Thai Jackfruit “Chicken” Curry
If mock meats give you the creeps, have no fear, jackfruit is here! If you’ve never tried jackfruit, you’re in for a treat. Nothing comes closer to tasting like chicken! While many have tried to create meat replacements that compare to meat in texture and flavor, I have found that nothing comes closer than jackfruit – which is amazingly found in nature. Texture issues? This texture is so convincing it may freak you out if you’re a long-time vegan. There’s no need to turn to processed soy alternatives when you’ve got a natural plant version that’s actually good for you.
Jackfruit can be found at most Asian stores – both canned and fresh. The key to this jackfruit, though, is getting it young, green, and in brine or water. You don’t want to use the ripened fruit. I found these cans at our local Asian market for less than $2.60 a can.
This curry is delicious!
You will need:
1–16 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
1–16 oz. can diced tomatoes with basil and garlic
2–20 oz. cans Young Green Jackfruit in Brine or Water
2 cups no-chicken veggie broth
2 tbsp gluten free tamari, Braggs or coconut aminos
3 tbsp lime juice
2 small zucchinis, diced
1/8 cup dried sweet basil
dash of curry powder
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. chili/garlic paste
2 tsp. chili flakes in soy oil
2 cups dry brown rice
This dish is very easy to make. Begin by dry sautéing the garlic and onion on medium heat in a medium skillet or pot. Add chili paste and stir with a spatula until well-coated. Allow to sweat (the onions, not you). Add jackfruit (drained and rinsed) and a tiny bit of veggie broth to prevent sticking. Allow jackfruit to heat up until you can break it apart into smaller chunks with your spatula. Jackfruit does contain a few seeds, but they are so soft and completely edible – you will hardly notice. Add veggie broth, coconut milk, and remaining spices, including tamari and lime. Leave uncovered and stir often.
While this is cooking, slice up your zucchini and set aside to add later with the canned tomatoes. These don’t need to cook as long, so you want to add them later in the process. This is also a great time to get your rice started…. brown rice can take up to 40 minutes to cook. Just follow instructions on the package. Check on the jackfruit mixture often, making sure none is sticking to the bottom of your pan and breaking up the fruit with your spatula as much as possible.
After about 40 minutes, or when jackfruit is tender, add zucchini and tomatoes. If you want your spices to be more potent, you can wait to add your basil at this point too. Allow to heat another 20 minutes or so. When rice is ready, do a taste test to make sure you have the right balance of spices. You may need to add more tamari, chili flakes, or lime. I like to add lots of chili flakes, but I add it to my individual dish so not everyone has to eat something extremely spicy. Taste the jackfruit to make sure it’s tender, and if so, you’re ready to serve!
This is one of my favorite dishes. There is so much to make with this versatile fruit, and no animals are harmed in the process. Our cabinet and bellies are always stocked full.