You might be familiar with ripe jackfruit, it tastes like banana mango custard, if that’s a thing. It’s delicious as a fresh fruit or frozen and blended up into sorbet.
But before it ripens the unripe green Jackfruit can be used in savoury dishes with surprisingly meaty results. It is known as ‘tree mutton’ in India! A pure delight in the vegan world.
It takes some effort to cook jackfruit. The fruit contains an extremely sticky white sap, so you need to oil everything – your hands, the knife and the board, to avoid ending up in a sticky mess. Plus it is a tough fruit so it takes some muscle power to cut a big one.
But it is worth the results.
(Or you could buy it pre-cut from the markets or in a can)
And your body will thank you for the effort. Jackfruit is rich in iron. This is something that I’ve known for years but actually as I do the research to back it up the results are interesting. It is widely established that 100g of ripe jackfruit has about 6% of your daily iron requirements, plus loads of vitamin C to boost the uptake in the body . But for young green jackfruit the iron content is listed as between 6% and 25% for half a cup [2,3,4]. That is quite a wide range!
I’m not sure which value to go with (please message me if you find out!). But I can tell you that the iron content is multiplied by cooking it with iron rich tamarind, lemongrass and cumin seeds further boosts the overall iron content of the dish .
There is also the fact that if you find yourself in possession of a whole large green jackfruit, you will consume kilograms of it over a week.
Etai and I recently received a massive fruit from a friend on the same day as buying half a jackfruit in the market. We ate seven or eight jackfruit meals in the week! Everything from these jackfruit curries to fried jackfruit and jackfruit patties. All Delicious.
So here are three delicious recipes for you, using the versatile young green jackfruit.
And one more story…
The ripe fruit is rich in calcium, a complex array of b vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium . The jackfruit seeds are rich in protein and many nutrients [7)] In India they are used to relieve indigestion. One day during my yoga teacher training in the southern state of Kerala, we ate plenty of sweet jackfruit for dessert with lunch. The mama of the house told us afterwards to also eat one, just one, raw jackfruit seed. This is a traditional remedy to offset the stomach ache that often comes after over-indulging in sweet jackfruit!
In researching this wonder-food I came across this interesting article about the ayurvedic health properties of all parts of the jackfruit tree (eg antiinflammatory, antidiarrhoea, energy building, increase sperm count). Note it is not recommended for pregnant women, and the raw fruit is off the menu for people with digestive problems or ascites… “The flesh of smaller fruits is very heavy to digest. It may cause indigestion. Ingestion of raw jack fruit may cause constipation. Hence jackfruit has to be eaten before consuming food. Jackfruit is a strict no for patients who suffer from digestive disorders and ascitis.”
VEGAN. GLUTEN FREE. [print-me target=”#curry]
This is the meatiest curry I make.
In this recipe the jackfruit is combined with a complex array of ingredients and slow cooked for a rich and creamy curry.
|SERVES||PREP TIME||COOK TIME|
|6-8||1 hour||2-3 hours|
1kg green jackfruit
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
1-2 stalks lemon grass
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup tomato puree
2 cups water
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons Tamari (gluten free)
1 teaspoon tamarind paste, or flesh of 1 tamarind prepared in water (LINK)
2 teaspoon mustard seeds
10 curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon urad (split black mung) dal
1 teaspoon tumeric
Pinch asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon garam masala powder
2 dry chillies (I used Chipotle – delicious)
1 star anise
1 small stick of cinnamon
1 lemon, juice
2 lemons, for serving
1 bunch fresh coriander
1. Prepare for cutting the jackfruit by oiling your hands, the knife and the cutting board liberally with vege oil. Cut off the green rind and cut it into 2cm chunks.
2. In a large pot cover the jackfruit with water and par-boil with a pinch of salt for 10 minutes.
3. Cut onions into thin slices. Finely chop garlic and ginger. Cut lemongrass into 3cm lengths and crush it roughly with the blunt end of a knife. Have all your spices ready to use.
4. In a large open pot (eg a wok), heat coconut oil over a high flame. When hot, add the mustard seeds. As soon as they start to sputter, reduce the heat to medium and add curry leaves, fenugreek, urid dal and grated coconut. Cook and stir until the urad dal and coconut turns light brown. Add tumeric, asafoetida and cumin. Stir in. Add onion, garlic, ginger and chili. Cook over a low heat for 10 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.
5. Add the jackfruit and stir through to coat with spices. Add lemongrass, cinnamon and star anise. Stir in the tomato puree, tamari, tamarind and peanut butter. Cook 1 minute. Add water, increase heat and bring to the boil. Simmer on a low heat for 1 hour.
6. Add coconut milk and cook for up to an hour on low heat. This will depend on your cooker. I used a super low heat with an electric burner. If cooking with gas you may not be able to cook on such a low heat. Taste test the jackfruit, it should be very soft, but you can overcook it to the point where it is too soft and watery, like overcooked potato. It should be soft to the tooth, not chewy, but still you can see fibres in the flesh.
It’s nice to let this dish sit for some time before serving. Add the lemon juice and coriander and stir through just before serving. Serve with rice and a fresh slice of lemon.
VEGAN. GLUTEN FREE OPTION. [print-me]
Another variation I tried with great results is this masala. It’s a bit drier than the curry above, and has a more simple ingredients list!
It is inspired by Kokani Food Recipes but with quite a few alterations to suit what I had in my pantry…
|Instead of…||I used…|
|shredded coconut||sesame seeds and sunflower seeds|
|mustard seeds||cumin seeds and garlic|
|curry leaves||kefir lime leaves (completely different taste)|
|tamarind||2 baby tamarinds from the tree and juice of 1 lime|
|urad dal||dry mung beans, blended|
|SERVES||PREP TIME||COOK TIME|
|4||30 mins||30 mins|
2 cups unripe jackfruit
1 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
4 tablespoons of coconut oil
2 cloves garlic
3 kefir lime leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3-4 dried red chillies
2 tablespoons of tamarind paste (or the alternative listed above)
2 teaspoons of urad dal (or the alternative)
2 teaspoons of corainder seeds
4 dates, soaked. (Reserve the date water)
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce – (option: gluten free soy sauce/tamari)
Salt to taste
Prepare the jackfruit:
- Soak jackfruit in water with 1 teaspoon of salt for 10-30 mins. Drain and set aside.
Prepare the masala:
- Fry urad dal, corainder seeds, 3 red chillies using few drops of oil for few minutes, until the urad dal starts to brown and you get the aroma of fried corainder seeds and red chillies. Remove off heat and let them cool completely.
- Once they cool, grind them with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, tamarind, dates and little salt (remember you have already added salt to jackfruit while cooking it) into a coarse, very, very, dry masala (spice mix). You can use a little water if necessary.
Bring it together:
- Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan, add cumin seeds. Once they start popping add 1 dried red chilli cut into small pieces and fry for few seconds.
- Then add in ground, coarse masala and mix well.
- Add pieces of green jackfruit and mix well. Simmer and cook until it gets very dry, stirring occasionally. 10 – 15 minutes.
- Add soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of the reserved date water. Simmer and cook with a lid on until they combine well and the mix gets very, very dry. 10-15 minutes.
- Add salt to taste.
- Remove from the heat and serve hot or warm with rice and greens. The original recipe calls for loads of coconut oil on top – go for it!
VEGAN. GLUTEN FREE OPTION. SIMPLE. [print-me]
Yes, this really is simple. Somehow I thought this was going to be difficult. It’s totally not.
I have been cooking with Green Jackfruit ever since I moved to the tropics in 2011. In my recipe searches I’ve always seen the pulled jackfruit looking at me menacingly from a bun. So lipsmackingly good looking. (Seriously, look at chow vegan‘s version)
But it required BBQ sauce. I haven’t had BBQ sauce in my pantry for 10 years. Have you seen the ingredients on that baby? High fructose corn syrup, modified corn starch, sodium benzoate. And I’ve never made it. I don’t know if I even thought of making it.
I was also put off by the fact that the recipe is the vegan version of pulled pork bun. I’ve never eaten a pulled pork bun and the thought of it doesn’t exactly excite me.
But today the thought of pulled jackfruit popped into my head and suddenly it was in the realm of possibility. I had cooked green jackfruit in the freezer leftover from the other day when I made the curry. I looked up a few vegan BBQ sauce recipes which all sounded doable (Food Network, Your Daily Vegan, Quirky Cooking).
So happy that I did. The results are, let’s see, a delightful mix of warm, soft, chewy, crunchy, oily, sweet, tangy and OMG factor 100. I was straight back in a diner in Georgia with a whopping great greasy burger in my hands.
My previous comfort food was hands down roast potato with dal. Competition just entered the building.
|SERVES||PREP TIME||COOK TIME|
|2-4||10 mins||30 mins|
2 cups cooked jackfruit, cubed
½ onion, finely sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of good oil
2-4 buns with extra oil (option: gluten free buns)
For the Vegan BBQ Sauce:
3 large tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons vinegar (I used balsamic)
1 tablespoons Tamari (option: gluten free)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon sweetener (raw sugar, maple syrup, etc)
chilli powder to taste
1/4 lime, juice
- Dry roast the mustard seeds on a low heat until popped. Set aside in a small mixing bowl.
- In a frying pan, fry garlic, onion and salt in oil on a low heat until the onion is caramelised.
- Make sure the jackfruit is as dry as possible (squeeze, drain, pat with towel). Add the jackfruit to the frying pan and cook on low heat for 10—15 minutes, stirring regularly.
- While the jackfruit is cooking, make the sauce… Add to the mustard seeds all of the other ingredients, mix together well and leave to sit so that the flavours intermingle. Check the flavour and adjust to your taste with lemon, vinegar, salt or spice.
- Remove the jackfruit from the heat and transfer it to a plate. “Pull” the jackfruit with a fork, separating it into chunky strings. Mix the jackfruit and BBQ sauce together.
- Oil a bun – remember this is a comfort food, the more oil the more it’s gonna take you back there to New Orleans or the footy grandfinal! Toast the bun on the same frypan which cooked the jackfruit (for added flavour infusion!), on both sides until warm and crispy.
- Load up the bun with pulled jackfruit, serve and enjoy!
You could add a side salad or greens for a balanced meal (as you can see that I didn’t ;-)).
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