Curried jackfruit croquettes are a one-of-a-kind easy and delicious snack! A great vegan alternative to the classic Sri Lankan fish cutlets, but just as flavor-packed!
A popular appetizer in Sri Lanka, these Jackfruit cutlets / croquettes are perfect for snacking, and for parties!
Sri Lankan cutlets are legendary. They are an extremely popular snack/appetizer. Commonly called “short-eats” in the island, these appetizers are unavoidable at any party or gathering worth its salt. These are basically spicy, curried croquettes. The curried filling is usually a mixture of potatoes and a protein (typically fish, but occasionally chicken too). This mixture is rolled into balls (or ovals), dredged in an egg wash and breadcrumbs, and then fried until crispy.
Vegan or vegetarian cutlets are also common in Sri Lanka. Growing up, I used to come across these jackfruit cutlets / croquettes at religious events that featured vegetarian and vegan dishes, and they were just as unforgettable as the fish cutlets!
How to make curried jackfruit cutlets / croquettes
Making the filling
The filling for these vegan curried croquettes is made with,
- Jackfruit (I use canned jackfruit here, but fresh jackfruit also works),
- Potatoes (potatoes help to bind the mixture together. You can use sweet potatoes as well),
- Spices (I use a few different spices here to give the filling lots of great flavor).
The potatoes are first boiled, until soft.
Next, the jackfruit is drained from the can, rinsed, and chopped. Then the jackfruit is cooked in a pan, along with the spices, until softened. It’s important to cook out most of the liquid from the jackfruit.
Add the potatoes and mash it into the filling. Cook the filling for a few more minutes to allow excess water to evaporate.
If you’re using sweet potatoes instead, you may have to cook the filling longer to remove excess water. This is due to the higher moisture content in sweet potatoes.
Allow the filling to cool down completely (uncovered), and then roll the filling into 1 1/2 inch balls. The jackfruit croquette filling is now ready for the next step.
Dredging station for vegan jackfruit cutlets
Instead of the regular egg wash / dredge, here I use a mixture of water and flour as the coating, which will help the breadcrumbs stick in a smooth, even layer. This flour – water mixture shouldn’t be too thick, or create a thick flour coating. A thin layer of the flour water mix is ideal.
You absolutely should NOT use panko breadcrumbs for these croquettes. That’s because the flakes are larger with panko breadcrumbs, and these will not cover the cutlets smoothly. This will cause the jackfruit croquettes to split when fried. So to get an even, smooth coating, you need to use unseasoned, regular breadcrumbs that are smaller than panko.
Coat each potato and jackfruit croquette ball in the flour-water mix and then shake off the excess. Place this in the breadcrumb dish, and coat the whole ball with the breadcrumbs. Make sure the coating is even, with very few cracks (ideally no cracks). These cracks can open up while frying, causing the jackfruit cutlets to split, and that’s no good!
I personally prefer to dredge and coat the croquettes twice, for a thicker breadcrumb layer. This results in a crunchier coating!
Since the filling isn’t raw, these jackfruit croquettes only need to be fried until they’re golden brown, and heated through.
In a pot, heat some oil (at least 3 inches in height) until it reaches about 350 F / 180 C. Fry the jackfruit cutlets in the hot oil, until they turn golden brown in color. Move the croquettes in the oil to ensure even browning. The cutlets should brown in about 2 – 3 minutes, depending on size.
Place the fried jackfruit croquettes in a colander that is lined with paper towels to allow the excess oil to drain. They are best eaten while still a little hot or warm, and crispy!
Frequently asked questions
You can! You will need to use gluten free breadcrumbs, and gluten free flour (for the coating).
This usually happens because of moisture in the filling, and also if there are “weak spots” in the breadcrumb coating.
To prevent this, make sure to cook the filling well in order to remove as much of the moisture as possible, while still having a filling that binds well together.
Allow the filling to cool down, uncovered, to let moisture evaporate further. Mix the mixture as it cools down as well.
Coat each of the balls with two layers of breadcrumbs. Make sure the coating is even, with no cracks.
You can absolutely make these croquettes / cutlets with fresh jackfruit.
Chop the fresh jackfruit into smaller pieces, just as you would with canned jackfruit. You may need to add a little water to the fresh jackfruit to help the jackfruit cook through thoroughly until softened. The cook time will also be longer with fresh jackfruit.
Why I love this recipe
I loooove jackfruit. It’s one of the most versatile vegetables (or fruits – when it’s ripe) on the planet. It can soak up whatever flavor you add to it, and it also has such a delightful meaty texture. Check out my jackfruit curry for example.
But while there’s plenty of great things about jackfruit itself, I love these jackfruit cutlets, because I just love Sri Lankan cutlets / croquettes.
Sri Lankan cutlets / croquettes are an integral part of the Sri Lankan food culture. It’s safe to say that no party or gathering is complete without a plateful of these flavorful babies. They are spicy, meaty, and just so satisfying, for meat-lovers and vegans alike! I love making these, and eating these, any time, any day!
Sri Lankan Jackfruit Cutlets / Croquettes
- 300 g drained jackfruit about 1 large can
- ¾ tsp black mustard seeds
- ½ small onion finely diced (about ¼ cup)
- ½ tbsp finely minced garlic
- ½ tbsp finely minced ginger
- 2 green chili serrano or thai green chili, de-seeded and finely chopped
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp ground fennel
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp Sri Lankan curry powder
- Salt to taste
- 150 – 200 g boiled potatoes A little less than the amount of jackfruit
Dredging (flour mix and breading)
- 94 g flour about ¾ cup, measured by spoon and level method
- ¾ cup water
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Breadcrumbs, as needed at least 1 – 2 cups
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the potatoes until soft. Then remove the potatoes from the water, peel, and weigh out the required amount of potato.
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit pieces (from the large can) .
- Slice the jackfruit lengthwise, and then across to chop it.
- Finely dice the onion. Slice the green chili in half, remove the seeds, and then finely chop it. Mince the garlic and ginger.
- In a medium sized non-stick pan, heat about 1- 2 tbsp of neutral tasting oil or coconut oil, over medium heat.
- Once hot, add the mustard seeds, and stir until the mustard seeds start to pop. Immediately add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Saute until the onions start to soften.
- Add the green chili and spices, and mix for a few seconds.
- Add the jackfruit, and cook until the jackfruit is cooked through and the mixture is a little dry. This can take as little as 5 minutes or 10 minutes depending on the pan you use and the heat of the stove. Add salt to taste (you will need to add more once the potato is added).
- Add the potato and cook the mixture until the extra moisture in the potatoes has evaporated.
- It is OK to stir and mash the potato a little. Make sure the final mixture resembles lumpy mashed potato, that is a little dry.
- Let the mixture dry completely, uncovered, while mixing it from time to time as it cools.
- When the mixture has cooled down, roll portions of the mixture into balls that are about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Set aside on a plate.
Dredging and breading the cutlets
- In a bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Add enough of the water to create a flour mix that has a slightly thicker consistency than heavy cream, and has no lumps. Set aside.
- Place the breadcrumbs on a separate plate.
- Coat each of the cutlets in the flour water mixture, and then coat it in the breadcrumbs. Roll the cutlet in your hands to make breadcrumb layer as even as possible, with no visible cracks.
- Repeat the above process to create two layers of breadcrumb coating.
- Repeat with all the balls, and place them on a clean plate or on parchment paper.
Frying the cutlets
- Heat a large pot of oil (at least 3 inches in height) over medium or medium high heat, until the oil is about 350°F / 180°C.
- Fry the cutlets in the hot oil, taking care not to overcrowd the pot. The cutlets should brown in about 2 – 3 minutes (depending on the size). If the cutlets brown within 30 seconds, then the oil is too hot, and you may need to lower the heat to better manage how they fry.
- Remove the fried cutlets from the hot oil (once the cutlets are golden brown in color), and place them in a colander (lined with paper towels) to drain excess oil.
- Serve while warm and crispy.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”