Monday, October 18, 2010

Bikanda VaLValayn - Jackfruit Seeds Curry

Jackfruit seeds are devoured in Maharashtrian, Gujarati and Konkani cuisines. They are called "Phansachya aaThaLya, Champa ni gotli and bikand" in those languages. I am sure they must be having many different names in different Indian languages.

You may find jackfruit seeds at your chinatown or you can even use fresh chestnuts. I think they taste pretty close to jackfruit seeds.

In South Canara cuisine, the basic masala/ground paste have three basic ingredients - coconut, byadgi chilies and tamarind. But as I tried to explain here, the consistency of curry(thick/thin), consistency of ground paste (coarse/fine), heat (mild/spicy/fiery), tempering(onion/garlic/curry leaves etc) change the taste & name. So inspite of using the same masala, the result is totally different.

Now, there are 3 types of curries that use the same masala, same seasoning(garlic) but still have different names (koddel/bendi/vaLvaLayn). But here, the main differentiating factor is the heat level. Bendi is hotter than koddel and vaLvaLays is the hottest. If you are a Konkani, you may have witnessed your grandmother calmly taking out 30-40 red chilies for making some super spicy curries! VaLvaLayn, Fanna Upkari are such fiery hot curries. You can decide your own heat level.

Though this super spicy, fiery hot curry goes by this quaint name vaLvaLayn, it's not same as another south canara curry valval which is very mild.

BikanDa VaLvaLayn
Jackfruit seeds curry

2 cups jackfruit seeds or fresh chestnuts
salt to taste

Grind to fine paste
1/2 cup fresh coconut
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp super hot chili powder or 12-15 byadgi chilies roasted in a few drops of coconut oil

1 tbsp coconut oil
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled/smashed

1. If using jackfruit seeds, pressure cook the seeds, peel and halve them. Set aside. If using fresh chestnuts, roast them according to Indira's instructions. Cut into 2-3 pieces. Set aside.
2. Grind coconut, tamarind and chilies or chili powder to a smooth paste.
3. Add ground masala paste and seeds to a saucepan. Add water and salt.
4. Bring to boil.
5. In another small saucepan, heat oil - preferably coconut oil - add smashed garlic cloves. Fry till they are reddish in color.
6. Pour the tempered oil and garlic over the curry. Switch off the gas. Cover with a lid immediately.

Note -
1. The consistency of this curry should be on the thick side.
2. This curry should be very hot. But you can use your own judgement.
3. Any oil of your choice can be used. But traditionally, coconut oil is preferred.
4. Make sure that when smashing the garlic, you are not making a paste. Each garlic should still be able to hold its shape.


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