Jackfruit meets The Spice Tailor

21st October 2021 | Eativity editors

Meat substitutes have become the norm, as more Australians seek to embrace a plant-based diet. But the concern for some is that plant-based meat alternatives can be highly processed. If you’re looking for a more natural meat substitute to cook with, you might want to try jackfruit. While it doesn’t offer the same amount of protein as other plant-based meat substitutes, when cooked, jackfruit has a chewy, stringy texture quite similar to pulled pork. The fruit’s neutral taste when unripe also means that it absorbs the flavours of any herbs, spices, marinades or sauces it’s cooked with.

Once it becomes ripe, jackfruit is much sweeter, and is more suited to be eaten as you would a regular tropical fruit. It can also be used in desserts. The taste when it’s ripe has been described as being like a hybrid of banana, mango and pineapple.

The emerging jackfruit industry could provide a big boost to Top End agribusiness.

Aussie opportunities

While it’s been imported to Australia from Southeast Asia in cans for a while, you can now buy pre-prepared fresh jackfruit, such as Amazonia’s Tender Jack. Australian farmers are also looking to jackfruit as a potential new high-value crop.

In particular, the fruit is well suited to production in northern Australia. A trial is currently underway that aims to use jackfruit as part of a high-density horticulture project run by the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia. The trial is investigating new ways of growing tropical fruit in a bid to cyclone-proof the northern food bowl. Manbulloo Limited, one of Australia’s largest mango producers, has kicked off a high-density jackfruit trial at Ballongilly Farm outside of Katherine, 300km south of Darwin.

But back to the eating. If you’d like to try using jackfruit as a meat substitute, check out the below recipes from The Spice Tailor. Created by UK food writer and chef Anjum Anand, The Spice Tailor’s range of curry, daal, marinade and biryani kits and Indian pastes offer endless easy meal opportunities. They also happen to work brilliantly with jackfruit.

You can find out more about The Spice Tailor at thespicetailor.com.au

Loaded jackfruit nachos

Loaded jackfruit nachos

These nachos are one of the tastiest vegetarian ones you can find. The jackfruit is cooked and coated in a spicy, savoury sauce before being layered on crispy nachos and topped with cheese. Sour cream and salsa add freshness and help temper the fiery curry sauce.

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cooking time 35 minutes

You’ll need:

1 pack The Spice Tailor Fiery Goan Curry
400g can young jackfruit in water, drained
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tin black beans, drained
200g bag tortilla chips
150g mature cheddar cheese, grated

For the salsa:

25g red onion, chopped
½ avocado, diced
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Good squeeze of lemon juice
Seasoning to taste

To serve:

Sour cream, 1 finely sliced spring onion and fresh chopped coriander


1. Preheat oven to 190°C. In a saucepan, heat oil and fry dried spices for 10 seconds. Take off the heat and carefully remove whole spices and chilli so you don’t bite into them later. Add both sauces from the pack. Add jackfruit and a good splash of water, bring to a simmer and cook for about 5-7 minutes, shredding and breaking up larger jackfruit pieces.
2. Once sauce coats jackfruit, stir in the beans. If the sauce is looking dry, add a little water. If too watery, cook off some of the extra. Take off the heat.
3. In a large ovenproof dish or baking tray, layer the tortilla chips first and follow with the jackfruit, leaving some bits empty for crunch. Evenly sprinkle over the cheese.
4. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese has melted and everything is hot.
5. Meanwhile, mix together salsa ingredients. Adjust seasoning and lemon to taste. Once cheese is melted, top with salsa and sour cream, sprinkle with spring onions and coriander.

Lentil and jackfruit “crab” cakes

Lentil and jackfruit “crab” cakes

Adding lentils to the jackfruit balances protein intake plus adds a moistness and butteriness to these cakes. These are perfect with a little salad as a light meal.

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes

You’ll need:

1 pack The Spice Tailor Bengali Coconut Lentil Daal
150g tender jackfruit, drained and broken up into large pieces
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
⅓ red capsicum, finely chopped
4 tbsp finely chopped red onion
½ tsp cumin powder
Small fistful chopped parsley or coriander
60g dried breadcrumbs, plus extra to coat
Salt to taste and ¼ tsp of black pepper, or to taste
Oil to fry

For the tartare sauce:

4 tbsp finely chopped red onion
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp finely chopped gherkins
3 tbsp mayonnaise or crème fraiche
3-4 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
Salt and black pepper to taste


1. Shred the jackfruit pieces with two forks. If you have time, spread the jackfruit out on a baking tray and bake at 200°C for 30 minutes to dry out and add some extra texture. If you don’t have time, you might need to add a little more breadcrumb.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the lentils, the jackfruit (whether you’ve dried it out or not), the breadcrumbs, mustard, mayonnaise, capsicum, onions, herbs, seasoning and cumin. Leave for a few minutes to allow the crumbs to help it bind together.
3. Fry off to taste the seasoning. Adjust as necessary. Add extra crumbs for firmer cakes.
4. Form into small or large cakes. Place extra breadcrumbs on a plate and place cakes on top. Coat well on both sides, pressing down lightly to help them stick. Set aside.
5. Heat up a good splash of oil in the pan. Add the cakes and cook on a low heat until golden on both sides (you might need to do this in batches or two pans).
6. Stir together all the ingredients for the tartare. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
7. Serve cakes hot with tartare sauce and a salad.

Peppery jackfruit tacos

Peppery jackfruit tacos

The sauce clings to the jackfruit and is a little peppery and savoury, which contrasts beautifully with fresh slaw. Add some crushed roasted nuts for extra oomph.

Serves 3
Prep time 10 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes

You’ll need:

1 pack The Spice Tailor Southern Pepper Curry
1 tbsp vegetable oil
400g can young jackfruit in water, drained
6 small soft wheat tacos

For the cabbage and coriander slaw:

¼ white cabbage, finely shredded
Large handful chopped fresh coriander
120g plain yoghurt
3 tbsp mayonnaise
½ lemon
½ tsp brown mustard seeds (optional)


1. Heat half the oil in a wide frying pan and add the spices from the little sachet in the kit. Cook for 20 seconds and then add the jackfruit. Brown with the spices for 2 minutes while stirring occasionally. Using a fork, carefully remove the spices and dried chilli, then add both sauces from the two pouches in the kit. Stir well to mix while cooking for around 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and is coating the jackfruit pieces.
2. Meanwhile, mix together the cabbage, yoghurt, mayo, coriander and season well with salt and pepper. Add a good couple squeezes of lemon juice.
3. If using, heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan and add the mustard seeds. Once they’re popping, turn the heat down. Once they slow down, pour straight into the cabbage and mix well together. Taste and adjust seasoning and lemon juice to taste.
4. Once the jackfruit is done, shred with two forks. Season to taste, adding a good amount of freshly ground black pepper. The sauce should cling to the jackfruit by now.
5. Heat the tacos. Try 2 at a time in a frying pan and stack in foil or a cloth to keep warm.
6. Bring all the elements to the table so everyone can help themselves. Spoon a generous helping of jackfruit down the centre of the taco, add a good amount of slaw and enjoy.