Jackfruit Curry (Jukut nangka)

Jackfruit curry is commonly served at ceremonies because it lasts a few days, but unlike some other ceremonial dishes, this is also everyday fare. Slow-simmered with spices, the jackfruit develops a soft, chewy texture not unlike tender beef.

The optional addition of slaked or hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide), which may seem unusual but is a traditional ingredient, and it is also a feature of Indian and Latin American cooking, gives the curry a distinctive pinkish glow while adding a dose of calcium.

Jackfruit can be found at Asian grocers, but if unavailable you can experiment with choko or green papaya. Canned jackfruit just won’t be the same.

  • 1 kg piece green jackfruit
  • 1 teaspoon slaked or hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide) mixed
    with 1 litre water (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons Base Genep
  • 3 salam leaves
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, bruised and tied together in a loose knot
  • 200 g pork bones or 1 –2 chicken thighs on the bone (optional)
  • 1 litre water, extra
  • 2 tablespoons grated palm sugar
  • sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk (optional)
  • fried shallots, to garnish

Wear gloves to prepare the jackfruit to avoid being covered in the rubbery liquid that seeps out. Cut off the rind and chop the fruit including the seeds into bite-sized chunks. Mix the jackfruit with the lime water (if using) and leave for 10 minutes before draining. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Fry the base genep with the salam leaves, lime leaves and lemongrass for at least 30 seconds, stirring constantly, or until fragrant and glossy.

Add the pork bones or chicken thighs (if using) and toss for about a minute until just sealed. Add the jackfruit chunks and toss for another minute. Add the extra water, palm sugar and salt to taste and simmer for around 1 hour, until the jackfruit is tender. Add more water if necessary. If you want a creamy finish, add the coconut milk and simmer for a further minute or two.

Taste for seasoning, adjusting with extra palm sugar or salt if needed. Serve garnished with fried shallots.

Serves 4–8

Jackfruit cooked on a plate that is made of wood and placed on a wooden floor.
Jackfruit cooked on a plate that is made of wood and placed on a wooden floor.

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