Jackfruit Chips are one of my childhood favorite snack items. These chips are made from a special variety of unripe Jackfruit kernels which yield good, tasty chips. The kernel of Jackfruit from which the chips are made are known as Gharo (in Konkani), Karo implies chips hence Ghare Karo.
Growing up, my grandparents' sprawling backyard had few of my favorite trees easily touching 50 metres in height. We had a massive Jackfruit Tree which was used for Ghare Karo, a large Mango tree which bore tangy-sweet Kairi, a sweet smelling Champa tree (Champe) which blossomed with divine smelling Champa flowers of light orange shade, followed by a medium high Guava tree which yielded pink, ripe Guava (Peru or Pear) during summer season. Needless to say, our favorite summer activity was to raid the trees. My Grandfather (Ajja) was the only one who supervised the tree and chose the Jackfruits to be used for these chips. He loved the tree and guarded it like a pot of gold. The tree was in demand just for the chips and a source of joy for all of us. With the onset of summer, all cousins and relatives would call us to book for a Jackfruit from the tree. Later my Grandparents moved from that home and the tree was chopped off, only to retain the trunk. Everytime I visit India, I make a point to visit the old home. Large buildings have mushroomed, but the tree stands tall with the trunk sans the foliage, a silent testimonial to an era gone by.
The chips were made by all the family members as a joint activity. Three, strong red and crimson Laterite bricks held a wide mouthed Iron Kadhai which was used once a year, specially lugged and hauled from the family attic, cleaned and sun-dried. The entire cooking was done in the backyard. The flames went high and the heat left us teary eyed all the time. All the kids had paper cones ready to enjoy the fresh batch of these fried chips. We squealed with joy when the salt water was added to the oil, the sound only indicating that we would be enjoying the chips soon.
The biggest chore in making these chips is separating the kernel from the bark of Jackfruit which is a super labor intensive activity. The entire family participated in the activity by oiling their hands and pulling out the kernels, de-seeding them and then slicing them for the chips. Once done, the chips have to be stored in an airtight container. The chips remain fresh and crisp for 2 weeks if stored well.
~ Ghare Karo ~
Prep Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes for each batch
Jackfruit Kernel (Gharo) (sliced into thin strips) - 4 cups
Salt Water Concentrate -
Water - 1 cup
Salt - as per taste
Turmeric powder - 1/3 tsp
*** Mix everything to form a solution ***
1. Slice the kernels into thin strips and keep aside. If they are wet, air-dry them by spreading them on a paper towel.
2. Mix all the ingredients of salt water concentrate to form a salty yellow solution. If the salt is less, the chips will not catch the salty taste. Adjust salt as per taste.
3. Heat oil in a big Kadhai and let the oil be smoking hot. Pour a handful of sliced pieces of Jackfruit and stir occasionally to prevent them from sticking to each other. Once they are done (they will get a reddish-orange color and will become crispy), add 2-3 tbsp. of the salt water concentrate. Give a good stir and pull them off heat and transfer to a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
4. Store in airtight container and enjoy.
Note: The chips are made from unripe Jackfruit kernels. Not all unripe Jackfruit kernels are suited for making these chips.