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Karan's Raw Jackfruit Cutlets

Karan Gokani, chef & author of Hoppers: The Cookbook

Makes: 10 to 12 pieces

Karan's Raw Jackfruit Cutlets
Photo by:  

Ryan Wijayaratne

Excerpted from Hoppers: The Cookbook: Recipes, Memories and Inspiration from Sri Lankan Homes, Streets and Beyond by Karan Gokani. Copyright © 2022. Available from Hardie Grant Publishing.

I ate these jackfruit cutlets while travelling with a group of our chefs from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, at a local Hela Bojun food court in Peradeniya. These food courts are run by the Ministry of Agriculture and are amazing spots to try local delicacies cooked by women entrepreneurs. I make them an obligatory pitstop on any routes we take across the country. There, the women rent a stall and showcase a dish or two each, all freshly cooked. They pay a nominal rent and take home all the remaining revenue. What a great model this is! Plus, as a tourist, it’s one of the few opportunities to experience true home-style food outside of someone’s house.

Like kids in a candy store we went around and tried one of each dish, and then some! The food was all exceptional, but this polos cutlet was a standout dish. The charming lady making it was kind enough to talk us through her recipe, which inspired us to create our own version, below.

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  • 300 grams (10½oz) raw jackfruit, fresh or canned (see note)
  • 1¼ teaspoons Pragati Turmeric
  • 1½ teaspoons Surya Salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground Aranya Black Pepper
  • 300 grams (10½ oz) potatoes, peeled and cut into 5cm (2in) cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for deep-frying
  • 5 centimeter (2in) piece Wild Cinnamon
  • 7.5 centimeter (3in) piece pandan leaf
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 100 grams (3½ oz) red onion (approx. 1 small onion), finely diced
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 12 – 15 curry leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Unroasted Curry Powder (recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon Roasted Curry Powder (recipe below)
  • ½ teaspoon powdered Byadgi Chillies
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 100 grams (3½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) water, approximately
  • 100 grams (3½ oz) panko breadcrumbs
Unroasted Curry Powder
Roasted Curry Powder
  • 25 grams (1 oz) Iniya or Baraka Green Cardamom
  • 5 grams (0.18 oz) Kanyan Cloves
  • 50 grams (1¾ oz) Wild Cinnamon, broken into pieces
  • 50 grams (1¾ oz) basmati rice
  • 150 grams (5½ oz) Nandini Coriander
  • 75 grams (2½ oz) Nagauri Cumin
  • 50 grams (1¾ oz) Hariyali Fennel
  • 10 grams (¼ oz) Sugandhi Fenugreek
  • 15 grams (½ oz) Aranya Black Pepper
  • 25 grams (1 oz) curry leaves or 10 grams (¼ oz) dried curry leaves
  • 15 grams (½ oz) pandan leaves or 5 grams (0.18 oz) dried pandan leaves


  1. If you’re using fresh jackfruit, peel it and cut into 5cm (2in) cubes. Place in a pan and cover with cold water. Add 1 tsp turmeric, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp ground black pepper. Cook until very tender, around 25 minutes, then drain and mash coarsely.
  2. Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a separate saucepan and cover with cold water. Season generously with salt, bring to the boil and cook for about 16 minutes until completely tender. Drain and allow to cool, then mash well.
  3. Preheat a heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat and add the 2 tbsp vegetable oil. Add the cinnamon and pandan leaf and fry for 30 seconds, then add the green chillies, onion, garlic and curry leaves. Continue to cook for 5 minutes until the onions are softening and translucent, then add the powdered spices and the remaining ½ tsp of black pepper and 1 tsp salt. Cook for 30 seconds to warm the spices, then add the jackfruit and cook for 5 minutes over a low heat, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from the heat and mix in the crushed potato and lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt if needed. Set aside and allow to cool.
  5. Divide the cooled mixture into 50g (1¾oz) portions and roll into balls between your hands. Combine the flour with enough water to make a thick batter, similar to the consistency of double (heavy) cream. Place the panko breadcrumbs in a food processor and blend briefly to create a finer texture, then transfer to a separate medium-sized bowl. Dip the balls into the batter, shake off any excess, then transfer to the bowl with the breadcrumbs and toss to coat completely.
  6. When ready to cook, preheat a deep-fryer to 170°C (340°F). Alternatively, fill a heavy-based pan two-thirds full of vegetable oil and set over a high heat. Cook the cutlets in batches for around 4 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels, season with salt and serve straight away.
For the unroasted curry powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 70°C (160°F). Spread all the ingredients on a large baking sheet and place in the oven for 1 hour, shaking the tray every 20 minutes.
  2. Leave to cool completely and grind to a fine powder in a blender or spice grinder. Pass through a strainer and grind any remaining large pieces. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.
For the roasted curry powder
  1. Heat a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Roast the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon in the dry pan, stirring frequently for 2–3 minutes until fragrant but being careful not to burn them.
  2. Add the rice and continue roasting for 12–14 minutes until nutty and light brown. Roast the remaining ingredients separately for 12–14 minutes, stirring constantly, until the leaves are dry and brittle.
  3. Leave to cool completely before grinding to a fine powder in a blender or spice grinder. Pass through a strainer and grind any remaining large pieces. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.

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