Jackfruit is a fruit that comes from the jack tree, which is a species of tree in the fig and mulberry family and is and is commonly found in India, Brazil and Asia.
Up until about a year ago, I’d never heard of jackfruit so I decided to experiment and this is the delicious result! A warm, spicy curry loaded with vitamins and minerals…good for the body!
How Do I Cook With Jackfruit?
The beauty of this meaty fruit is, when prepared, it reacts like tofu, or mushrooms, in that it absorbs the spices and seasonings. If you cook it in tomato sauce, it will take on the flavor of the tomato; if you cook it in beef broth, it will have a beef flavor, and so on. The fruit’s ability to absorb flavors makes it a perfect meat substitute for those who prefer a plant-based diet. The flesh of the unripe fruit is used for savory dishes, where the younger fruit is used for sweet dishes.
Jackfruit can be used as a substitute for just about any meat, however, you’ll most often find it on vegan menus as “vegan pulled-pork”, simply because of the texture. In this curry dish recipe, the jackfruit is flavorful and somewhat spicy and has the texture of shredded chicken.
What is the Texture of Jackfruit?
The raw texture is similar to an artichoke heart–layered and semi-firm. Once cooked, the layers tend to separate, thus making an ideal “vegan pulled-pork”.
Can I Eat Jackfruit From The Can?
Yes. Canned jackfruit is in a semi-salty brine and if you eat it raw from the can, it tastes kind of like hearts of palm. It would be perfect on a relish tray with other like foods–artichokes, hearts of palm, or pickled beets and onions.
Where Can I Buy Jackfruit?
Canned jackfruit is available at Whole Foods Market. It is usually on the canned fish and meat aisle, near the canned tuna and salmon. If you aren’t near a WFM, you can order it from Amazon.
- 2 cans organic jackfruit rinsed and drained
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup carrots chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cup frozen sweet peas thawed
- 1 can organic coconut milk
- 1/2 cup organic tomatoes pureed
- 3 cardamom (cardamon) seeds
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons ginger fresh, grated
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 cups brown basmati rice
- 2 cups water or vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Drain and rinse Jackfruit; set aside
- In a large skillet or stock pot (with a lid) heat oil on medium-low. Add onion and seeds. Stir until onions are translucent and seeds are aromatic
- Add Jackfruit to seasonings and allow to brown; about 5 - 8 minutes
- Add carrots, turmeric, chili peppers, ginger, and chili powder. Stir until Jackfruit is well coated in seasonings.
- Add bay leaves, garlic, tomatoes, coconut milk, carrots
- Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes
- With a slotted spoon, gently remove Jackfruit and set aside
- Shred or finely chop Jackfruit and add back into stove top mixture
- Sprinkle rice into mixture
- Add liquid - water or vegetable broth (make sure rice is completely covered in liquid)
- Cover and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes; stir occasionally
- When rice is tender, add thawed frozen peas
- Cover and cook till peas are tender
- Remove bay leaves; plate and garnish with cilantro, parsley, mint or green onions
- This recipe is vegan; however, if you aren't vegan, substitute the vegetable broth with chicken broth - or-
- Substitute jackfruit with chicken
- This recipe has a host of seasonings that make it truly divine! Note the chili powder and red pepper flakes may be added near the end of cooking time in order to better monitor the dish’s heat index. This dish may be served as a main entree or a side. The Jackfruit cooks pretty quickly; the cook time (about 45 minutes total) is to allow for the seasonings to marry and incorporate into the Jackfruit.