4 Reasons Jackfruit Is The Ultimate Meat Substitute

Jackfruit has a longstanding place in Asian cuisine, and over the past few years, it has become an important ingredient in the U.S. as well.

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June 1, 2017 3 min read

Jackfruit has a longstanding place in Asian cuisine, and over the past few years, it has become an important ingredient in the U.S. as well. When unripened, the fruit has a meat-like taste that has made it an integral part of curry dishes. Students working toward a culinary arts certificate online will find that’s only the beginning of the ways you can use jackfruit in the place of meat.

1. Chana masala

“Jackfruit has a long culinary history.”

While jackfruit is new to many U.S. food enthusiasts, the produce has a long culinary history. National Geographic shared a recipe from chef Hari Nayak that’s inspired by South Indian tradition.

The directions start with creating a coconut spice paste by heating a teaspoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan and cooking red chilies, coriander and cumin seeds for up to a minute. Add grated coconut and toast before removing the pan from heat to cool. Place the ingredients in a blender with tamarind paste and grind until smooth.

Boil two cups of water, adding turmeric, salt, chickpeas and diced jackfruit. Simmer until the fruit becomes tender, and then mix in the paste to cook another seven minutes. At the same time, warm up more oil, adding mustard seeds and crushed garlic. Pour the oil over the curry and serve over rice.

2. Barbecue sandwiches

One of the most popular ways to use jackfruit is to stand in for pulled pork. That’s the idea behind Minimalist Baker’s approach to barbecue sandwiches. Season the jackfruit with brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper and chili powder, and then cook in oil over a medium heat.

After two or three minutes, pour in barbecue sauce and water. Adjust heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat up to medium-high for another couple of minutes to achieve the best texture.

3. Burritos

Jackfruit’s similarity to pulled meat also makes it perfect for burritos, as in a recipe suggested by The Splendid Table. Saute garlic and onion in a skillet over medium heat before adding jackfruit with paprika, allspice, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Stir frequently as the fruit cooks for up to three minutes.

Pour in water, lime juice and sugar, and partially cover the skillet. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, checking for the liquid to mostly evaporate. Remove the cover and cook another minute or two. Meanwhile, prepare black beans by mixing with orange juice and salt and cooking over medium heat.

Spread the jackfruit mixture onto warm tortillas. Top with the beans, diced mango, sour pickle slices, tomato and cilantro.

4. Vegan noodle soup

Cooking Light advised using jackfruit in the place of chicken for a vegan take on classic chicken noodle soup. Start by sauteing garlic and onions in olive oil in a large pot. Then, add vegetable stock, shredded jackfruit, carrots, parsley, thyme, salt, black pepper and bay leaves to simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in rotini and cook another eight to 10 minutes, mixing in nutritional yeast and lemon zest before serving.

Students in culinary academy can find countless ways to put jackfruit to work as a substitute for meat. Find your own way to enjoy this unique fruit.

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