Discover the many benefits of the amazing Jackfruit
Traditional Indian foods have a history since age old and cuisine varies across the country. The humble Jackfruit, a nutritious powerhouse is loved and despised in equal measures. The giant, green, prickly and smelly- for some fruit is also known as ‘the poor man’s fruit’ and has been mentioned in many ancient texts including the Charaka Samhita, Susruta Samhita as well as the native Jataka Tales.
Archaeological findings have revealed that the jackfruit cultivation in India began as early as 4000 BC. The ‘Jack’ derives from chakka, the Malayalam word for this fruit/vegetable. The Portuguese were the first to encounter it in India and called it as ‘jaca’ for fellow Europeans. While the tree is native to South and Southeast Asia, it is believed to have been originated in the Western Ghats of India. It can grow up to 30-70 feet in height with glossy and somewhat leathery leaves. All parts of the tree contain sticky, white latex.
The jackfruit tree is widely cultivated and popularly grown in gardens throughout the country. In South India, the jackfruit along with mango and banana forms the holy trinity of fruits. The Jackfruit tree is also the national tree of Bangladesh.
Jackfruit in the kitchen
The ripened fruit, which can weigh up to 30 kilos, is eaten by itself as a delicacy but raw jackfruit is also commonly used in various dishes. The pulpy fruit along with its leaves, bark, seeds and root are used in cooking as well as in the preparation of medicines. The fruit made of soft bulbs is packed with fructose and sucrose and is known to replenish energy and revitalizes the body instantly. It is rich in dietary fiber and works like a bulk laxative. The pulp is mainly composed of water, carbohydrate, VitB6, Vitc and potassium.
The leaves of jackfruit are known to enhance the taste of food, so various rice puddings are prepared by wrapping them in the leaves. Raw jackfruit sabji is a very popular dish in coastal Karnataka. The unripe fruit bulb is also preserved in salt and used as a vegetable in curries or to prepare pickle. Jackfruit fritters or mulka, from the Imba variety of jackfruit – jackfruit candy, jackfruit chips and even roasted jackfruit seeds, served with chilies are other popular ways of serving this majestic fruit.
The wood of the tree is popularly used in the manufacture of musical instruments, furniture, doors, windows, roof construction as well as kitchen utensils.
Medicinal properties of Jackfruit
The medicinal properties of jack fruit are known to vary in its various stages of development. While the raw fruit increases vata and kapha, the ripened fruit is known to increase vata and pitta. The fruit is heavy to digest and sticky in nature and acts as a body coolant. It is also a rich source of phytonutrients, antioxidants, flavonoids and fatty acids, essential to keep cancer cells at bay. Its rich dietary fibers also clean out all the toxins from colon reducing the chance of occurrence of colon cancer. Jackfruit is also known to help in maintaining normal blood pressure levels as it is a rich source of potassium thus reduces the risk of hypertension, stroke and other cardiovascular problems. By lowering the level of bad cholesterol in the blood, it also prevents blockage of arteries.
Ayurveda uses a decoction of the jackfruit leaves which has anti-inflammatory properties to treat fevers, non-healing wounds and skin diseases. The poultice of its latex is used for cleaning abscesses and wounds. The ash of the leaf is used in case of ulcers. The ripe fruit is sweet, cooling, laxative, aphrodisiac and nootropic. Weak and skinny people are advised to consume Jackfruit as it increases body bulk and energy levels. Its shoots are used as a water purifier.
The root decoction is known to help reduce intestinal motility thus helping with diarrhea and dysentery. Its roasted seeds are considered to be an aphrodisiac and given to patients suffering from low libido or erectile dysfunction.
Jackfruit also provides many benefits to the skin because of its antioxidants property. It helps nourish the skin, keeps it moisturized, slows down the ageing process and provides relief from dryness and pigmentation. The leaves of the tree are often used to treat skin problems, boils and wounds too. Its high amount of calcium and phosphorus help strengthen and promote healthy growth and development of bones too.
The Vitamin A found in this fruit is beneficial for overall eye health, protecting it from disorders like degeneration of retina, cataract, age related macular degeneration and etc.
Jackfruit is known to cause indigestion in some which can result in constipation. Hence it is advised to consume the fruit before meals. It is also not recommended for those suffering from digestive disorders.
Jackfruit-Seed Obbattu (Puran poli)
Usually Obbatu is made of Chana dal but find out how you can replace it with Jackfruit seeds. The Jackfruit Seed obbatu is beneficial for those suffering from general debility.
Jackfruit seeds (soaked in water for 2 hours and peeled) – 200 gms
Sugar – 200 gms
All-purpose flour- 200 gms
Ghee – ½ cup
Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
Salt – a pinch
Knead all-purpose flour with salt and a little ghee to prepare soft dough. Keep it aside for one hour.
Remove the seeds from water and pressure-cook it until it becomes soft. Grind it finely using a little water.
Take this batter in a pan, add sugar and cook in medium flame, stirring continuously. When it starts to stick it to pan, add some ghee until it becomes thick.
Turn off the flame and add cardamom and mix thoroughly.
Once it is cooled, make small lemon-sized balls.
Make small puris with the dough and place a lemon-size roasted seed balls inside the puris. Enclose, seal it and roll slowly.
Roast this roti-sized Obbattu in a tawa with ghee on both the sides.
This article has been contributed by Mahanasa Healthy Kitchen.
Mahanasa Healthy Kitchen is an Ayurvedic clinic that offers Ayurveda cooking classes in Bangalore, Karnataka. Here, students are taught to cook tasty and healthy dishes in accordance to the season and nature of their bodies. Students are also educated about nutritional and medicinal properties of various ingredients as well as unique Ayurvedic recipes in these classes. The course is structured in a way to understand the Ayurvedic principles behind cooking techniques. This allows them to understand individual diet requirements and lead a healthier life.