Why eat a dead pig when you can enjoy the experience of a pulled pork sandwich without using one? Jackfruit has been used in South East Asia for a really long time. A recent export to the west, it has become more common with the popularity of veganism and plant based diets. It’s a pretty odd fruit, and it has been used as a ‘mock meat’ in S.E.Asian curries for many years. Fresh, ripe jackfruit has quite a fleshy texture, and to me, tastes like a strawberry and pineapple hybrid – I am not very keen on it; but, young green (unripe) jackfruit has little flavour and is firmer, and quite fibrous, which is why it lends itself well to recreating ‘pulled’pork and chicken recipes.
It is unlikely that you will find fresh jackruit in most of the UK (I expect you’d have the highest chance of finding it in parts of London), and if you did, I wouldn’t be able to tell you how to ensure you had unripe jackfruit, so I always use tinned jackfruit. Tinned jackruit can be found at Chinese and asian supermarkets usually. You need the jackfruit which is in water or brine…the one in syrup isn’t going to work, and you need it to be ‘young green jackfruit’.
I like this pulled jackfruit in a toasted ciabatta with a load of BBQ sauce and some coleslaw, made using my vegan mayo. I go for carrot, red onion, red cabbage, spring onion and coriander in the slaw. Stick a pickle on the side too. Sometimes some crispy kale is another good addition – maybe some avocado too. I also think it would be good on nachos, with cashew sour cream, salsa, maybe some black beans.
For the jackfruit
- 3 tins young green jackfruit, drained, rinsed, patted dry.
- 2tbsp oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 100ml vegetable stock (made with 1 cube)
For the sauce
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted in a dry pan, then crushed
- 1/2tsp smoked paprika
- 55g dark brown sugar
- 50ml dark soy sauce
- 300ml shit poor tomato ketchup (buy the cheapest you can get)
- salt and pepper
- Slice the pieces of drained and dried jackfruit so that some of the core remains attached to outer part – I can’t describe this in words, so I will use a picture from the internet:
Keep the seeds in there too – waste nothing!
- Mix the ground cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, brown sugar together in a large bowl, then add the jackfruit and toss to coat it in the spice mix.
- In a large pan, sweat the onions in oil, gently, slowly, lovingly, until they are glossy, pale and sweet (I think this would take at least 20 minutes), then add the minced garlic, and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
- Turn up the heat, then tip the coated jackfruit in. Stir only occasionally. Make sure nothing catches, or it will taste shit.
- After 10 minutes, add the veg stock, and cook until this is reduced and the jackfruit is soft. Use a fork to move it around the pot, as this helps it to shred. Turn it down and let it cook slowly whilst you make the BBQ sauce.
Method for the BBQ sauce
- Gently fry the onion, garlic, chilli and toasted, ground fennel seeds in olive oil.
- Add the sugar, and stir to coat, letting it begin to melt.
- Add the soy sauce and ketchup and season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes to combine the flavours.
- Stir quarter of the BBQ sauce into the jackfruit, with a fork.
- I usually take the number or portions of jackfruit I am going to use and spread it over a metal baking tray and bake it in the oven for a bit, so some bits get dried and crisper than others, giving it more texture.
- Serve the jackfruit however you like (see above recommendation), with extra BBQ sauce for people to add!Kat x