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08.09.2021

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A delicious curry, slightly on the spicy side (for my palate anyway) inspired by the traditional Sri Lankan version of jackfruit curry. Served with basmati rice and coconut flatbread.

I really hope I will be forgiven for simplifying this dish so much. First of all, I do know that to maximise the flavour of a curry you need to toast the spices before they are simmered in the sauce. It releases the aromas and gives an extra layer of depth to the final result. However, when it comes to the slow cooker, I feel that some of this extra depth is captured by the prolonged cooking time. And, I am not ashamed to say, sometimes the ease of just popping everything into the pot and letting it cook away while I do other things, is the best thing ever. There, I said it.

So, this curry is made with jackfruit. Baby jackfruit curry (polos curry) is a traditional dish in Sri Lanka, as jackfruit there is a staple rather than a new trend to hit food blogs and cookery magazines. It’s a fruit that provides sustenance at low cost, since it grows in abundance all over the island, on trees that can withstand pests and harsh climate conditions (drought etc). In fact it is an integral part of many cuisines in South and Southeast Asia. Nowadays it’s very popular in Western countries as its texture resembles meat and it’s used as a substitute. (See my Greek kokkinisto with jackfruit here)

Sri Lankan Inspired Jackfruit Curry in the Slow Cooker www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A bowl of jackfruit curry in sauce in the middle of the image. To the bottom a plate of fluffy cooked basmati rice and to the top a plate of stacked flatbreads. Barely visible in the top right corner some cut lime and parsley.

But back to the polos curry. After a bit of online browsing I found a recipe I liked on the blog Island Smile and tweaked it to suit the slow cooker and the availability of ingredients in Greece. Obviously some of them wouldn’t be easy to get hold of here so I’ve substituted according to a) some research and b) what I thought would work best. For example lime doesn’t usually feature in the original version, but I doubt I could easily find goraka (a fruit commonly used in Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine) or even tamarind paste which is a popular substitute. Pandan leaf is another difficult one. I hope I haven’t caused any offence with my interference; I can only imagine how much more flavourful the real deal is! Not to say this isn’t delicious and well worth a try. Serve it with some basmati rice and coconut flatbreads or roti as they are called, another Sri Lankan speciality I have attempted to recreate here.

How about you? Have you tried Sri Lankan cuisine?

Sri Lankan Inspired Jackfruit Curry in the Slow Cooker www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A bowl of jackfruit curry on basmati rice, a few flatbreads at the side of the dish. To the left of the image a plate of more round flatbreads (roti). To the right of the dish a linen napkin and some vintage cutlery.

Ingredients

250-280 gr young/green jackfruit, drained

2 Tbs virgin sesame oil (not toasted) or other neutral vegetable oil

1 Tbs dried onion flakes

2 tsp chilli powder (use only 1 tsp if you prefer a mild curry)

2 tsp coriander, powdered

1 1/2 tsp ginger, powdered

1 tsp cumin, powdered

1 tsp garlic, powdered

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp mustard seeds (mixed yellow and brown)

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp cardamom seeds, crushed (from about 2 pods)

1 tsp lime zest

1 bay leaf

1/2 c (120 ml) + 2/3 c (160 ml) coconut milk (from a tin)

1/4 c (60 ml) water

1 Tbs lime juice, freshly squeezed

cooked basmati rice, to serve

coconut roti, to serve (recipe here)

Step 1

Place the drained jackfruit pieces in the slow cooker insert and drizzle with the sesame oil. Mix to coat them.

Step 2

In a small bowl mix the onion flakes, chilli powder, coriander, ginger, cumin, garlic powder, sugar, mustard seeds, salt, white pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom and lime zest. Sprinkle the mixture over the jackfruit and stir again to coat it. Pop the bay leaf in.

Step 3

Pour the 1/2 cup of coconut milk over the top. Mix the lime juice into the water and pour that in too.

Step 4

Cook on low for 4 hours or until the jackfruit softens. Stir once or twice during cooking if possible. Add the 2/3 cup coconut milk, stir well and leave for another 30 minutes.

Step 5

Serve with basmati rice and coconut roti. Please note that this curry is really delicious the second day too, so it’s an ideal make ahead meal. It also becomes slightly milder so keep that in mind when planning.

Notes:
You can make this with raw onion, garlic and ginger, but I suggest you sauté them first. Gently cook half a finely chopped medium-sized onion in a bit of oil and when softened add 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 Tbs grated ginger with its juice and 1 tsp mustard seeds. Let them release their fragrance and then add to the slow cooker pot. Continue as per recipe.

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So, what do you think? Leave me a comment!

4 Comments

  • Reply
    Eha
    09/09/2021

    Sri Lankan food is very popular in Australia partly thanks to a few well known and loved chefs from the Island. On the other hand jackfruit is not widely available . . . shall have to do more homework or substitute another fruit. I do very much like your spice profile all the spices used being usual pantry staples . . . shall try for certain 🙂 !!

    • Reply
      09/09/2021

      If it’s anything like Greece I would look for jackfruit in Asian supermarkets/shops or shops specialising in vegan products! The tinned kind (young/green) is what I use and it’s way easier than finding and then cleaning fresh jackfruit 🙂 Re the spices, I think your pantry must look a bit like mine… I always have these on hand!! Yum. Let me know if you try it!

      • Reply
        Eha
        10/09/2021

        . . . and a second read on the following morning taught me to look for tinned jackfruit and wander over to Island Smile blog I had not discovered before ! Great – even my ‘ordinary’ supermarkets keep the tinned stuff and as of a few minutes back I shall also be looking forwards to new Sri Lankan recipes . . . lovely ! Tamarind paste is also freely available here . . . thanks !

        • Reply
          10/09/2021

          Oh yay!! That’s great news! And I agree about Island Smile, I too will be trying new things from that blog – it looks all looks delish!