For the love of Jackfruit


A Jackfruit tree

Jackfruit is currently taking the vegan world by storm. Jack is a large, delicious meat-like fruit that is packed with protein and takes on many different roles in recipes. However, while the rest of the world is just discovering Jackfruit, for Sri Lanka, Jackfruit has been part of it’s meals for centuries.


Available at every street corner in its fresh form, Jackfruit is a unique fruit that can be enjoyed as different meals at various stages of its maturity. At the very beginning of its maturity, while it is still small, it is known to the locals in Sri Lanka as “polos” - a wonderful meat substitute.


Even young jack can be enjoyed in two variations, “mallum polos” - as a salad with coconut in it’s earliest stages or just “polos” as a delicious dark brown spicy curry prepared in the same way that meat or fish is prepared.


Polos is well loved by vegans and meat eaters alike and are often seen as part of a village traditional meal. In its second stage of maturity, jackfruit is known as “Kos” - a soft, buttery fruit, usually prepared in thick coconut milk to create “Kiri Kos” - a bright yellow buttery dish. “Kiri Kos” literally translates to “Milk Jackfruit” due to its creamy milky taste and texture.


What makes Jackfruit stand out?


Jackfruit is unique in many ways. The fruit contains 2.8g of protein in one single serving unlike other fruits and vegetables. In addition to protein, jack is rich in vitamin C, fiber and potassium. Prepared correctly, it can imitate the taste and texture of meat which makes it a great natural substitute for meat. Polos can be turned into burgers, sausages, and cutlets.


Preparation of Jackfruit

Jackfruit curry

Sri Lankan Polos ( Jackfruit ) Curry

One of the amazing things about jackfruit is that it is versatile and can be prepared in diverse ways. In Sri Lanka, the primary way of cooking jackfruit is in curry form. As explained above, there are various recipes in which these curries can be prepared based on how mature the jackfruit is.

Pulled Jackfruit

Pulled jackfruit with bbq sauce

Many vegans have compared Jackfruit to pork in a popular “pulled jackfruit” recipe that is taking the world by storm. This dish is prepared with tender jackfruit otherwise known as baby jackfruit that is boiled, pulled apart and mixed with various sauces. The dish can be enjoyed with rice, noodles or in a burger bun.

In Sri Lanka and other South East Asian countries, Jackfruit is available in abundance. In most cases, they can simply be plucked off a tree in the area. During Jackfruit season, one tree can feed entire villages as the fruit itself is very large, the largest fruit in the world.

During the season, one tree can produce hundreds and hundreds of fruits which can be enjoyed at their various stages in different ways. It is a common replacement for carbs like rice or bread. A popular breakfast is jackfruit, simply boiled in salt and enjoyed with a spicy onion sambal. 

Due to its abundance and high nutritional value, Jackfruit can be credited with preventing starvation among low-income village folk in Southeast Asia over the centuries. In Sri Lanka, the tree is a protected tree that cannot be cut down without permission from the government due to its high value to the population of the country.