It’s surprising that I haven’t shared a Melara/Majjigehuli recipe on my blog yet. It’s cooked at least once a week in my mom’s kitchen so I grew up eating it very often. Majjigehuli is cooked all over Karnataka, each region’s recipe being a little different from the other. The recipe I have today is my mom’s recipe, a Coastal Karnataka Havyak community speciality.
To me Melara captures the essence of Havyaka cooking. It’s mild with very simple flavors, just a few spices used, healthy with fresh nourishing ingredients and easy to cook too. Even today I carve for some melara and rice after a few heavy, rich meals. I find it soothing and comforting. Melara is cooked with various vegetables. Traditionally ash gourd, snake gourd, ivy gourd, mangalore cucumbers or eggplants are used. Some other popular choices are long beans, green tomatoes, green bell peppers, green beans and okra. I am using tender jackfruit in my recipe today because it’s the seasonal specialty right now.
Tender/Green Jackfruits are available for just a couple of months during summer and where I come from it’s loved by everybody. Jackfruit when tender and unripe, tastes very different in terms of flavor and texture. It’s meaty and slightly chewy when undercooked and soft and succulent when fully cooked. It’s labor intensive to prep them but people never shy away from work because of how good it tastes. Gujje/Tender jackfruit is used in several recipes but in a good Melara/Majjigehuli is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it.
I have used only fresh jackfruit in this recipe so I am not sure if canned will work or not. The freshness adds a lot to a mild curry like this so try canned jackfruit at your own rick.
Full-grown green jackfruit (not ripe) can also be used instead of tender jackfruit.
Once again fresh coconut works best here but frozen can be replaced if you don’t have access to fresh coconut. Use warm water to grind the coconut if the coconut is frozen.
Traditionally this curry is made with buttermilk but homemade yogurt/curd works fine. You can use vegan yogurt instead too. Use a day old or slightly sour yogurt for a tangy curry.
If you want the curry to be hotter add a slit green chili or a teaspoon of chili powder to the curry while cooking.
Here’s another recipe using tender jackfruit - Tender Jackfruit in Rice with Garlic & Black Pepper
- 2 cups of tender jackfruit pieces (cleaned and cut)
- ½ cm piece of dried tamarind
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp red chili powder
- 1 cup freshly grated coconut
- 2 fresh green chilies
- ½ cup yogurt/curd
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- ½ tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 dry red chili
- 2 springs of fresh curry leaves
Cook the tender jackfruit with 1 cup water, tamarind, turmeric, chili powder and salt to taste. Jackfruit should be cooked but not falling apart. Once cooked, drain the water it was cooked in.
Grind the coconut and green chili into a smooth paste adding as much water as required.
Combine the cooked jackfruit, yogurt/curd and the ground coconut. Add ¼ to ½ cup of water depending on how thin you want the curry to be. Season it with salt. Cook the curry in low flame till it almost reached the boiling point. Simmer for few minutes keeping a close eye. Make sure it doesn’t boil. Turn off the flame when bubbles appear on the surface.
To temper – heat the coconut oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they start to splutter add the dry red chili and curry leaves. Fry for a couple of seconds and pour the tempering on the curry.