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Dishoom's Jackfruit Biryani

Recipe by: Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar & Naved Nasir, authors of Dishoom

Serves 4

Dishoom's Jackfruit Biryani
Photo by:  

Andria Lo

Excerpted from DISHOOM: "From Bombay with Love" by Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar & Naved Nasir. Copyright © 2019. Available from Bloomsburg Publishing.

Jackfruit is an unusual ingredient with a meaty texture appreciated by vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. In India it is used (unripe and savoury) in curries and biryanis, or simply eaten ripe and sweet from a street-side seller. A whole jackfruit is enormous and hard to come by, so tinned jackfruit is used here for convenience. Buy tender, young (unripe) jackfruit in a light brine, not the fruit tinned in syrup.

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For the rice
  • 300g basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
For the jackfruit
  • Two 400g tins jackfruit (about 450g drained weight)
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced and crushed with the back a knife
  • 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pragati Turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered Guntur Sannam Chillies
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
For the biryani base
  • 150g baby new potatoes
  • 1 quantity crispy fried onions (recipe follows)
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced and crushed with the back a knife
  • 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon powdered Guntur Sannam Chillies
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground Jodhana Cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 20ml lime juice
  • 150g full-fat Greek Yogurt
  • 3cm fresh ginger root, cut into fine matchsticks
  • 6 mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 25 coriander leaves
For the topping
  • 30g sultanas (optional)
  • 30g butter
  • 3 tablespoons double cream
  • Kashmiri Saffron water (recipe follows)


  1. Firstly, soak the rice. To do this, put the rice into a large bowl and cover generously with water. Using your fingers, gently move the rice around in the water to remove the starch, being careful not to break up the grains. Allow the rice to settle, then pour off the water. Repeat twice with fresh water, then cover again with fresh water and leave to soak for 45 minutes.
  2. To prepare the jackfruit, pay dry with kitchen paper and cut larger pieces in half. In a large bowl, combine the garlic and ginger pastes, with the salt, turmeric, chilli powder and 1 tablespoon water. Add the jackfruit, turn to coat and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
  3. Cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces, add to a pan of boiling salted water and cook until almost tender. Drain and pat dry; set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or other suitable heavy-based pan to 170°C. Heat oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6 [400°F].
  5. Deep-fry the marinated jackfruit in the hot oil, in two batches, if necessary, until golden brown and crispy all over; this will take about 10 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper. Add the boiled new potatoes to the oil and fry for 5 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper.
  6. Combine all of the biryani base ingredients, including the fried potatoes, in you biryani cooking pot. Add the jackfruit and stir to combine.
  7. Drain the rice when the soaking time is up. Pour 2 liters boiling water into a large pan and add the 2 teaspoons of salt and lime juice. Tip the rice into the pan and stir well. Boil for 4–5 minutes until the rice is three-quarters cooked. You can tell that the rice is at this stage by taking a grain of rice between your forefinger and thumb, and pressing down on it with your nail; it should still be slightly firm and break into around 5 or 6 pieces. Drain the rice; you don’t need to shake it completely dry, as a little extra moisture helps during cooking. Place it in the biryani pot on top of the jackfruit.
  8. Scatter the sultanas, if using, on top of the rice. In a small pan or microwave, warm the butter and cream until the butter melts. Mix together, then trickle over the rice, followed by the saffron water.
  9. Cover tightly with two layers of foil. Place over a high heat for 2–3 minutes, until the foil puffs up and you see a little steam start to escape. Put the lid on, transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. All the biryani to stand, still covered, for 10 minutes before serving.

Note: To make this vegan, swap the Greek yoghurt for live coconut yoghurt, use extra coconut oil instead of butter and omit the cream.

For the crispy fried onions

Thinly and evenly slice 400g Spanish white onions (about 2) into half-moons. Heat 250ml vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion slices and fry until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes, stirring regularly to ensure even cooking. Drain on kitchen paper.

For the saffron water

Warm a dry frying pan over low heat. Turn off the heat and add a very large pinch of Kashmiri Saffron to the pan. Allow to toast in the cooling pan for 3 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Let the saffron cool, then pound into a powder using a mortar and pestle (ideally, kept specifically for saffron). Add one tablespoon boiling water and set aside until needed.

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