800 g cleaned echor (unripened jackfruit; 1.1 kg whole)
80 g mustard oil
3 pcs dried red chilli
3 pcs bay leaves
3 pcs cloves
3 pcs cardamom
2 pcs cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
400 g potatoes
65 g tomato
3 pcs green chillies
½ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
10 g cumin powder
3 g coriander powder
5 g turmeric
½ tsp hing (asafoetida)
25 g ginger
18 g salt
25 g sugar
500 g hot water
1 tbsp ghee
¼ tsp gorom moshla
75 g prawns (optional, cleaned and deveined)
Echor (pronounced "ey-chore") is unripe kathal or jackfruit. It is a meaty vegetable that, after mangoes, is easily the best thing about the summer here in Bengal. No wonder echor is referred to as গাছ পাঁঠা (gachh patha, meaning tree goat—that is mutton that grows on a tree) in Bengali. This echorer dalna recipe shows two variants — one niramish (that is vegetarian and with no onion or garlic) and another that is flavoured with chingri, i.e. small shrimps. We like to have this with a tok dal with green mangoes and rice. If you have never tried echor, we highly recommend giving this a try. The cutting and cleaning takes a little bit of patience, but it is not as difficult as it looks—and the end results are more than worth the toil.
- Peel and chop potatoes and divide them in 3-cm cubes. Roughly chop the tomatoes and slit the green chillies.
- Clean and chop the echor in 3-cm cubes. Keep soaked in water until required to prevent it from turning black.
- Strain the echor and place it in a saucepan with 500 ml hot water, 10 g salt and ½ tsp turmeric. Cover with a lid and steam for about 8 minutes until slightly softened. We don't want to cook the echor fully at this stage, just give it a bit of a head-start.
- Drain the water and discard it. This will also get rid of the astringent flavour of the echor.
- Heat mustard oil in a pan and allow it to smoke gently until it loses its pungent flavour and turns pale yellow.
- If using prawns, smear them with salt and turmeric, and fry them for a minute before removing from the oil. Set aside for later.
- Fry the echor with ¼ tsp red chilli powder and 3 g sugar. Once it has fried for 4 to 5 minutes, strain it from the oil and set aside.
- Now temper the oil with dried red chillies, bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and cumin seeds.
- Add potatoes and fry for 4 minutes on medium heat until golden. You can add about 2 g salt to season the potatoes.
- Make a paste of spices by mixing cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric and hing with a little water.
- Add red chilli powder and kashmiri red chilli powder directly to the oil and allow them to fry for 20 seconds.
- Now add the spice paste prepared earlier. Saute the spices on medium heat for about 5 or 6 minutes, adding a splash of water whenever the pan dries out.
- Add the ginger paste and fry the spices for another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and green chillies. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Now add the fried echor along with 16 g salt, and braise it along with the spices for about 5 minutes. If the pan dries up, add a splash of hot water and continue braising.
- If using prawns, you can add them to the pan now.
- When the spices are well cooked, add 500 ml hot water and 22 g sugar.
- Simmer on medium heat until the echor has cooked through.
- Finish with ghee and gorom moshla. Cover the pan and rest it for 2 minutes before eating.
- kadai | wok
- khunti | stirring spatula