Here’s a cool culinary ingredient to try if you haven’t yet had it.
Nutritious, exotic, and enormous, jackfruit is interesting and intriguing for a variety of reasons. It was probably one of the biggest vegan food trends last year because its texture (not flavor) is similar to pulled pork. Remember though, its a fruit. Jackfruit grows in tropical/sub-tropical climates and can grow up to 100 pounds. Last summer when I started experimenting with it, the smallest one I could find was a 36 pounder, the size of my four year old at the time! No doubt, the fresh fruit is an intimidating beast. It’s really sticky and A LOT of work to cut up. It has a bunch of pods that you have to deseed if you want to eat them. While it was interesting to get my own jackfruit to cut up, I’d recommend getting it from a can. You can find it at Asian grocery stores and even Whole Foods and Trader Joes (where I get mine, it comes in a green can). Make sure canned versions are the young green jackfruit that’s only in water or brine and doesn’t contain syrup or other sweeteners.
What’s nice about cooking with jackfruit is that you can easily give it whatever flavor you want it to take on. Here, I made it with BBQ spices. In my next post I’ll share a recipe for jackfruit tacos with more of a Mexican food flavoring.
BBQ Shredded Jackfruit Sandwiches
one can (20-ounce) of green jackfruit (in brine or water)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon olive oil, optional (can dry sauté instead)
1 small onion, diced
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 – 3/4 cup of your favorite barbecue (BBQ) sauce
Rinse and drain the jackfruit well. Place in a large bowl. Add spices (cumin-chili powder) to jackfruit and using a fork or a wooden spoon combine well and shred the jackfruit. Allow the jackfruit to sit and absorb the flavors for up to an hour or longer before cooking.
In a large sauce pan, heat onions in olive oil and cook until translucent. Add garlic, then jackfruit and cook until it starts to stick a bit. Add 1/4 cup BBQ sauce, mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve on a bun with coleslaw and/or other desired toppings.
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