I get to eat her cooking for a day or two. After that, I make it a point to cook for her.

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  • 8 months later...

The only cooked things I remember that had nangka (which is your garden-variety jackfruit, I believe) in them were lempeng nangka and jemput (spelling?) nangka (NO-ONE made lempeng or jemput with cempedak, and I think the idea would have disgusted everyone!).

Oh Pan!!!! You are making me want jemput-jemput nangka. It's been YEARS since I had them. I used to love them.

And talk about lempeng .. mmmm ... lempeng pisang with shredded coconut. Cooked on banana leaf. Yumm! I made this when my MIL was here last - it's her favorite lempeng.

My mom used to just boil the seeds of nangka or cempedak, just water and some salt. The cempedak seeds taste better though. But behold - these babies somehow over stimulate the intestinal bacteria which metabolise sugars which in turn produce gas. :raz:

Very honorable mention for the four varieties of pineapple that were available in Malaysia: nanas, nenas, lanas, and lenas.
:rolleyes::biggrin:

There are now jackfuit chips which are dehydrated jackfruits and they are actually quite yummy.

Oh, and there is a dish called nangka Masak Lemak which is unripe jackfruit cooked in coconut milk gravy. Quite yummy too. But never cempedak masak lemak though!

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