Recently, and rather unexpectedly, I found a huge 10+ pound Jackfruit on my kitchen counter.
Rather than speculate on whether it is still raw and green, in which case I can savor the green jackfruit delicacies, or ripe and ready, in which case I can relish the sweet flesh and make jam, I decided to cut it open. More precisely, have it cut open by the handy sous-chef, the other adult in the household.
The jackfruit we were beholding seemed a giant next to a large avocado. Amid discussions of how many avocados will it take to make a jackfruit that size vs. how many avocados will it take to weigh the same as that jackfruit, I thought a picture of their relative sizes was in order.
Right from the first bit of it I had probably when I was 5-ish, I've loved jackfruit - everything about it: the heady aroma, the way it hangs in the tree, the size it can get up to, the hard thorny-looking exterior, the precious yellow flesh covering the seed, and not the least of all, the meaty chestnut-like seeds! Yes, the jackfruit seeds are amazingly tasty when cooked especially in savory dishes, like my mom's specialty Chakka Kottai Molagoottal.
Having sung the virtues of Jackfruit a few years ago, I'll try to refrain from waxing eloquent on it again.
Ignoring the pleas of Please don't hurt the porcupine egg from the youngest, the jackfruit was cut into chunks. The earnest task of extracting the best edible parts had just begun.
With meticulous work, the juicy ripe yellow fruit sections/bulbs/pods were cut out discarding the fibrous innards. And then, the jackfruit seeds inside this flesh was pried out, again with practised ease (on my part) and much joy.
I remember spreading newspapers on the floor and, as a family, doing the exact same extraction procedure when I was young. Each jackfruit season. When, of course, there were fruit vendors who had already done the hard work and were lined up at the market to sell just the clean yellow flesh for a nominal price. I think my mom relished in making us work for it. And I thank her for it - now.
After making a small batch of Chakka Varatti, and some Elai Adai, it was time to focus on the seeds.
The seeds were pressure cooked till they were just done, not mushy. The harder greyish outer skin were removed from the seeds as needed. One batch got dutifully frozen. Another batch created a new combination for Koottu that sort of came together that day as I was gathering a few things from the garden.
The last batch got made into hummus. Well, chutney/dip, if hummus purists feel strongly about it. But, hummus it shall remain for me. One of the best hummus born in my kitchen.
Jackfruit Seed Hummus
1 Tbsp Tahini
12 cooked jackfruit seeds
½ Tbsp sambal oelek
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 to 3 Tbsp water
1 small garlic clove, squeezed through a garlic press
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend to a paste.