A creamy coconut and jackfruit curry full of fabulous Indonesian flavours for an easy weeknight vegan meal. This is hands-off cooking, just stirring now and then while the pot bubbles away developing delightful fragrant flavours. Suitable for the whole family as there is no chilli in this recipe, you can each add sambal to spice it up individually. Just super tasty, healthy vegan family food.
What better way to warm up a cold January day than with a tropical curry? Yes, before you ask, it does get cold in Doha in the winter! Admittedly, it’s not anywhere near as cold as back home in the UK right now but the mornings and nights are cold and we don’t have central heating here so I am currently sitting wearing a jumper, scarf and thick slipper socks whilst thinking about what to make for supper tonight!
This jackfruit curry is a great recipe to keep up your sleeve as it takes hardly any effort to make, with just a few supervisory stirs, and it uses mostly tinned or frozen ingredients that you can keep on hand in your kitchen for whenever the inspiration hits to make it!
Jackfruit as a Vegan Meat Substitute
Until recently, jackfruit was relatively unknown in the West, but it has gained fame as a popular vegan meat substitute because when it cooks down, it loses its fruity firmness and takes on a texture very similar to shredded meat. Having seen jackfruit recipes cropping up over the last few years, I was intrigued because my only memories of jackfruit (back from when I used to live in Singapore), were of a sickly sweet bright yellow fruit that stank out my fridge! I couldn’t really imagine it working in savoury dishes. The answer it seems, is that it is not fresh fully ripe jackfruit that is used, but tinned “young” jackfruit preserved in brine which is becoming readily available in supermarkets.
I have tried a few different jackfruit dishes with varied success rates. Meera Sodha’s jackfruit tacos are amazing (as all her recipes are!) whereas I’m not so keen on some of the jackfruit mayonnaise recipes that I’ve tried. I’m a textural person and I’ve realised that I prefer jackfruit that has been well cooked down so I wanted to try making a slow-cooked curry to improve the jackfruit texture for me.
Since I associate jackfruit with my time in Singapore and my Indonesian mother-in-law (who loves jackfruit!), I decided to try a jackfruit curry and to use Indonesian flavours. Whilst I'm not sure how truly authentic this is, I can say that this is absolutely delicious and even my sceptical husband was very pleasantly surprised by the jackfruit and even questioned it again half way through eating because he and the kids were so sure that it was shredded chicken!
- This is not a high protein meal with the main ingredient being jackfruit. If you want more protein, you could add some fried tofu or tempeh which would be delicious in this dish.
- Feel free to swap the macadamias for other nuts if you prefer. Cashews of brazil nuts would work well.
One little note about spiciness… Indonesian food is very spicy and this recipe is not at all. Since I am cooking for the whole family and my fussy children won’t touch anything remotely spicy, I always cook without chillies and then I adjust the heat individually (in this case by adding a big dollop of sambal onto the plate). This way we can enjoy a meal together without all the winging and whining about the food being too spicy. Of course, if you don’t have this particular issue to contend with, then the recipe would no doubt be improved with a chilli or two thrown into the spice paste!
- Make sure to buy the tinned jackfruit that is in brine NOT in syrup. The sugary syrup kind will absolutely ruin your dish so be very careful to buy the right one!
- Since I don’t use them that often, I keep my lime leaves and lemongrass in the freezer and then just throw them into whatever I’m cooking when I need to, straight from frozen. I also keep peeled ginger in the freezer and use a microplane to grate the frozen ginger into my cooking.
As with all curries, the flavours of this jackfruit curry will develop over time so it's great to make it a day or two ahead and then keep it stored in a sealed container in the fridge. Once you're ready to eat it, just warm it up on the stove. Likewise, it will keep in the freezer very happily.
I serve this with rice for the family but for my own plate, I like to have cauliflower rice instead. I grate half a cauliflower, then put it in a glass bowl in the microwave with a couple of tbsp of water. Microwave for 2 minutes, then stir and microwave again for 2 more minutes, then add a spoonful of coconut oil and a generous pinch of salt. It’s absolutely delicious with this curry and I think even nicer than normal rice (but my rice-loving family disagree!)
I like to have bowls of the following condiments and extras for everyone to sprinkle on top as they wish:
- Indonesian sambal (chilli sauce)
- fried onions
- ketcap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
- chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
- lime wedges
Recipe Card 📖
Jackfruit Curry with Indonesian Flavours
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 7 garlic cloves peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 cm piece of ginger (or 2 tsp ground ginger) peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 small onion (or ½ large onion) peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 lime leaves roughly chopped
- 4 macadamias roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp water
- 500 ml vegetable stock
- 400 g tinned young jackfruit in brine (400g tinned jackfruit gives 225g drained jackfruit) drained and rinsed well
- 1 piece lemongrass (or 1 tsp jarred lemongrass) bruised
- 2 lime leaves
- 100 g frozen green beans (or use fresh if you have them)
- 2 tsp coconut sugar
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 100 ml coconut cream
- 2 tbsp crispy fried shallots
- chilli oil, to taste
- 1 lime, cut into wedges for serving
- First make the spice mix by putting all spice mix ingredients into the blender and whizzing until it becomes a smooth paste.
- In a large frying pan or casserole dish, fry the spice mix over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 5-10 minutes until the oil starts to separate and the mixture changes from a vibrant yellow colour to a deeper golden brown.
- Then slowly add the stock, little by little, stirring constantly so that it is nice and smooth. Then add the drained and rinsed jackfruit, the lemongrass and the lime leaves, put the lid on and simmer for 45 minutes over a low heat, stirring occasionally to check that it is not too dry. (Note, this is a minimum time but it can happily sit cooking over a very low heat for as long as you’d like – just make sure to top it up with a little water whenever it gets too dry).
- Once cooked, the jackfruit should feel very soft and you can pull it apart with a fork and squash down any lumpy bits so that it looks like shredded meat in the sauce. Give it a good stir into the sauce then stir in the coconut sugar, salt, and coconut cream and add the green beans, put the lid back on and cook for 2-3 minutes until the beans are soft but still a vibrant green. Serve garnished with a little more coconut cream, some crispy fried shallots and a little lime juice (and chilli oil or sambal if you fancy a bit of heat!).
- Since we have young children in the family, I do not cook with chillies, and instead I add chilli oil or sambal to the food on my plate, but feel free to add a chilli or two to the spice mix if you are not cooking for fussy children!
- Serve with rice or cauliflower rice and lots of condiments - ketcap, sambal, fried shallots, fresh coriander (cilantro) and lime wedges.
If you like this recipe, you may like these other delicious vegan and gluten-free recipes too:
I’d love to know how you get on with this recipe. Let me know what you think in the comments section below and please give it a star rating too! Thank you!