Jackfruit: tasty, versatile, and easy to use!

Curry is usually not on my short list of favorite dishes, but I have found that with curry, you can change the taste to your own flavor preferences when cooking at home.  And, in fact, in countries such as India, each family has it’s own spice box with their families favorite combinations of spices. So have fun and experiment with flavors.  Using more spices in the diet has many beneficial health effects, such as aiding in natural detoxification pathways in the liver and quelling inflammation, a major cause of many chronic conditions.

Jackfruit is a native fruit in southwest India.  It grows on trees and is in the same family as the fig tree.  Ripe jackfruit is naturally sweet and can be made into dessert, but the green or unripe fruit makes for nice additions to a savory dish and has a texture very close to meat.

The main nutritional components from jackfruit are carbohydrate, fiber, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and potassium, with other minor amounts of other vitamins and minerals.

While you can buy jackfruit in some grocery stores, I prefer prepared jackfruit to make a quick meal.  I’ve seen it in various flavors such as chili/lime (great for tacos) and curry (great for stir fry).  It’s usually found in the refrigerator section near vegan options.

For an easy recipe, cut up any vegetables you have on hand and garlic/onion if desired, sauté lightly in a small amount of olive oil on medium heat for 1-3 minutes for tender crisp texture, then turn heat off.  Open package of jackfruit, warm in oven or stovetop until just warmed through.  Add ½-1 cup coconut milk (depending on how much sauce you'd like) and 1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice to the pan with the vegetables.  Add jackfruit, mix thoroughly, and then warm through.  Optional: if you like more curry flavor, add a few teaspoons of premixed curry powder (or curry spices) to the dish to taste and mix.  I found the flavor improved some with a little extra curry powder.  Serve over steamed rice of your choice, or cooked quinoa.  Chopped toasted peanuts or other nuts makes a nice garnish.   To toast nuts, chop first, then toast in oven on 300F° or in a pan on stovetop for a few minutes (watch so they don’t burn).  Serves 4.

Ingredients for Jackfruit Curry:

1 Tbsp. olive oil for cooking

1 package pre-seasoned “curry” jackfruit

3-4 cups fresh vegetables for stir-fry (I used green beans and carrots)

1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice (if you have this on hand; fine without)

1 can coconut milk (I prefer organic canned without the gums)

1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

2 Tbsp. diced white or yellow onion (optional)

Curry powder to taste (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste (taste first, jackfruit is pre-seasoned)

Steamed rice or cooked quinoa accompaniment

Chopped toasted peanuts or other nut (optional) for garnish