The easiest way to buy jackfruit in the UK is in a tin (around 565g tin). Larger Asian supermarkets may sell them fresh or frozen, but tinned is often easily obtainable. You can buy jackfruit either young and unripe, which is better for curries, or ripened and sweeter – perfect for desserts. If you can only buy the ripe jackfruit, you can still use it but your curry will taste much sweeter.
This recipe came to me from a friend who was raised in West Sumatra, the northern most island of Indonesia. When he made it for me, it was pretty spicy! Which is fine, as I love chilli! But not everyone does, so if you decide to make this dish – vary the chilli to your own taste, or use a milder variety.
The hardest thing about this dish is sourcing the ingredients – to make, it’s quick and very simple! You just either need a small hand-held blender or a pestal and mortar and a decent bicep.
Top tip: add veg to give it more colour and “westernise” it slightly. I didn’t show this in the pic, but I actually added long green beans and carrot batons. It was really good!!
- 1 kg Jackfruit You want young green unripe jackfruit. A standard tin is about 550g, so buy two if making for four people, one tin if just making for 2
- 5 cloves garlic
- 4 cm galangal or ginger root
- 10 red birds eye chillies Get the hot ones if you can stand it.
- 4 cm cube tamarind soaked in hot water. Or use 1tsp of tamarind paste which is just as good.
- 2 candlenut also called kemiri or use a macadamia nut (or leave out entirely)
- 3 kaffir lime leaves
- 400 g coconut milk Use low fat if you want to cut the fat content
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 3-4 shallots Depending upon the size of them
- 1 tbsp groundnut oil or coconut oil. Rapeseed oil could work just as well (vegetable oil in the UK)
Peel and cut the ginger or galangal, shallots, and garlic. Drain and rinse the jackfruit in a colander and set aside. If using a block of tamarind, cut off about 2.5cm and soak in hot water. Give the tamarind a good bash about with the back of a spoon and leave to soak for around 20 minutes. Then drain in a sieve or cheesecloth, but try and squeeze out as much juice as possible.
Grind the garlic, ginger/galangal, candlenut, chillis, turmeric and shallots in a pestal and mortar or a small grinder. Keep going until you've got a reasonably smooth paste. You will need to add water if you want the grinder to get a smooth paste.
Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a pan and then gently fry the paste until it becomes fragrant.
Add the jackfruit and stir in, coating with the paste; cook for a minute or two longer. Then add the coconut milk, lime leaves, tamarind juice and stir well. Bring to boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes.
Serve with jasmine rice.
Seb is a nutritionist registered with the Association for Nutrition and a writer specialising in plant-based nutrition and men’s health. He graduated from Chester University with a masters degree in human nutrition and loves discovering new and vibrant plant-based recipes.