I fought it. for 30 years I would not eat pollos, or jackfruit. The jackfruit is an amazing tree and fruit/vegetable. It grows super tall and strong, and the fruit just sprouts from the side of the tree. They grow to be huge, i mean watermelon huge, and they’re covered with prickly rind — almost like when you get goosebumps.

So the fruit is eaten as a vegetable for its first two stages of life – as a young fruit, it is pollos and it is tender, and meaty, with a light flavor. Then as it ages, it becomes cos, and when you cook it, it is much starchy and sticky – more like an extra glutinous potato. And when it is ripe, varaka, it is stinky, fruity, overripe in aroma, and only the hard core Sri Lankans eat it. This includes my mother. I used to always eat cos curry – so good, so unavailable in the US, so reminiscent of my grandmother’s house. But never pollos curry and never varaka. And then I turned 30, and decided to have a small piece…

I was an idiot, for so long! What was my problem?! I could have been eating pollos for decades, but I’m only now just getting into it and making up for lost time.

Who knows? Maybe one day I will eat varaka as well. (shudder).

Where to find pollos? Go to the Asian section of any grocery store. Look for the thai products. It is canned. You can get it fresh – if you try hard – and why suffer? I use canned. It is delicious. This is a one pot, throw it all in at once, easy cooking curry.

Pollos Curry

Pollos Curry

Ingredients

One can of pollos

one cup thick coconut milk (you can make it from powder, or use it from a can – just make sure its unsweetened)

2 shallots thickly sliced

3 curry leaves

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp red chili powder

1/2 tsp curry powder

2 tbsp tomato paste

3 pieces of goraka (see note) or 1 tbsp tamarind paste

2 sliced small green chilies (you can seed them)

1 small piece of cinnamon

salt

black pepper

1/2 lime

Chop the pieces of pollos to bite size pieces, and put it in a pot with the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine — the color should be a nice light orange, from the combined turmeric and tomato paste. Cover and simmer over low heat for approx. 1 hour, or until the pollos is tender. Stir occasionally to make sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom. If the liquid is evaporating too much, you can add some thin coconut milk (just dilute the coconut powder/or canned coconut milk with more water) or simply add more water and stir. This is not a dry curry dish, nor is it a gravy. Just that lovely point in between.

When you are finished, add the juice of 1/2 lime, just to highlight the tanginess. This curry is more on the tangy side, with the acidity of the tamarind/goraka and lime, counteracting the coconut and complementing the pollos perfectly.

If you are using goraka, remove the pieces before you serve.

NOTE: Goraka are the dried rinds of a small pumpkin like gourd, and it provides a tangy sourness to any dish. I have not been able to find it in the US, I get mine from sources in Sri Lanka. It is also called Malabar tamarind if you happen to come across it. No worries- tamarind and lime do the same thing.

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