In the International arena of food there have been so many evolutions in almost all the places of the world that it would take several books with hundreds of pages to write synopsises on them.And also each region comes up with new and unique inventions overtime which would render those books outdated after sometime!Sometimes two cuisines of two totally different regions can be merged and cooked for spectacular results.
This was the theme for the 116th FoodieMonday Bloghop which was aptly named Fusion Fiesta.
Being an avid reader I was gifted many Russian Books as a child when Russia was jointly termed as the U.S.S.R!After the collapse the books became too expensive but the stories remained in my mind.One of the memories spoke of “Pilaf” which was a favourite of the Russian Kings called Tsars.Upon seeing the dictionary I found it to be a rice recipe with assorted meats of lamb,chicken,duck or game seasoned with spices and had on important occasions.
I decided to combine the Russian Pilaf with the very Indian Pulao to give it a beautiful fusion.I used Raw Jackfruit which has been and is used as one of the prime substitutes of meat since ages.Prepping a Jackfruit is one of the most arduous tasks but if you complete that then this is very easy and in a matter of minutes.Why?Because I pressure cooked the Pilaf to a beautiful texture which was loved by whoever tasted it!
I have used the Russian method of frying the rice and used nuts and dry fruits.But this in combination with Indian spices and flavours is a beautiful fusion and great for the theme.
Prepping the Jackfruit :
Take a Raw Jackfruit which has a clear,green skin with no black markings on it(which denote rotting has started within the fruit).
Apply any edible oil on your palms and take a sharp knife.Keep a smooth textured newspaper page close at hand.Cut the Jackfruit carefully into half.A white sap will ooze out which should be wiped immediately by a piece of the newspaper.Cut it longitudinally into half again and wipe off the sap.Cut into quarters and carefully remove the prickly green skin without hurting yourself.Oil your palms once a while to avoid them to go sticky.Cut the flesh into pieces and immerse in clean water to which 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp Turmeric powder has been added.
Pressure cook the Jackfruit pieces till fork tender.Refrigerate after coming to room temperature.
Preparation Time : 30 minutes
Marination Time – 2 hours
Makes : 5 servings
For the Jackfruit :
2 cups prepped Jackfruit (see previous notes)
2 tbsp Oil
For the Marinade :
1 cup Yogurt (dahi)
1 tbsp Red Chilli Powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Biryani Masala (optional)
For the Pilaf :
2 cups Basmati Rice (soaked for 1 hour and drained)
1 tsp Cardamom Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1 tsp Clove Powder
1 tsp Nutmeg Powder
2 Bay Leaves
1 Star Anise
2 Black Cardamoms (Badi Elaichi)
4 – 5 Almonds
15 Golden Raisins
2 medium Onions – sliced
1/2 cup Pineapple (fresh/canned) – chopped
1/2 cup Peas (fresh/frozen)
4 tbsp Oil
For Garnish :
2 tbsp Coriander Leaves
5 – 6 preserved Cherries
The Jackfruit :
Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and whisk well to combine.
Heat Oil and fry the prepped Jackfruit pieces till golden brown on both sides.Add them to the marinade and let it rest for at least 2 hours.
The Pilaf :
Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add all the spices and bay leaves on low heat till a nice aroma emanates.Turn up heat and add the Onions and fry till translucent.Lower the heat again and add the rice and mix well so that each grain is slicked in the oil.Now mix in the chopped Pineapple and Raisins and mix well.Cook for 3 – 4 minutes and add the marinated Jackfruit along with the marinade.Mix again so that the rice and Jackfruit combine uniformly.Add the peas.
Now pour water just 1 inch above the Pilaf and stir.Check the water for salt.Add if you need to.In my case I added salt to the marinade which was enough for the rice as well.Close lid of the pressure cooker and time the cooking.By the watch cook for 6 – 8 minutes and take off heat.
Allow the cooker to release pressure and open the lid.Fluff the pilaf with a fork to fluff up the grains.
Serve on warm plates garnished with Coriander Leaves and Preserved Cherries with Raita,chutney,any curry or on its own.