Jackfruit Biryani

May 29, 2017
3 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

I prepare the jackfruit the day before, to save time on the day of. In addition to jackfruit, the ingredient you probably have to order online or go to an Indian store for is kewra water, an aromatic popular in northern India. For more about the dish, see the full article. —Sneha Gupta

What You'll Need
  • Jackfruit and Curry
  • 1 can green jackfruit, peeled and sliced
  • enough oil for deep-frying
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon green chilies, minced (with seeds removed)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 or 5 medium-sized tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup whole milk yogurt, whisked
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves
  • Rice and Layering for Biryani
  • 3/4 cup Basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 green cardamom pod, cracked
  • 1 black cardamom pod, cracked
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/4 tablespoon cinnamon powder
  • 2 mint leaves
  • 1/4 tablespoon saffron
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 pinches of garam masala
  • a heaping handful of mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon kewra water
  • 1 onion, chopped and caramelized
  1. Jackfruit and Curry
  2. Open the can of jackfruit. Using a strainer, separate the chunks from the solution and place the pieces on kitchen tissue. Cut the chunks into small pieces (halves or one-thirds of the pre-cut pieces, depending on how big the chunks are).
  3. Heat oil in a pan for deep frying. Once the oil is hot (but not burning), fry the cubes. Be careful when you place the cubes in the oil, as it will splutter. Use a slotted spatula to take out the chunks, once they look browned, and place them on absorbent paper. Repeat in batches until all jackfruit is fried.
  4. If you are storing it for next day, refrigerate in an airtight container.
  5. Prepare the curry. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot (but not burning), add ginger, garlic and green chilies. Fry for few seconds, until the raw smell is gone.
  6. Add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, until they are soft. Once soft, turn off the head and put onion mix in a blender.
  7. Add the remaining oil to the pan. When hot, add caraway seeds. Once they start spluttering, add the green cardamom, black cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Fry the spices for few seconds, then add turmeric powder, coriander powder, and the blended onion paste. I usually switch off the flame while pouring the onion paste in the pan, as it prevents the dry spices from burning and the mixture from sputtering too much.
  8. Once the onion paste is added, turn the stove back on and cook mixture for 5 minutes, at least. Add the prepared jackfruit.
  9. In the same blender you used for the onions, make a paste by blending tomatoes together. When ready, add to the mixture on the stove. Then add red chili powder and salt, to taste. Let the paste cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
  10. Mix the yogurt and cilantro leaves together before adding to pan, and let the curry cook for 10 minutes. You will notice the color of the curry has changed, and the flavor is building.
  11. If the curry is too dry, add some water. It should be too thick and not watery. Switch off the stove and keep the curry aside. If you've decided to abandon biryani, just enjoy this as a curry over rice or with nan. But hey, the biryani is worth it.
  1. Rice and Layering for Biryani
  2. Take the rice and wash it multiple times, until the water is almost clear. Put 1.5 cups of water in a saucepan and add the rice. Once the water is boiling and you can see the rice is half cooked, take it off the stove and drain the water using a strainer. Wash this rice in fresh cold water.
  3. In the same pan, add the remaining water. Add all the spices and the mint and let the water boil. Put the rice back in the pan once the water is boiling. The goal is for the rice to not be completely cooked, but not raw either. We will be baking it later, so we want the rice to be al dente. Drain, cover, keep aside. (You can also keep the rice in the water and not drain it until the final step of layering, to preserve fragrance, but the F52 test kitchen found that this made the biryani have a more curry-like consistency.)
  4. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Heat the milk over the stove to make it lukewarm, and add the saffron strands or powder. Stop when you notice a beautiful yellow-orange color develop.
  5. Ready a baking pan for layering (for this quantity, I took a 4-inch deep / 7-inch wide Pyrex container). Start with layering the jackfruit curry, putting half of the curry on the base of the pan. Follow this with a layer of rice. Then, sprinkle half the saffron milk, garam masala and half a tablespoon of the kewra water.
  6. Take a bunch of mint leaves and spread them, too. (Tip: Rub the leaves against each other before spreading them, to enhance fragrance.)
  7. Spread the remaining jackfruit curry. Then spread the rice (drained) followed by the remaining saffron milk, garam masala, kewra water, and mint (the last layer always has to be rice). Put the caramelized onions on top, so it's strewn into the rice, but make sure the rice is more prominent in this top layer. Cover with aluminum foil and place it in the oven for 20 minutes (this is our version of applying “dum,” or sealing the flavors). Then, take off the foil, and cook for another 10 minutes.
  8. Serve with mint yogurt raita (

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Faten Rafie
    Faten Rafie
  • Sneha Gupta
    Sneha Gupta
  • Caroline
  • Sid

6 Reviews

Caroline April 18, 2021
Smelled and tasted amazing. The layering allows different bites to have different flavors. One instruction that I found unclear was to cook the rice until you can see it’s half-cooked. An approximate time would be helpful. I gave it about 10 minutes and I don’t think it was long enough. The basmati was still a bit hard after 30 additional minutes in the oven and the ends hadn’t opened up like they did when I made chicken biryani.
Sneha G. April 18, 2021
Thank you for your feedback Caroline. I am glad you liked the taste. That's a great point about the rice - I shall make a note to change it. Typically, I give it about 20 minutes, basically they should not feel raw or hard. I will look up links that have videos and share :)
Faten R. December 29, 2017
Great recipe! Have you tried making this with fresh jackfruit? I don't think we can get canned jackfruit here in Malaysia, but fresh ones are available in abundance.
Sid January 7, 2018
I have tried this with Fresh Jackfruit. And it works great, if not better. THe fresh jack fruit hasn't absorbed the preserving liquids that canned Jackfruit does, so it fried a litte better and absorbs the spices better. The canned jackfruit would be a substitute where it is not easily available. Being near South East Asia, we get a lot of it fresh in Australia.
Sneha G. April 18, 2021
Fresh is always better :)
Sneha G. April 18, 2021
Glad you tried it with fresh jackfruit Sid