Is it a vegetable? Is it meat? Nope – its fruit! A tropical fruit that grows on the trees throughout Fiji and other tropical countries. When I was younger I’d see my parents get a whole fresh jackfruit from the Asian markets and it was the most intimidating thing I’d ever seen. I refused to eat it because I couldn’t imagine it tasting good. Here I am in my thirties now posting about how much I love a food I once refused to eat. In fact a part of me is still intimated by the spikey nature of this fruit, that I opt for the canned or frozen version of jackfruit.
When I was younger, dhal was a weekly staple in our home. I remember my mom feeding me at a young age. She would mix rice, butter and dhal with her hands and form a little fistful of dhal bhat. (bhat = rice). To this day, this is a flavor that I will never forget. It’s a meal I will never forget. It’s a memory that I will always have of my mom. Eating from her hands.
As an adult, I’ve realized how versatile dhal can be. It’s been a great way to introduce spices to my babies. It’s been a great side dish to any fry meats or vegetables but also a main dish for my vegetarian daughter. Making this recipe in an instant pot makes life so much easier, especially because I always forget to soak my lentils overnight.
Growing up in Rhode Island, grocery shopping consisted of several stops. Friday nights my mom would take me to the regular local grocery store for the basic essentials, bread, milk and eggs. It was the Saturday morning trips that always felt like an adventure. We would drive into Providence to go to the Chinese markets. One for seafood – which I dreaded because of the fish market smells and quite frankly the crabs and fish eyes scared the hell out of me when I was younger -and another Chinese market right across the street from the fish market for vegetables. The last stop would be the small Indian stores for more vegetables. If it wasn’t a seafood weekend, it was most likely a chicken weekend. For that we’d travel to the famous Federal Hill in Providence where we’d go to Antonelli’s Poultry, the only live poultry store in Rhode Island.