Health & Lifestyle

India's Super food ‘Jackfruit’ is becoming World's Most Preferred Meat-substitute

Aayush Chowdhury
Aayush Chowdhury
jackfruit

The greenish, spiky and with a strong, sweet smell, the bulky jackfruit or Kathal (in Hindi)has converted from a backyard nuisance in India’s southern coastal area into a meat-substitute of vegetarians in the Western part of country.

As a part of the South Asia's diet for centuries, jackfruit production was so excessive that huge quantity went to waste every year.

But nowadays in India, the world's biggest producer of jackfruit, is capitalizing on its growing popularity as a "superfruit" meat alternative - furnished by chefs from Washington DC to London and Mumbai for its pork-like texture when matures. 

The fruit, which weighs around five to six kg on average has a waxy yellowish fleshy substance when ripe and is eaten fresh or used to make cakes, juices, ice creams and crisps or snacks. 

When unripe, it is added to curries or fried and sautéed. In the West, shredded jackfruit has become a popular alternative to pulled pork and is even used as a pizza topping too. 

James Joseph left his job as Microsoft Director after identifying Western interest in jackfruit "gaining momentum as a vegan substitute to meat".The Coronavirus pandemic crisis, Joseph told has created two spikes in consumer interest. 

He sells jackfruit flour/ powder which can be mixed with or used as an alternative to wheat and rice flour to make anything from burger pizza to local classics such as idli like south Indian cuisine. 
He also has worked with the Sydney University's Glycemic Index Research Service to find out any health benefits of fruits and Vegetables. 

jackfruit

As increasing global warming causes havoc on agriculture, food researchers found that jackfruit could emerge as nutrition filled crop as it is drought-resistant and requires less maintenance. 

But there is a rising competition from countries such as Bangladesh and Thailand on the production of Jackfruit.

Jackfruit's newfound international fame is a massive turnaround for a plant that while used in local dishes, has long been viewed as a poor man's delight. 

Each tree can produce around 150 -200 fruits per season. 

While India's jackfruit cultivators like the wider agriculture sector, have been hit as the country-wide covid-19 lockdown causes a shortage of labor & transport, international demand of this shows no sign of decreasing market. 

Sujan Sarkar who is the Palo Alto-based executive chef of Bhambri restaurant has trust on  even meat-eaters are becoming jackfruit lovers. 

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