Jackfruit: everything you need to know

Jackfruit is an extremely large fruit that grows on the jackfruit tree and belongs to the family of fig, breadfruit and mulberry. This delicious tropical fruit is native to Southeast Asia.

Jackfruit is also known as Kathal (in Hindi), Nangka (in Malaysia and Indonesia), Kanun (in Thailand), Langka (in Philippines), Mit (in Vietnam). 

Though unripe young or green jackfruit is what is trending now as a meat substitute, it has been in existence for thousands of years. It is a staple in many Asian cuisines.

Jackfruit is a giant fruit grown in tropical regions and they are the largest tree fruit in the world. The exterior has a thick green spiky skin with a white interior filled with multiple yellow bulbs divided into segments and surrounded by stringy white fibres. Each bulb has an edible seed and it can be used in cooking.

Kathal Lazeez jackfruit curry
Kathal Lazeez jackfruit curry

What does Jackfruit taste like?

The unripe fruit is almost tasteless and takes on the flavour of whatever seasoning or sauce you pair it with. The flavour of this fruit evolves as it ripens.

Ripe jackfruit has a strong and fruity aroma with a sweet flavour and tastes like a combination of mango and pineapple. It is eaten raw just like any fresh stone fruit. The seeds are edible and they can be roasted or boiled and then combined with seasoning.

Health Benefits of Jackfruit

Jackfruit is a rich source of potassium, minerals, calcium, fiber and many heart-healthy nutrients that an individual requires on an everyday basis. It doesn’t contain any cholesterol or saturated fat.

Jackfruit should be eaten regularly as a part of a varied diet, as the minerals and vitamins of this fruit help to improve immunity and calcium and help to ward off osteoporosis.

Tandoori Kathal jackfruit starter
Tandoori Kathal jackfruit starter

Why is Jackfruit popular?

The world is embracing a vegan lifestyle due to the raising increasing awareness of the need to save the environment, to stop climate change, to stop cruelty to animals, and to improve health. Jackfruit has been gaining popularity across the globe as a fake meat or meat alternative for meat-eaters to help a smooth transition to a vegetarian/vegan diet.  

The bland taste, stringy and meat resembling texture of green jackfruit can be shredded, cooked and seasoned to mimic meat. As the green jackfruit has a bland taste and a texture resembling meat, this fruit is suitable for any flavour and taste and helps meat eaters transition to a plant-based diet whilst satisfying their comfort food cravings.

Jackfruit Tips and Tricks

Green jackfruit can be found canned with either jackfruit in water or jackfruit in brine. If you’ve decided to buy a whole fresh jackfruit then be sure to plan ahead to prep the fruit as it’s hard and messy to work with. 

Wear old clothes and cover the working surface with newspaper or old unwanted cloth as the white sticky stuff inside of the jackfruit stains whatever it gets on. Apply oil on your hands or wear rubber gloves to avoid the white stuff sticking to your hands. Apply oil to the sharp knife, cut it into half and then cut into manageable pieces. Remove the yellow bulbs and separate them from seeds.

Jackfruit Delicacies

Jackfruit is a delicious swap for meat dishes and it is popularly called jackfruit meat.  Since the use of jackfruit has diversified into other cooking cultures and dishes such as BBQ pulled jackfruit, jackfruit tacos and even jackfruit pizza, to name just a few, large retail chains have also started selling canned jackfruit.

Although jackfruit makes a great meat substitute, it has been used to make a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes such as Kathal Lazeez (jackfruit curry), Tandoori Kathal (a healthy starter) Halasina Hannina Mulka (fried jackfruit), Khao Niew Kanun (jackfruit sticky rice), Che Thai (tropical fruits dessert).

Adding jackfruit to your dish is worth a try due to its health benefits and nutrition profile.

Are you ready to incorporate jackfruit in your diet, but not sure where to start with? Then look no further try Sanskruti’s special Tandoori Kathal starter or Kathal Lazeez curry and don’t forget to let us know how you like it!