Polos (Sri Lankan Jackfruit Curry)

Polos is an authentic Sri Lankan recipe for Jackfruit Curry. Even though in Western food culture jackfruit only recently came into the picture as a great plant-based substitute for meat in vegan stews and curries, in Sri Lanka jackfruit curry has been a favorite for ages.

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The recipe for Sri Lankan Jackfruit Curry is your key to taste sensations.

What is Polos?

Today we have an authentic Sri Lankan recipe for Jackfruit Curry, named Polos.

For veganizing traditional stews, jackfruit seems to be the new hype. A hype I like! I often use jackfruit to make the most delicious traditional stews in a vegan way. Like zoervleisj (‘sour meat’) which is a traditional dish in Limburg, the part of the Netherlands where I grew up.

For me, the whole jackfruit trend came out of nowhere though. It seemed to be an invention driven by plant-based eaters wanting to imitate the structure of meat in stews and Sloppy Joe sandwiches.

A traditional recipe for Sri Lankan Jackfruit Curry

Yet, to my surprise, using the meaty-like structure of young jackfruit in a stew or curry is not new at all. Neither is it some culinary discovery driven by the vegan movement. They have been using it in a Sri Lankan recipe for Jackfruit Curry for ages. 

So, when we came across this curry on our mission to collect authentic vegan recipes from countries all around the world, we felt more than ever that eating plant-based has always been a thing!

Ingredients

For 2 servings (serve with cooked or steamed rice)

All the ingredients for Sri Lankan Jackfruit Curry.
  • 250 grams (9 oz) of young jackfruit (net weight)
  • ½ onion
  • 240 milliliter (1 cup) of coconut milk 
  • 2 green chilies
  • 2 dried chilies (or substitute with a 2 teaspoons of dried chili flakes)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped up
  • 2.5 centimeter (1 inch) of ginger, chopped up
  • 1 tablespoon of concentrated tamarind juice
  • ½ teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 2 pods of cardamom, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder (or substitute with crushed coriander, fenugreek and cumin seeds. The coriander should be 5 times more than the other ingredients. If you use fresh seeds, make sure to pestle them well)
  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2.5 centimeter (1 inch) pandan leaf (or substitute with 1 bay leaf)
  • 8 curry leaves (or substitute with 1 teaspoon of lemon zest)

The recipe for Sri Lankan Jackfruit Curry

Prep: 10 min. | Cook: 70 min. | Total: 80 min.

Pestling all the spices.
I basically like to pestle everything, but especially with spices that need to be grinded the pestle is my friend. I also add the garlic, ginger and chilies to the mortar.
  1. Chop up the ½ onion.

  2. Chop up the 2 green chilies, the 2 dried chilies, the 3 cloves of garlic and the inch of ginger. Crush the 2 pods of cardamom and the black pepper kernels. Set aside for step 6. I like to pestle all these together to get a paste-like spice mix.  
    Note: Do not grind the mustard seeds!
  1. In a saucepan, heat up 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil. 
  1. When the oil is hot, add the chopped up ½ onion.
  1. When the onions become translucent, add the mustard seeds. Also add the salt, turmeric, cinnamon, curry powder and curry leaves. Stir well for a minute.
    If anywhere in this process anything is close to burning, just add a splash of water.
  1. When the mustard seeds start popping, add the young jackfruit without the water. Add the spice-paste from step 2. Mix well together and keep on stirring. 

  2. Add the tablespoon of concentrated tamarind juice, the cup of coconut milk, a cup of water and the pandan leaf. Stir well. Let this simmer for an hour and add water every time when the curry becomes too dry. 

Extra tips for the curry-pro’s

Pro tip 1: These types of curries become more and more tasty the longer they simmer and even the longer they stand (not more than 3 days though). If you have time, treat it like a stew and let it simmer for a few hours on low heat. Some Sri Lankan chefs let it simmer as long as 6 hours. 

Pro tip 2: When making curries, always have a splash of water on the side when you start. If spices threaten to burn in the beginning, just add a splash of water to your pan.

Pro tip 3: As these curries get tastier by the hour, make some extra and put aside in the fridge to eat the next day or even the day after.

And with this recipe for Sri Lankan Jackfruit Curry you get this result.

Summary

Recipe: Polos
Country: Sri Lanka
Prep: 10 min.
Cook: 70 min.
Total: 80 min.
Ingredients: Jackfruit, onion, coconut milk, green chilies, dried chilies, garlic, ginger, tamarind juice, mustard seeds, cardamom, salt, pepper, curry powder, turmeric, cinnamon, pandan leaf, curry leaves
Type of meal: main dish

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