The seed of the matter

For an interesting twist to your dishes, include jackfruit seeds

May 10, 2018 06:01 pm | Updated May 12, 2018 04:06 pm IST

Food is not just a means to survival for us. It is a long relationship that starts from our childhood, and as we grow, we keep building on these memories. It’s these memories and the emotions they stir that complete our culinary experience!

Every time I see jackfruit stacked up for sale, I am reminded of my summer holidays. I have vivid memories of the jackfruit season in Kerala during my childhood. Among other fruits, summer was the season of chakka (jackfruit) and manga (mango). Green or unripe jackfruit was used to make chakka puzhukku (jackfruit peeled, chopped and cooked with seasoned coconut paste) or deep-fried to make chakka varuthathu (fried chips).

Once the fruit ripened, it was peeled, and the sweet arils were extracted, separating the seeds from the flesh. The fruits were consumed or made into chakka varatti (jam) or chakka payasam (sweet pudding).

Jackfruit seeds ( chakkakuru ) were dried and preserved to be used later in curries. Their mild, earthy flavour makes jackfruit seeds an ideal ingredient for various spicy curries.

Feed the seed

Jackfruit seeds are a popular ingredient in traditional Kerala cuisine. Slivers of jackfruit seeds are cooked with a seasoning of tempered shallots, curry leaves and crushed red chillies to make an amazing stir-fry. They can be cooked with another popular seasonal produce — green mangoes — and select spices in coconut milk to make a curry. The addition of dried prawns to this curry is another local favourite.

The popularity of jackfruit seeds in cooking is not limited to Kerala cuisine. In Assam, mashed jackfruit seeds are a popular side dish. Jackfruit seeds are boiled or roasted, mashed to a coarse paste, and mixed with chopped onions, green chillies, salt and mustard oil to make a delicious mash. Another common preparation involves adding the jackfruit seeds in dal , giving it a mushy consistency and nutty flavour. A seasonal variation of the classic Assamese khar (a signature alkaline preparation that is served at the beginning of a meal and uses water filtered through the ashes of burnt banana skin) is cooked with jackfruit seeds, lentils, green chillies and oil.

In West Bengal, jackfruit seeds are fried and served with dal and rice. Sometimes, jackfruit seeds are used as the main ingredient in chorchori (popular Bengali mixed vegetable dish).

Panasa ginjala kura is a traditional delicacy from Andhra Pradesh, where jackfruit seeds are cooked with onions, tomatoes and spices.

Palakottai poriyal is a popular jackfruit seed preparation from Tamil Nadu, where jackfruit seeds are cooked with grated coconut and spices.

In Mangaluru, jackfruit seeds are cooked with Mangaluru cucumber, tamarind, jaggery, grated coconut and select spices to make a mild curry that pairs well with rice.

Kerala special

Back in Kerala, when late summer meets early monsoon, the last of the ripe jackfruits would have been devoured, and all the seeds would have been sun-dried and made ready to be cooked. This is also the time when dried prawns (or dried shrimp) are in the market. Jackfruit seeds and dried prawns are cooked with raw mango pieces, with turmeric powder, chilli powder and curry leaves. This curry is finished off with ground coconut and a garnish of fried shallots. A generous serving of this flavourful curry paired with rice still reminds me of the culmination of my summer holidays.

Tastes like summer


1 cup jackfruit seeds

1/2 cup dried prawns (shrimp)

1 raw mango (medium)

1/2 a coconut (grated and ground to a fine butter-like paste)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 tablespoon chilli powder

3 sprigs of curry leaves

1/2 cup shallots (thinly sliced)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

Salt to taste


Remove the thick shell, and slice the jackfruit seeds into halves.

Peel the green mango, and slice into chunks.

Clean the dried prawns, and pan-fry them to a crispy consistency. In a heavy-bottomed pan, add the jackfruit seeds, green mango, dried prawns, turmeric powder, chilli powder, one sprig of curry leaves and salt. Add enough water to cover the ingredients, mix well and bring it to a boil on a low flame with the lid closed. Once the jackfruit seeds are cooked, add the ground coconut and half a cup of water. Mix well and bring it to a boil again. Switch off.

In a separate pan, heat some oil, and fry the shallots until they start turning brown. Add the remaining curry leaves, stir well and switch off.

Sprinkle this garnish evenly on the curry. Serve hot with rice.

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