What Is Jackfruit?
If you’re not familiar with jackfruit, it’s a large fruit that’s thought to be indigenous to India, and today grows in tropical regions such as Southeast Asia and Brazil. It can be purchased frozen in its ripe, sweet form and used in dessert recipes or smoothies, or you can find it in its young green, unripe form packaged in cans.
Young green unripe jackfruit has the texture of a stringy, pulled meat but doesn’t actually taste anything like meat on its own; in fact, it tastes more like artichokes!
But much like tofu, jackfruit takes on the flavor of whatever sauce, marinade or spices you’re cooking it with, making it an incredibly versatile meat substitute and an obvious choice for tacos, sandwiches, salads and wraps.
Canned jackfruit is available at most Asian grocery stores, well-stocked grocery stores with a natural foods focus (such as Whole Foods), Trader Joe’s, or Amazon.
How to Prepare Your Jackfruit?
Be sure to buy canned unripe, green or young jackfruit for this recipe. (Ripe jackfruit is sweeter and has a different texture; it won’t work in this recipe.)
After removing it from the can, give the pieces of jackfruit a good rinse to remove that briny, salty flavor.
Next, shred your jackfruit before starting to cook. Take the larger canned chunks and simply use your fingers or a fork to shred them, much like you would pulled pork or pulled chicken—or canned tuna, which it loosely resembles.
If you’ve got little bits of the core on some of the chunks, don’t worry about those; you can leave them as they are or give them a quick chop with a kitchen knife. They’re edible as well, and you won’t even notice them once you cook the fruit down.
This recipe will make 8 servings and it's very easy to make. Healthier option to your usual tacos- here's how to make it:
Ingredients (Makes 8 tacos)
2 tablespoons of preferred oil (I used Peanut oil)
1 small onion , finely diced
3-4 cloves garlic , minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste or 1 finely chopped tomato
2 14 oz cans young jackfruit in water or brine. Rinsed and drained well
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon salt , more to taste
¾ cup vegetable broth
8 Corn tortillas
Start by shredding the jackfruit in a food processor. Pulse a few times to get a "shredded meat" texture. Don't over pulse or it will be mushy. If you have a small food processor, you may need to work in batches. If you don't have a food processor, you can cut the jackfruit into thin slices and shred some by hand.
If you have canned jackfruit- its easier to shred it or you can get shredded jackfruit too.
Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Now add the tomato paste and cook for 30-60 seconds more.
Add the shredded jackfruit and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Now add the spices and sauté until fragrant about 1 minute.
For finer texture, as your jackfruit is cooking, use your spoon to mash the jackfruit into smaller pieces, or use two forks to shred the jackfruit as it cooks down. This will create a more realistic “meat-like” texture.
Pour in the vegetable broth and cook until the liquid has cooked down completely about 3-4 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more if needed. Remove from heat.
Warm up your corn tortillas one at a time in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 30 seconds on each side. Now build tacos to your taste. See notes for serving ideas. Enjoy!
Assemble the tacos:
Warm the tortillas and add a large spoonful of cooked jackfruit to the center of each. Top with avocado, radishes, cilantro, cabbage, corn, sour cream and a squeeze of lime.
Does jackfruit taste like meat?
The jackfruit texture is not dissimilar to a banana, mango, or pineapple in terms of being dense and fibrous. But the taste is quite distinctive. Some say it's sweet, and some say a jackfruit has a flavor similar to pulled pork, especially when cooked.
Why is jackfruit good for you?
Antioxidants. Carotenoids, the pigments that give jackfruit its yellow color, are high in vitamin A. Like all antioxidants, carotenoids protect cells from damage and help your body work right. They may help prevent diseases like cancer and heart disease, as well as eye problems like cataracts and macular degeneration.