JakFruit: the vegan sensation | Daily News


JakFruit: the vegan sensation

If you were to describe the Jakfruit, the word would have to be lavish! Today Green Thumbs features the Jakfruit which is quite versatile. It can be eaten raw, cooked, ripe or unripe and tastes great in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. It can be taken as a tea or a juice. Institute of Indigenous Medicine, Department of Dravyaguna Vignana, Senior Lecturer, Dr. S. D. Hapuarachchi discusses the Jakfruit that can amount to a kingly feast.

In her research Hapuaracchi has discovered that the importance of the Jakfruit tree to Sri Lanka was first realized around a hundred years ago when a Sri Lankan philanthropist started a jack planting campaign throughout the Island in 1918. His campaign to educate the public of its importance earned him the name Uncle Jack. Due to his efforts, the jak tree was declared a protected tree and even today a permit is required to cut the tree down, thus signifying the importance of this versatile tree.

“The Jakfruit has many uses and it grows in almost all parts of the island. Based on firmness of the flesh, cultivated types are classified into two groups – Firm Flesh and Soft Flesh. If you take Firm Flesh, the pulp is firm, crisp and the taste varies from very sweet and sweet acid. If you take Soft Flesh, the pulp is very juicy and soft and the taste varies in degrees of sweetness. The varieties of Jakfruit differ from each other according to the fruiting time, taste, colour and size,” said Hapuarachchi.

Hapuarachchi points out that in the old days there used to be a wooden mesh hung over the kitchen fireplace or hearth called an atuwa. Its purpose was to preserve food. When Jakfruit was in plenty, the pericarp together with the seed was stored there. The smoke from the hearth acted as a drying agent and preserved it for later use. Leaves are put into the water, boiled and drunk as a tea. Fruit juice and milk shakes can be prepared as well. Juice from the yellow colored Waraka leaves is good for insomnia. Tea from dried leaves is good for diabetes. Hapuarachchi explained furthermore that the Jakfruit is very versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked. When eating raw you will first want to slice it in half and remove the yellow fruit pods and seeds from the skin and core. You can do this with a knife or your hands. It is important to note that the white, fibrous part inside of jakfruit is incredibly sticky, so it may be helpful to wear gloves while handling it.

“Jakfruit can be consumed plain or cooked into both sweet and savory dishes, depending on its ripeness. Unripe fruit generally tastes best in savory recipes, while the sweetness of the ripe fruit is great for desserts. You can even incorporate jakfruit into soups. The ripe fruit also tastes great when added to yogurt or oatmeal. Jakfruit seeds can be roasted or boiled and then combined with seasonings,” explained Hapuarachchi.



Helps with your complexion

Dip Jakfruit seed in some cold milk for a minute. Grind this well and apply gently on the wrinkles. This can reduce wrinkles in just about 6 weeks. This fiber rich fruit also detoxifies your system to add a glowing complexion.

Soak some dry seed with milk and honey. Grind them into a fine paste and apply on your face. Let it dry, and then wash off to reveal flawless skin in just few minutes.

Prevents constipation

You can consume Jakfruit seeds directly to prevent constipation.


Jakfruit is a great source of Vitamin C and antioxidants, which can strengthen your immune system. A strong immune system can protect the body from many common diseases such as cough, cold and flu.


Jakfruit is loaded with carbohydrate and calorie. This is a rich source of simple sugar like fructose and sucrose that gives instant energy. The fruit contains zero cholesterol that makes it a safe and healthy food.

Prevents cancer through Anti-oxidants

Jakfruit has antioxidants that provide protection from cancer - colon, lung and oral cavity cancer. Antioxidants in Jakfruit protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals damage the DNA of your cell and produces cancer cell. But, antioxidants can neutralize these free radicals to protect DNA from free radicals damage. They also slow down the ageing process.

Maintains blood pressure

Jakfruit has a good level of potassium. Hence, it is useful to reduce high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack.

Improves eyesight

Rich antioxidant content in Jakfruit increases eye vision and provides protection against cataract and macular degeneration.


Jakfruit comes loaded with Vitamin A, C, E, K, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic acid, Copper, Manganese and Magnesium that are required for blood formation. This also increases your body’s capacity to absorb iron, thus preventing and curing anemia.

Regulates blood sugar levels

Jakfruit has a rich amount of this nutrient manganese and thus helps regulate blood sugar levels in the body.

Prevents bone loss

Jakfruit is rich in magnesium & calcium, which strengthens and promotes healthy bone.

Keeps thyroid healthy

Copper is vital for thyroid metabolism, especially for hormone production and absorption. Jakfruit is filled with this potent micro mineral and keeps your metabolism rate healthy.


Jakfruit has strong anti-ulcerative properties that can cure ulcers and many other digestive system disorders.


RECIPES MADE OUT OF JAKFRUIT  (furnished by Dr. Hapuarachchi)


For those who are impatient the fruit is plucked when tender. At this stage of its life, it is referred to as Polos. It is when the fruit is between the ages of 4 to 6 weeks on the tree. It is often cooked as a curry and is called a Polos Ambula. First the tender flesh is cut into cubes and is rubbed with a mixture of turmeric powder and goraka. The marinated Polos is then left for about an hour. Then tomato, green chilies, red onions, garlic and curry powder are placed in a pan and cooked in coconut milk with the Polos added until the mixture turns into thick gravy. Polos, once mashed, is used as filling for cutlets or is chopped to make a malluma.


When the fruit has reached the stage of being called Kos, the seed is removed and the jack is cut into thin strips and is boiled or steamed. It is then eaten with grated coconut and with a red or green chilli sambal for breakfast or for lunch.


A motley of finely chopped onions, pepper, turmeric, curry leaves, fenugreek, coconut milk and water are added along with the thinly cut Jakfruit to a pan and is cooked until well done. Ground mustard seeds and dry chilies are tempered and mixed in to the dish.


The seed is removed and the flesh is cut into small pieces and stir fried in oil together with small cut red chilli pieces, onions, curry leaves, rampe. It can even be deep fried, if preferred, cut into long pieces.


The seeds too have their culinary place. Boiled jack seeds are of great taste and nutritious value. It is one of the easier preparations as the seeds are boiled in water with a pinch of salt. The husk of the seed is removed and it is relished as a snack.

KALU POL MALUWA (Kalu Pol Kosseta)

The Kalu Pol Kosseta is another tasty jak dish made with the seeds. It is made by first grating part of a coconut and roasting it in a pan without either oil or water. Then once it has turned into a dark brown it should be ground and made to a paste with a touch of water to help it mix and then it is kept aside.

The balance of the grated coconut can be used to extract milk. The first extract, which is the thickest should be kept aside. The third extract, which will be the thinnest, is to be used to make the curry. Jack seeds should be cut and mixed with garlic, onions, roasted chili, pandan and curry leaves and should be made into a curry using the thin coconut milk. When the curry has reached its optimum level, the coconut paste mixed with the thick extract of coconut milk should be added to the jak seed curry and must be stirred well on a slow fire until it is reduced to darkish brown thick gravy, with the jack seeds tasting deliciously tender.


Jak seeds are also roasted on the BBQ grill to make a tasty snack. Once it is prepared, the husk is removed and the seed is relished. The heated coal gives it a smoky flavor that works well with a sprinkle of spices and salt.


The seeds are first half boiled. And then they are added to a pan of heated oil and fried with a mixture of turmeric, curry powder, curry leaves, crushed chilies, raw chili powder until golden brown. With a dash of salt and a few drops of lime, it will provide a crispy accompaniment to a meal.


For those who have the patience to wait for the fruit to ripen, the reward is a sweet delicacy beyond compare. It’s the Waraka, as the fruit is known when it has ripened. The flesh has turned a bright yellow. The taste has turned from starchy blandness to a rich honey tinged sugary flavor. And the smell has turned a sugary and fruity aroma. It is eaten straight from the fruit, and for extra bite, a liberal dose of pepper is added.

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