I think good stylised food photography is not for me. I envy all those who so effortlessly (at least it seems so, kinda carefully careless) takes such good pictures. Though am not crazy about food photography and my style is quite homey and casual but Photography is an art and like any other artistic expressions, this fascinates me. I agree that I don't put much effort with props selection or light settings and I do not even have a proper place or table to take pictures. Every time I want to click I have to lug a folding table to the spot, take out crockery from the cupboard, iron the table cloth which remains squeezed between a truck load of baby clothes, and most frustratingly everything has to be finished while the baby naps i.e. within an hour. One of my most cherished dream is to have a sunlit house with a cupboard only for my blog and a table permanently placed in a sun drenched corner. Sigh!
For this post I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone. So, once the men of the house were off for their school and office I started prepping for the dish. (Here I must admit that I don't cook specific recipes to make my space pretty. Rather most of the recipes that I feature here are the dishes that we eat on normal basis). While chopping the onions, steaming the raw jackfruit I kept on thinking how to do it differently this time. A Bengali dish will look good on a suzani background and instead of placing it underneath the bowl I can hang it as a background, was the thought that I finalised upon. Once the dish was done I hung it with quite some balancing act to get the desired effect and then I realized the sky suddenly is changing colour. Within minutes it was dark and shady. I tried hard with my little knowledge of DSLR (basic one with the built in lens) to come to a proper setting but it was disastrous.
Cut 2, another day in the week that followed by. Again prepared the dish but this time son declared amio ei tortakrita khabo, tumi akdom lanka debe na (I will also eat this dish, don’t add any chilli powder). But without chilies how could I get a good colour??? Anyways tried taking picture with almost the same settings and again failed miserably which you can see in the pictures with green background.
I think I should stop trying now. Guess by rejecting my pictures out right and center foodgawker is also sending me the message not to try again!!!! Right now I have turned green with jealousy and I envy all those who almost has a website on food gawker or on any other food photography sites. While I sulk some more you check the recipe. With the lousy pictures, You have to trust me on this that this is an excellent curry (don’t go by the look please).
In Bengal raw jackfruit is known as gach pantha or vegetarian meat and is cooked in the same manner as goat meat. This could be cooked in many combinations. In my family sometimes shirmps are added while to make it vegetarian we use chana dal(Bengal gram). I prefer to add both for more flavour. The plain one with some related stories I had posted in my initial days of blogging, which could be found HERE. But cant help but to mention that the jackfruit leaves are used to make flower ornaments and rakhis. I always make flower rakhis for my brothers, and here is a small sample of that.
Raw jackfruit: peeled, cleaned and cut in big chunks (ask your vegetable vendor to clean this as its quite labor some and messy job): 3 cups
Bengal gram: 3 tbsp
Onion paste: ½ cup
Ginger paste: 1 tsp
Garlic paste: 1 tsp
Tomato: 1 big
Chili powder: 2 tsp
Garam masala powder: ½ tsp
Oil: 4 tbsp
Black pepper: 7-8 pieces
Cloves: 2-3 pieces
Cinnamon: 2 small sticks
Bay leaf: 2 pieces
I am not explaining here how to peel, cut and clean raw jackfruit. But if you want to try this at home peel the thick skin till no trace of green colour is there. Discard the fibres and the pithy core. Cut in chunks or in cubes. When cut raw jackfruit releases a gummy latex which is very sticky. Rubbing any oil to the knife and also in the palm helps.
Soak the Bengal gram for 30 minutes then boil along with the jackfruit pieces in salted water for 10 minutes or till a knife inserted in the chunks passes through without much effort. Drain and keep aside.
While the jackfruit is boiling peel and cut the potatoes in big chunky pieces. I generally cut a medium size potato in 8 pieces. Keep aside.
Wash and mix the shrimps with little salt and turmeric. Keep aside.
Heat 1 tsp oil and fry the shrimps till they ruen plae pink in color (approx. a minute). Drain and keep aside.
Pour the rest of the oil and fry the potatoes for a couple of minutes and take out.
In the same oil crackle the ingredients listed under tempering and then add the onion paste. Fry on medium till oil starts to separate. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for 3-4 minutes. Mix in chopped tomato and cook till the tomato is mushy and again oil start to ooze out. Now mix in the boiled jackfruit pieces. Add salt, turmeric, potatoes, red chili powder and mix. Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes. Stir in between.
Now add the fried shrimps and 11/2 cups of water. Cover and let it cook till the potatoes are cooked and the jackfruit soaks in the spices. The final dish should have coating gravy. Check seasoning and sprinkle some garam masala powder.
Serve hot with steamed white rice.
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