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THE jackfruit recently became an Internet sensation after Westerners who cooked it with barbecue sauce claimed that it tasted like pulled meat.

It then quickly became a meat substitute among vegans, who spawned many ways of exploiting its meat-like texture, appearance and flavour.

What they don’t know is that jackfruit has been used in Asian cooking for so long, that I wonder if this is going to be another passing fad that will forever jack up the price of jackfruit.

This recipe combines the subtle flavours of jackfruit and prawns in a luscious sauce that goes so well with rice that it will demand you to carbo-load.

It is important to poach the jackfruit in water to remove the sap, especially if the fruit is very young. You may skip this step if you use a riper jackfruit.

A tip that my mother taught me whenever she cooked prawns is to grab the prawns by the handful and slam them against the bottom of the bowl.

Do this repeatedly for about five minutes until you can feel the muscles of the prawns tightening. This action gives the prawns a springy texture.

With everything prepped ahead of time, you can keep the ingredients separately chilled.

Since cooking takes only 15 minutes of light sautéing and simmering, you can start cooking minutes before dinner, and have it ready just in time to buka puasa.

Ingredients

  • 500g jackfruit cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 3 pieces asam gelugor
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 600g medium-size prawns (300g shelled)
  • Salt to taste

Spice Blend

  • 5 red chillies
  • 8 shallots or 1 red onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 stalk lemongrass, slice bottom third into rings
  • 1 inch galangal
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric or 2 tsp turmeric powder

Method

  1. Remove rind and core from jackfruit wedge, cut into 2cm chunks. Poach cut up jackfruit in 3 cups water to remove sap, about 20 minutes. Drain and discard poaching liquid.
  2. Shell and devein prawns. Slam prawns repeatedly into bottom of bowl to give the prawns a springy texture.
  3. Boil prawn shells and heads for stock about 30 minutes. Reserve 1 cup for this curry.
  4. Grind chillies, shallots, garlic, lemongrass rings and galangal.
  5. Heat oil in pan, saute spice blend until fragrant.
  6. Add coconut milk, prawn stock, kaffir lime leaves and asam and bring to a boil.
  7. Add jackfruit and prawns. Turn off the heat the moment it starts simmering.
  8. Season with salt to taste.
  9. Serve immediately over steamed rice.

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