Vegan Jackfruit Curry with a creamy “butter” sauce and chickpeas
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground or seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, ground
- 400ml bottle passata
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup the Almond Farmer almond butter
- 1 tablespoon red miso
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 400g tins green jackfruit in brine, rinsed and cut into small chunks
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup soy milk
To serve: Steamed brown basmati rice, chopped roasted almonds and fresh coriander.
- In a stock pot, dry fry the onion, garlic and ginger until the mixture begins to caramelise. Add a dash of water to deglaze and release the flavours from the bottom of the pot.
- Add garam masala, turmeric, coriander, cumin, chili and cardamom. Stir these spices through the onion mixture and cook on medium heat until fragrant but not browned. You don’t want to burn the spices!
Add the passata and stock. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the brown basmati rice according to the directions on the packet.
- To the spiced tomato sauce add the almond butter, miso and maple syrup. Blend with a hand held stick blender until smooth. Add the chickpeas, jackfruit and soy milk. Allow to simmer without the lid for another 5 minutes to thicken.
- Serve with steamed brown basmati rice, chopped roasted almonds and fresh coriander.
The health benefits
One of the most savoured and comforting Indian curries originating in Northern India is murgh makhani, or “butter chicken”. The traditional recipe uses chicken, yoghurt, cream and butter (or ghee) making it high in saturated fats. These fats have been shown to increase our risk of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. This recipe uses green jackfruit as a meat substitute which is packed with vitamins and a great source of fibre, helping to keep our gut microbiome happy.
The spices in this dish also have many health promoting properties. Turmeric for example is anti-inflammatory and may help prevent and fight cancer. Cardamom equally has shown that it can help to kill cancer cells in a petri dish. Chilies may help us to burn fat and can aid in weight management.
Unlike the traditional recipe, this dish is much lower in fat. Almonds, which help make this curry creamy in texture, are lower in saturated fat than other nuts and therefore are better for our health. They help to lower LDL cholesterol levels and are high in calcium. Similarly, eating whole grains like brown basmati can reduce the risk of developing our number one killer, heart disease. It is a better choice than white rice as it’s higher in fibre and is lower on the glycemic index, is quick to cook and has a mild, nutty flavour.
Green jackfruit in brine is available at most Asian supermarkets or gourmet shops and is a healthy and sustainable meat substitute (in a previous article I discussed how not all meat substitutes are good for us). Jackfruit high in antioxidants while low in fat and therefore, may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. It’s easy to use from the can, unlike the fresh jackfruit which has a sticky sticky sap. Just drain, rinse and chop into bite sized pieces. It has a flaky texture, not unlike meat, and takes on the flavours of the spices in this dish.
Almond butter and soy milk give this dish the creamy flavour and texture that we are accustomed to in a traditional butter chicken. Choose an almond butter (like the one from the Almond Farmer) that is creamy and only lightly roasted. Roasting nuts forms a potentially harmful compound called acrylamide, and reduces the amounts of beneficial nutrients.
It’s best to fry without oil, and here’s why. When oils are heated they often produce toxic aldehydes, chemicals which are linked to many serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and dementia. Oils also are very calorie dense, carry very little nutrition and are high in inflammatory omega 6s. Frying without oil is a great way to brown onions and garlic without these negative side effects. Add a dash of water or stock if they begin to stick and in no time you won’t miss frying with oil at all.
This recipe calls for a few mild spices and it’s probably a good idea to mix these together in a small bowl before you start. Prep is key, with all your ingredients chopped and ready it will be easy to throw together. Blending the sauce before adding the jackfruit and chickpeas makes it nice and creamy, without the need to add any dairy.
If you are looking to improve your health, eat sustainably and improve the welfare of animals then this jackfruit curry is an amazing swap from the traditional Indian “butter chicken” recipe. Cook it for yourself and try the recipe on your friends, I guarantee they will not be disappointed!
Jackfruit Curry (per serve)
Calories: 267 | Protein: 9.6 g | Carbohydrates: 35 g | Fat: 11 g | Saturated Fat: 0.9 g | Fibre: 13 g | Iron: 2.0 g | Calcium: 174 mg