This incredibly delicious and easy Instant Pot Jackfruit Curry is a fun way to incorporate jackfruit and is guaranteed to become a new dinner favorite!
Why you’ll love this recipe
Flavor-packed. It’s brimming with warm, aromatic Indian spices and sooo much flavor.
Wholesome. It’s very nourishing (it’s vegan, gluten-free, AND paleo). You could even make it keto if you limit the amount of sweet potatoes in the recipe. I’m no keto expert, but I think you can have up to half of a sweet potato per day on a ketogenic diet.
Indulgent. This curry is oh-so rich and creamy. Despite being wholesome, it tastes incredibly indulgent thanks to (a) full-fat coconut milk and (b) sweet potatoes. Especially if you use the Instant Pot method, the sweet potatoes practically melt into the curry, which makes the texture even creamier and thicker. Plus, the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes deftly balances the spicy and slightly sour flavors of a curry.
Easy. This recipe is easy enough for a weeknight meal, especially if you use the Instant Pot method.
Meal prep friendly. This curry stays great in the fridge for at least 4-5 days, the leftovers are amazing, and it also freezes well.
What is jackfruit and how do you use it?
Jackfruit is a fruit that grows on trees in tropical climates (South Asia and Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Africa, and a few other places). It’s the largest tree-borne fruit in the world and has a spiky green exterior and a spongy, plump pale yellow interior.
Fresh jackfruit isn’t too widely available in the U.S., though you can find it at specialty stores or Asian grocery stores. I always buy it in cans, and most often when it’s canned in water.
It’s often prepared more like a vegetable than like a fruit, and it has the remarkable ability to mimic meat. Yes, MEAT!
When you shred the flesh of jackfruit, it looks and feels just like shredded pork (or chicken). And because it’s quite neutral in taste, jackfruit really takes on the flavors of the ingredients in which it’s cooked. So you can marinate jackfruit in ancho chiles, and have ancho chili jackfruit that will remind you of ancho chili chicken. Or you can coat jackfruit in barbecue sauce, and have barbecue jackfruit that will remind you of barbecue pork. It’s really quite amazing!
You can purchase canned jackfruit at Asian markets, online, specialty or natural foods stores, and Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
For this recipe, you’re looking for jackfruit that’s canned in water or brine, not sugary syrup. Canned jackfruit is pre-cut into these little triangles, and you can easily shred them apart using your fingers or forks (I find the former method to be easier). You can, of course, buy a whole jackfruit, but given that they can weigh dozens of pounds, it seems like a gargantuan task to cut one open (and frankly, not a task I am interested in at the moment).
Tips for cooking this Instant Pot Jackfruit Curry
You should be able to find most of the spices used in this recipe at most grocery stores, but if you’re having trouble, you can always find them in Indian grocery stores or on Amazon. And if you’re really in a pinch, it’s okay to omit one or two of the spices. The curry will still come out delicious!
While I do LOVE sweet potatoes in this curry, you could also use butternut squash or another winter squash if you prefer. The curry won’t have the natural sweetness from the sweet potatoes, however. To balance the spicy and sour flavors, then, you’ll want to stir in a tablespoon of sweetener before pressure cooking (organic cane sugar, agave nectar, etc.).
Now that we’ve talked about the ingredients, let’s talk about the cooking method. I love using my Instant Pot for this jackfruit curry because it makes it easier and more hands off, but I’ve also provided stovetop instructions for those who don’t have an Instant Pot. There are minor variations between the two methods, so be sure to read the Ingredient list and directions closely.
Regardless of which method you use, the basic cooking steps are pretty straightforward and typical of most traditional curries.
Start off by heating up a bit of oil and frying the whole spices (cumin seeds and black mustard seeds). If you don’t have black mustard seeds, you can just use brown mustard seeds. If you want to omit the oil from this recipe, you can dry toast these seeds (do this on the stove, preferably in a nonstick skillet, as frying without oil is difficult in the Instant Pot).
Once the whole spices are fragrant and begin to sizzle, sauté the aromatics (onions, followed by garlic, ginger, and chili peppers). Next, add the ground spices and cook briefly until you have somewhat of a paste. Then, you’ll add most of the remaining ingredients—the jackfruit, sweet potatoes, coconut milk, and tomato paste.
In the Instant Pot method, you’ll notice that the tomato sauce is added after the curry is pressure cooked. That’s because thick, viscous sauces, especially tomato-based ones, tend to burn in the Instant Pot during pressure cooking, so I wait to add the tomato sauce after the curry is done pressure cooking.
Finish the curry by adding in a generous amount of baby spinach (use as much as you like, and vary the greens according to what you have on hand), fresh lemon juice, and cilantro. Voilà, that’s it! I like to serve it with white rice and/or flatbread, but any grain will do.
I hope you enjoy recipe for Jackfruit Curry! If you do, leave a rating and review down below. And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram with your recreations!
- 1 tablespoon refined coconut oil (or neutral oil of choice)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black mustard seeds (can substitute brown mustard seeds)
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2- inch piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
- 1 serrano pepper, diced (omit membranes and seeds for a milder version)
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
- 1 teaspoon Indian red chili pepper (NOTE: this is NOT the same as standard chili powder; if you don’t have it, substitute with 1/4- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on your spice level)
- 4-6 curry leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 cup water (omit for stovetop version)
- 1 (13.5-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
- 2 (20-ounce cans jackfruit) (in water or brine), drained and rinsed and pulled apart with fingers (for instructions on how to do this, watch the video at the 08:30 mark)
- 3 medium sweet potatoes (about 6-8 ounces each), peeled and diced into 3/4-inch cubes (diced into 1/2-inch cubes for stovetop version)
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 4-5 cups baby spinach or baby kale, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- For serving: White Basmati rice or flatbread
Instant Pot Directions
- Select the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot. After a few minutes, add the oil to heat up. Once the Instant Pot displays reads “HOT,” add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and fry for 45 seconds, tossing frequently, until they begin to pop and are very aromatic.
- Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5-6 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and pepper, and cook for 90 seconds, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
- Add the ground spices (turmeric, garam masala, coriander, paprika, and chili powder), curry leaves, and the 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. Stir to coat and cook for 30 seconds, stirring to combine. Add the 3/4 water to deglaze, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Pour in the coconut milk, followed by the shredded jackfruit and chopped sweet potatoes. Stir to combine and select Cancel.
- Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook setting at high pressure and set the cook time to 6 minutes.
- Once the timer has completed, allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes and then switch the Pressure Release knob from Sealing to Venting to release any remaining steam.
- Open the pot and add the tomato sauce and spinach, and stir to incorporate. Select the Sauté setting, bring the curry to a boil, and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro.
- Serve with white basmati rice or flatbread.
- Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or a Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and fry for 45-60 seconds, tossing frequently, until they begin to pop and are are very aromatic.
- Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
- Add the ground spices (turmeric, garam masala, coriander, paprika, and chili powder), curry leaves, and the 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. Stir to coat and cook for 30 seconds, stirring to combine.
- Add the shredded jackfruit and chopped sweet potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent sticking.
- Pour in the coconut milk and tomato sauce, and stir to coat. Bring to a simmer and then cover, and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and thickens slightly and the sweet potatoes are very tender. If you want the curry to be even thicker, use an immersion blender or potato masher to mash 1/3 to 1/2 of the mixture to thicken.
- Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and cilantro. Serve with white basmati rice or flatbread.