Young jackfruit curry

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia

Fire Islands

By Eleanor Ford

Published 2019

  • About

Jackfruit is the new darling of the vegan set for its meaty texture, but has long been used in Indonesia. It doubles up as a fruit when ripe and sweet and a vegetable when green. This mild, turmeric-tinted curry uses the unripe flesh of a young jackfruit - buy it tinned in Asian supermarkets if you can’t find fresh. It will improve immeasurably if you leave it for a day or two after cooking to let the flavours permeate.


  • 400 g (14 oz) young jackfruit
  • 500 ml (2 cups) fresh chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 lemongrass stick, bruised and knotted
  • 2 lime leaves
  • 200 ml (generous ¾ cup) coconut cream
  • 1 tablespoon crisp-fried shallots
  • 2 teaspoons dark palm sugar (gula jawa), shaved (optional)

Bumbu spice paste

  • 8 cm ( inches) turmeric, peeled, or 2 rounded teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 4 cm ( inches) ginger, peeled
  • 4 cm ( inches) galangal, skin scrubbed
  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 7 small red Asian shallots, peeled
  • 2 salam leaves (optional)
  • 2 candlenuts or 4 blanched almonds
  • 2 tablespoons oil


If using fresh jackfruit, the fruit has a rubbery sap that is nearly impossible to remove - oil your hands, knife, chopping board and anything else the jackfruit will touch! Trim off the rind and chop the flesh (including the seeds) into chunky wedges about 4 cm ( inches) long. If using tinned, drain and rinse.

To make the bumbu spice paste, roughly chop all the fresh ingredients and transfer to a food processor. Whizz to a paste, adding a little water if needed to help bring everything together. Tip into a large pan and cook over a medium-high heat, stirring often, until fragrant and the oil starts to separate from the paste.

Add the jackfruit and chicken stock to the bumbu pan (if you are using tinned jackfruit it will need less cooking, so start with a little less stock - you can always top up if required). Season with the lemongrass, lime leaves and a good pinch of salt. Bring to an enthusiastic bubble and cook for 15 minutes. Check to see if the jackfruit is tender - how long this takes will depend on the variety: anywhere up to an hour. Once it can yield to the pressure of a spoon, turn up the heat to reduce the liquid if needed. Lower the heat to medium, stir in the coconut cream and crisp-fried shallots and cook for a minute or two longer. Taste for seasoning. It needs quite a bit of salt, and you may want to add a little palm sugar to round out the flavour. This curry will taste even better the next day.