Jackfruit only came onto my radar last year. It’s been touted as the darling of the vegan world because it has the consistency and texture of shredded meat. For someone who has recently converted to a plant based diet, this can be more comforting, then say looking at a block of tofu. Eating is about the visual, as well as scent and taste. I’m not sure why as vegans we need to simulate meat anything, except that it brings comfort to those who are leaving the carnivore life behind.
I’m about flavor, texture, and color. I ask the question: will it provide proper nutritional balance? And what else can I make out of this food.
Jackfruit doesn’t wield much protein. Sure it’s high in fiber, but it needs to be surrounded with something that will boost the nutritional value of the meal. This is probably why I hadn’t looked closely into this fruit to add into our diet. Protein comes in the form of legumes. We eat a lot of beans and rice for our protein intake.
I decided that it was time to venture into the realm of this hearty South Asian food. It comes canned, in brine, syrup, or water. I think I saw it fresh once, but I haven’t quite worked up the courage to cook it from scratch yet.
This experiment was to make something similar in flavor to carnitas. Carnitas have a very specific flavor profile because of the fat content. That usually gets burned off in stages of the cooking process leaving the flavor intact. One of the things I do cook well are carnitas. I’ve got it down. I made probably two thousand carnitas tacos on my last job. Duplicating flavor wasn’t a problem. Fat content was.
Once I slow cooked the jackfruit, I got it cooled down, then pulled it. It certainly looked like what I read it would look like. And I got the flavor almost right. The olive oil provided the fatty pleasure. The finished product is missing one or two points that I will be addressing over the next few weeks. The spouse, the beneficiary of my culinary experiments, decided this was a good and tasty food to keep in the meal-time rotations.
I addressed the protein issue by cooking some quinoa, and making jackfruit and quinoa wraps. I provide both recipes for you try. If you can’t find canned jackfruit in your local market, it is available through various outlets online. Just remember, use the jackfruit packed in brine or water.
- 1 orange sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 3 or 4 peppercorns
- 4 or 5 pieces of flat cinnamon stick
- 2 cans young jackfruit in brine
- 3 or 4 garlic cloves
- 1 onion, julienne
- 1 ½ cups olive oil
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
- Place the sliced oranges, bay leaves, mustard seed, peppercorns, and cinnamon in a satchel made of muslin or cheesecloth. If using cheesecloth, criss-cross the layers up to four layers so the mustard seeds don’t fall out.
- Drain the jackfruit. Put everything into a slow cooker. Cook for 6 to 8 hours on low.
- Take everything out of the slow cooker, discard the satchel. Cool down so that you can handle the fruit.
- Shred the jackfruit. It should just fall apart.
- Use for tacos, burritos, make into mole, or smother in red chili and serve with beans and rice.
- ¼ cup cooked quinoa
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- ½ red bell pepper, small dice
- ½ green bell pepper, small dice
- ¼ red onion, small dice
- 1 tbsp chopped garlic
- ¼ cup tomatillo sauce
- Pinch of cumin
- Pinch of coriander
- Pinch of salt
- Heat up a saute pan and add the sunflower oil.
- Once it is hot, add in the peppers and onions. Saute until they start to get soft and translucent. Add in the garlic, cumin and coriander. Cook for a minute or two more.
- Remove from heat, salt to taste. Pour in the tomatillo sauce.
- Serve with pulled jackfruit, and as a filling for any other wrap or burrito.
- You’ll notice a lack of chilies in this recipe. The tomatillo sauce has the heat.