Named after the Urdu word for ‘vegetable’, chef Rohit Ghai has published his first cookbook showcasing a selection of recipes inspired by India’s rich food scene. Filled with vegetarian and vegan dishes, TARKARI: Vegetarian and Vegan Indian Dishes with Heart and Soul pays homage to home cooking, including dishes his parents ate, such as Malabar cauliflower, lotus root kofta, and jackfruit masala.
Having worked as Executive Chef in high-end Indian restaurants such as Bombay Bustle, Jamavar, Gymkhana, Hoppers, Trishna, Benares, and Verandah in Copenhagen over the past 15 years, Rohit Ghai opened his first restaurant, Kutir, in 2018. Following the success of the Chelsea restaurant, Rohit also opened Manthan in Mayfair last year. Meaning ‘to churn and reflect’, Manthan is inspired by the chef’s extensive international career, and dishes reflecting his culinary experiences – both professional and personal.
For his jackfruit masala recipe, Rohit Ghai suggests using either tinned jackfruit, or the fresh fruit, for which he outlines a simple guide to preparing it. Once prepared, the jackfruit is shallow fried until lightly browned and cooked with onions, ginger and garlic paste, turmeric, chilli powder, mango powder, and ground coriander. Once all cooked down and aromatic, tomatoes, green chillies and ginger are added to the pan and cooked until the oil separates, forming a curry paste. It’s then simmered for just a few minutes, for the jackfruit pieces to absorb the flavour from the spices. It’s finally sprinkled with garam masala and coriander leaves, then best served with chapatis.
On his jackfruit masala recipe, Rohit Ghai says: “Jackfruit is a truly versatile vegetable, with a wonderful flavour and texture. It’s sometimes known as ‘vegetarian meat’, because it contains lots of fibre. This jackfruit masala is simple and delicious.”
The following recipe is extracted from TARKARI: Vegetarian and Vegan Indian Dishes with Heart and Soul by Rohit Ghai (Kyle Books £25).
- 500 g unripe jackfruit fresh or tinned
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 250 g onions chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger/garlic Paste
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1 tsp amchur dried mango powder
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 150 g tomatoes chopped
- 1 green chilli deseeded and chopped
- 1 tbsp chopped ginger
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- A handful of coriander leaves
- Chapatis to serve
- If using tinned jackfruit, wash it under running cold water and leave it in a colander.
- If you are using raw whole jackfruit, first grease your fingers well with vegetable or rapeseed oil, or mustard oil if you have it. Place a bowl of oil next to you while cutting the jackfruit, as you will need to smear your palms with oil from time to time – the oil prevents the jackfruit fibres from sticking to your hand. With a sharp knife remove the skin of the jackfruit and cut out any thick stem in the centre. Cut the jackfruit into small pieces. Don’t wash it.
- Heat the oil in a kadai or frying pan over a medium heat. Once it starts smoking, add the jackfruit in small batches and shallow-fry until light brown. Remove from the pan, place in a colander and set aside.
- Add the onions to the pan and fry until golden brown. Add the Ginger/Garlic Paste and cook for 4–5 minutes, until the raw aroma disappears, then add the turmeric, red chilli powder, dried mango powder, ground coriander and a pinch of salt.
- Add the tomatoes, green chillies and ginger and cook until the oil separates. This usually takes 5–10 minutes over a low heat.
- Add the jackfruit and stir to coat the pieces evenly with the spice mix. Cover with a lid and let the mixture cook over a low heat for 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally. During this time the jackfruit pieces absorb the flavour of the spices and the sauce should become dry. Sprinkle with the Garam Masala and scatter over the coriander leaves. Serve with chapatis.
Related: How To Make: Chana Masala