What is jackfruit?
First of all, for anyone that doesn’t know what jackfruit is, it is a fruit that is often grown in tropical climates. Its the national fruit of Bangladesh and is also used in South India and South East Asia. When its ripe it is sweet like any other fruit and when its unripe it is green, fibrous and isn’t as sweet. Unripe jackfruit in recent years has been used to replicate the texture of pulled pork or braised chicken.
Making it meaty!
I have been experimenting with jackfruit as a meat replacement for a while now. I have noticed that there are some key steps in the preparing and the cooking of the jackfruit that can take the texture and the flavour to a different level. Here are my four tips!
1. Squeeze out excess liquid – Make sure to squeeze out the excess liquid of the jackfruit. I use the tinned and brined jackfruit which comes submerged in brine (salt water). If you cook with watery jackfruit its going to dilute the taste of the finished product, it will also prevent the jackfruit from caramelising which adds extra flavour and texture.
2. Don’t be shy with the oil! – Pulled pork and braised chicken have a lot of fat.. and fat enhances flavour.. So if we don’t fry the jackfruit with enough oil before we add our sauce or condiments its not going to have that rich, fatty flavour that meat, it may still taste nice, but it will likely not impress meat eaters as they will be missing the fat.
3. Caramelising the jackfruit – This step is related to the previous step; when you are cooking the jackfruit in oil you want to caramelise it. This means that you are cooking it at a relatively high temperature to get brown it (get it a bit cripsy too perhaps).
4. “SPICE SPICE BABY” – Spices add depth of flavour, especially when they are well caramelised. All vegan chefs needs to learn how to master the art of using spices… that tofu ain’t gonna season itself!!!!!
Spiced Pulled Jackfruit
I’ve been meaning to share a jackfruit recipe like this for a while.. I created this one just this morning and I have to say OM-GOLLY-GOSH, it is ABSOLUTELY BANGIN’!
I have to say, It does require perhaps buying some new ingredients, but thats just an opportunity to discover new condiments and seasonings to take your plant based cooking to the next level!
Okay, heres the recipe.
*Jackfruit has a hard core which isn’t nice to chew on, so I remove it)
250g jackfruit (*hard core removed, ripped into smaller chunks and excess water squeezed out)
25g ñora paste/carne de ñora (replace with tomato puree if you can’t find ñora)
5g cornstarch (2 tsp)
15g tamari (1 tbsp)
4-5 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp pink himalayan salt
3 tsp panela (a healthier sugar)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1. Heat up a frying pan on medium to high heat, adding 3 tbsp of oil. Once the oil is hot add the jackfruit and cook until its slightly crispy and lightly browned (around 4 minutes).
2. Bring down the heat to medium, add the paprika, cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper and garlic powder and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously to prevent the spices from burning, add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil now!
3. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl with a whisk or in a blender and then add to the frying pan (then lower the heat to medium/low), it will be watery at first but within 3 or 4 minutes the liquid will reduce and thicken into a sticky sauce.
How you should have a pan of sticky, smoky, sweet jackfruit ready to use in sandwiches, burritos, tacos, ON PIZZA?!?!?! wherever you want really! 😛
I used the filling to make burritos with my sunflower seed mozzarella, some rocket leaves, grated carrot and some caramelised onion.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, let me know how you get on in the comments!