I first heard about jackfruit about a year ago when I was starting to research vegan recipes and knew it was something I had to try. After a bit of hunting, I finally managed to secure a few cans of the stuff and turned them into shredded “chicken” tacos, and boy was it weird. Not weird bad, but weird really, really good. The texture is strangely similar to pulled pork or shredded chicken, and the fruit has a mild, slightly sweet flavor that soaks up any spices you throw its way.
So now, naturally, I’m a bit obsessed with this strange Asian fruit. It’s hugely popular in the vegan community at the moment, and people use it to make all types of meat free dishes – tuna melts, bbq sandwiches, enchiladas…. the options are endless. But my favorite is still the humble taco. (no real big surprise there – considering my Southwestern heritage ;).
The jackfruit is simmered in a spicy Mexican-spiced tomato sauce until the fruit really soaks up the flavor, and is paired with zingy quick picked onions and cooling guacamole. I also like to serve them with some rice and beans topped with coriander, lime and hot sauce. To me that is just the ultimate Mexican feast.
Jackfruit can be tough to come by if you don’t live in a big city, but if you’re lucky like I am, you can find it at any local Chinese supermarket. Just make sure you buy it packed in brine and not syrup, as that would dramatically change the flavor of the dish!
Ingredients (makes around 8 tacos)
For the jackfruit filling
- 2 x 565g cans of jackfruit packed in brine
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large white onion, thinly sliced in half moons
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon chipotle paste
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- Juice of one lime
- Salt to taste
- Pinch of chilli powder (optional)
For the pickled onions
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced in half moons
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 8 mini tortillas, shop bought or homemade (recipe here)
- Fresh coriander
- Lime wedges
- To make the pickled onions, add all the ingredients apart from the onion to a pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the onion and quickly boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Once the onion has cooled slightly, transfer to a glass bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit thoroughly. Using two forks, shred the jackfruit so the stringy bits come away from the tougher core. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large sauce pan on medium heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook until translucent, around 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and continue to cook for around 1-2 minutes, making sure not to let the garlic burn.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except for the lime juice. Bring everything up to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue to cook until the sauce has reduced and thickened, around 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice.
- Serve the pulled jackfruit with warm tortillas, guacamole, pickled onion, coriander and salsa and enjoy!