I think for ladies who cook for their families, "What's for lunch/ dinner/ breakfast/ tea?" is the most frightening question. Mostly because the questioner in 90% cases is dissatisfied with the answer. I am basing this on my experiences, cooking for the last 3.5 years for a fussy man-child who's eating habits and tastebuds were different from mine. Also, from experience, I have now learnt to not answer that question and by way of reply, offer, "it's a surprise!" Today's lunch surprise is a kathal pulao (jackfruit pilaf). I buy fruits and vegetables on my way back from my run, and today I noticed some enticing baby jackfruit being sold (we got one from our factory garden too, but it was made into a stir-fry) and I bought one, for the express reason of making a kathal pulao, which I've been craving for way too long. This dish is flavoured very delicately with shah jeera (black cumin), cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf. The heat is added by way of ginger julienned, green chillies and red chilli and white pepper powders. A faint acidity is added by a squeeze of lime juice and umami and sweet is added by way of caramelised onions and sautéed onions. A further aroma and vegetal note is added by a final sprinkle of chopped coriander. The meaty jackfruit, plump fluffed up basmati rice and the combination of onions, aromatics and spices come together to form a spectacular and satisfying spectacle for the tongue, tummy and olfactory senses. I just love this vegetarian dish a lot and the beauty is that you can't eat it whenever you want to, but only when you find raw jackfruit in the market!
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