Vegetarian Side Dish… Katahar Curry

Katahar Curry

Katahar is a relative to the Jack Fruit family. In fact, many mistake it for jack fruit. The young/green katahar is usually cooked in a coconut curry broth. The mature/ripe katahar is used only for its seeds, that are boiled and eaten as a nutty, meaty snack.

Before I made this dish, I hadn’t eaten katahar in over 13 years. Every time I visited Guyana it was not in season. When I lived in New York, I rarely longed for Guyanese food because it was so readily available. A few weeks ago while visiting my mom, we went shopping in little Guyana and what did I see on a vegetable stand on Liberty Avenue? Katahar of course. So I bought two katahar/s, packed them in my suitcase and brought them to Denver.

I should state as a disclaimer that katahar is quite time consuming to cook, from peeling, to the actually cooking, it takes like 2 to 3 hours, if you’re lucky. So I let the katahar sit in my refrigerator for almost 3 weeks, putting off cooking it every time I saw it in the fridge. Sadly, when I finally decided to cook it, one of them was completely rotten and the other one was salvageable but a bit brown.

Now for this dish…

First, you will need to peel off the tough green skin from the Katahar. Then, separate the "flesh" from the seeds/nuts. Next, you must remove the outer shell from the seeds. Finally, I shredded the flesh in to tiny strips and cut the seeds/nuts into halves.

First, you will need to peel off the tough green skin from the Katahar.
Then, separate the “flesh” from the seeds/nuts.
Next, you must remove the outer shell from the seeds.
Finally, I shredded the flesh into tiny strips and cut the seeds/nuts into halves.

Now for the curry…

Prepare a curry paste I added 1 onion, 6 cloves of garlic and 2 tbsp water to the food processor and blended until finely chopped.  Then, I combined 1 tbsp granulated garlic, 1 tbsp geera (ground roasted cumin), 1 tsp garam masala, 2 tbsp curry powder, and 1 tsp salt. Mixed it together to form a curry paste.

Prepare a curry paste!
I added 1 onion, 6 cloves of garlic and 2 tbsp water to the food processor and blended until finely chopped.
Then, I combined 1 tbsp granulated garlic, 1 tbsp geera (ground roasted cumin), 1 tsp garam masala, 2 tbsp curry powder, and 1 tsp salt.
I mixed it together to form a curry paste.

Cook curry paste in a pressure cooker on medium heat, with about 3 tbsp of oil.

Cook curry paste in a pressure cooker (without the lid on, just like you would a sauce pot) on medium heat, with about 3 tbsp of oil.

When most of the liquids have evaporated from the paste and the curry almost brown in color, add the katahar.

When most of the liquids have evaporated from the paste and the curry is almost brown in color, add the katahar.

Add 5 cups of water and pressure cook until flesh and nut are tender (melts in your mouth tender).

Add 5 cups of water and pressure cook until flesh and nut are tender (melts in your mouth tender).

Once the katahar cooks, add 2 cups coconut milk and reduce heat. Let simmer (without pressure lid on) until broth thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Once the katahar cooks, add 2 cups coconut milk and salt to taste. Then, reduce heat. Let simmer (without pressure lid on) until broth thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Katahar curry is best enjoyed with white rice!

Katahar curry is best enjoyed with white rice!

Katahar Curry (Makes 6 servings)

Ingredients:
1 medium katahar (peeled and prepared)
1 onion
6 cloves garlic
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp geera
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp oil
2 cups coconut milk
5 cups water (for pressure cooking)

Directions:
Peel and separate katahar flesh and nuts/seeds. Peel nuts and cut into halves. Shred flesh into tiny strips.
Prepare a curry paste by combining onion and garlic in a food processor with about 2 tbsp water. Add curry powder, granulated garlic, geera, salt and garam masala to processed onion and garlic. Add oil to a pressure cooker on medium heat, with lid off. When oil is hot, add curry paste. Saute curry paste until the liquid evaporated and curry is almost brown in color. Then, add katahar, followed by water. Increase heat to high, add lid and pressure cook until flesh and seeds are tender. When katahar is fully cooked add coconut milk and a bit more salt to taste (of needed). Reduce heat and let simmer until curry broth thickens.

Tips and Ramblings:

1. You can peel and prepare the katahar overnight. It took me about an hour to peel the little katahar I had.
2. You can add more spices or pepper to the curry paste. I have a pretty good curry powder that has loads of spices so I often don’t add anything else to my curry paste.
3. I didn’t want the curry to lose the richness of the coconut milk, through the pressure cooking so I chose to add the coconut milk towards the end as a thickening agent.
4. I had to check my pressure cooker 3 times and add a bit more water before the katahar was fully cooked. It pressure cooked for like an hour.
5. Logic tells me this would be a great slow cooker dish, so next time I am fortunate to come across katahar I will try it in the slow cooker. Of course I also need to buy a slow cooker, first. (smile)

Happy Cooking!

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