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Jackfruit Curry with Bell Peppers, Cashews, and Lime Leaf

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Jackfruit curry
Sfllaw/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
This Jackfruit Curry Recipe is exotically delicious, and makes for a fantastic vegetarian or vegan main dish. Green jackfruit (purchased frozen or canned) is remarkably similar to chicken in consistency, and is even referred to as "vegetable meat" in many parts of Southeast-Asia. In Thailand, fresh jackfruit ("khanun") can be seen in the marketplaces (a prickly-looking fruit similar to durian), as well as in its dried form. Jackfruit is very healthy, loaded with numerous vitamins and minerals, plus isoflavones, phytonutrients, and anti-oxidants (For more on jackfruit, see link within recipe).

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • SERVES 4
  • 1 package frozen jackfruit, preferably unripe/green, OR 1 can prepared jackfruit in brine (not syrup), drained
  • 1 small to medium cooking onion, cut into eighths (wedge-like pieces)
  • 1 green bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped/sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped/sliced
  • 3/4 cup dry roasted (unsalted) cashews
  • 1/3 to 1/2 can coconut milk (depending on how much sauce you prefer)
  • generous handful of fresh basil for garnish
  • 2 Tbsp. oil for stir-frying
  • 3-4 Tbsp. white wine (or white cooking wine) for stir-frying
  • PASTE:
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 fresh red chili (or more if you want it ultra spicy)
  • 4-5 whole lime leaves, fresh or frozen (available in the produce or freezer section of most Asian/Chinese food stores)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetarian fish sauce (or regular fish sauce if non-vegetarian), available at Vietnamese stores
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut, canola, olive, or other healthy, good-tasting oil
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • optional: 1 tsp. dark soy sauce (available at Asian/Chinese food stores)
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Preparation:

For more about buying and preparing Jackfruit, plus health benefits, see my What is Jackfruit?

  1. First, prepare the curry paste. Place all paste ingredients together in a food processor or mini-chopper and process well. OR you can pound the dry ingredients together using a pestle & mortar, then add wet ingredients to combine. If you do not have these implements: Simply mince dry ingredients finely by hand, then stir to combine them with wet ingredients in a small bowl.Lime Leaf Tip: Prepare the lime leaves using scissors to cut out (and discard) the hard central stem. If lime leaves are frozen, you can quickly thaw them by running under some hot water. Set paste aside.
  2. Cut jackfruit into desired bite size, either in strips or cubes/chunks (as you would with chicken). Set aside.
  3. Place 2 Tbsp. oil in a wok or deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and stir-fry 2-3 minutes. Add a little of the wine (1/2 to 1 Tbsp. at a time) instead of more oil whenever wok/pan becomes dry.
  4. Add the bell peppers. If using green jackfruit, add it now as well. Continue stir-frying another 2-3 minutes, or until peppers have softened and turned bright in color. Again, add a little wine when wok/pan becomes dry to keep ingredients frying nicely.
  5. Add the paste you made earlier, plus the coconut milk (start by adding 1/3 can). If using ripe (unsweetened) jackfruit, add it now as well. Stir well to combine.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low, allowing curry to gently simmer 2-3 minutes, or until ingredients are nicely cooked, but not overcooked (bell peppers should still retain their firmness and color). Tip: Try not to overcook this curry, or you will lose the fragrance and taste of the paste. When done, the green jackfruit should shred easily (like chicken). If using ripe, unsweetened jackfruit, it should be soft (but not mushy) in texture.
  7. Just before serving, add the cashews, gently stirring them in. Now do a taste-test, looking for a balance of salty, sour, sweet and spicy. If not salty enough, add more [vegetarian] fish sauce, soy sauce, or a little salt. If too salty for your taste, add another squeeze of lime/lemon juice. If not spicy enough, add more fresh chili. If too spicy (or if you prefer more sauce), add a little more coconut milk. Add a little more sugar if too sour.
  8. To serve, either portion out in bowls or on plates, or ladle the curry into a serving dish. Sprinkle with generous amounts of fresh basil, and serve with plenty of Thai jasmine-scented rice. ENJOY!
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