I work for a Vegetarian company and have a lot of Vegan colleagues. Whenever we have company meetings all of the catering is meat-free and in many cases dairy-free too, which means that I come across a lot of foods that I might not otherwise see. Jackfruit is a perfect example – it was served at a recent meeting in the style of Vegan Pulled “Pork” – accompanied with a barbecue sauce. It was very popular with meat-eaters and veggies alike and I can see why. Although it appears to be a dense fruit when raw it becomes fibrous and almost meaty when cooked – perfect if you want to have the texture of meat from a vegetable source.
In the UK you can find some specialist retailers that sell fresh Jackfruit, but it’s most commonly found in world food stores in tins. The type I’ve used here is “green” jackfruit, which comes in either water or brine – the latter of which needs to be rinsed well before use. There is also a tinned version sold in a sweet syrup – I suspect you might want to avoid that in a curry… Before use I simply drained the jackfruit and left it to dry for around half an hour to get rid of any excess moisture and I’d advise that you do the same as this is quite a wet curry at first and needs time to reduce and thicken.
To accompany the jackfruit I wanted to make a curry sauce that was a little different from the usual types of curry that we tend to have in the UK. As a result I’ve ended up with a bit of a mix of flavours here – using spices from around the shores of the Indian Ocean. There’s a nod to the flavours of Sri Lanka as well as Thailand and the Indian subcontintent. The use of extra coriander, mustard seed and fresh cinnamon gives this a unique yet really pleasurable flavour. As with most food I cook this isn’t a spicy curry – using only one green chilli – to save my husband from the discomfort of too much heat. If you like your curries to have a bit more of a punch then feel free to add in an extra chilli or two.
As you can see the sauce has been allowed to reduce to thickly coat the jackfruit – especially after I used two spoons to break the chunks apart into a more fibrous texture. The jackfruit doesn’t bring too much flavour to proceedings but is a great carrier for the sauce and its spicing. This is a light and fresh curry that’s perfect with a bowl of steamed rice on a warm spring evening.
Oh and a glass of wine too… If the sun’s out the wine shouldn’t be too far away, eh?
Vegan Jackfruit Curry
Taking inspiration from across South and South East Asia this Vegan Jackfruit curry is made with a blend of spices to bring maximum flavour then tempered with coconut milk to keep it mild.
- 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
- 1 large Onion peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic crushed
- 5 cm Root Ginger peeled and grated
- 1 tsp Curry Powder
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1 tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Ground Turmeric
- ½ tsp Ground Cumin
- ½ tsp Ground Coriander
- 1 stick Cinnamon Bark
- 2 Green Chillies
- 2 Curry Leaves
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- 2 can Green Jackfruit about 550g drained weight
- 2 tbsp Lime Juice
- 400 ml Coconut Milk
- 400 g Tinned Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 small Handful Fresh Coriander
Heat the coconut oil in a deep frying pan or sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-10 minutes until softened and translucent.
Add in the garlic, ginger and spices, then stir fry for a further 2 minutes until fragrant. Make sure you keep stirring the mixture to stop it from burning.
Pour the drained jackfruit chunks into the pan, along with the lime juice, and stir until well coated with the onion and spice mix.
Add the coconut milk and chopped tomatoes to the pan, stir well until everything is well mixed then bring to the boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and partially cover. Allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened and everything is cooked through.
Shortly before serving use two spoons or forks to break the jackfruit pieces apart - they'll have the appearance of meat when you're done. Stir well to ensure everything is well coated in the sauce.
Top with the coriander and serve alongside steamed jasmine or basmati rice.