Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Young Jackfruit in Coconut Milk - Gulai Lemak Nangka

This is a smooth creamy dish of young jackfruit boiled in coconut milk. The yellow of the gravy is derived from a few slices of fresh tumeric. It's very easy to do and there is no sauteeing of ingredients at all. The addition of fiery bird chillies is optional but it does give the dish a bit of a kick. Something that we all seriously need once in a while.

400 gm of young jackfruit, cut into chunks
2 shallots, sliced
1 clove garlic sliced
1/2 inch fresh ginger, sliced
1/2 inch fresh tumeric, sliced
1 tumeric leaf

2 cups thin coconut milk, the consistency of very thin watery milk
1 1/2 cups of thick coconut milk
1 teaspoon tamarind pulp mixed with 1 tablespoon of water and squeezed to extract the juice
salt to taste

4 - 5 large prawns, skinned, with tail left intact
1 large red chilly, halved, seeds removed, if desired
1 bird chilly, optional

Place the sliced shallots, garlic, ginger, fresh tumeric, tumeric leaf and young jackfruit into a medium sized pot. Pour in the thin coconut milk. Add salt and bring to a boil and then bring it down to a simmer and cook for about forty-five minutes or until the jackfruit is tender.

This is what young jackfruit looks like. Still green around the edges and white inside as opposed to the deep yellow of a ripened one.

When the jackfruit is tender pour in the thick coconut milk, tamarind juice, prawns and chillies.

After adding the thick coconut milk do not allow it to boil as this will cause the milk to seperate and the oil in the coconut milk will rise to the top.

This gravy is supposed to be smooth and creamy without a layer of oil on the top as in a curry or in other Asian dishes.

Let it simmer gently, while stirring until the prawns are cooked. Adjust salt to taste.

Serve hot with plain white rice.

TIP : Constant stirring is the method by which one avoids the coconut milk 'breaking' or 'seperating' while cooking. That is the reason the jackfruit was cooked in thin coconut milk first and therefore left to boil and then simmer moderately as there isn't much oil in a thin and very diluted coconut milk to result in a 'seperation' (therefore avoiding the need for constant stirring).

The addition of thick coconut milk at the end of the cooking gives the smooth, velvety creaminess of the gravy that we are looking for and the pot is taken off the stove after just a couple of minutes.

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