Recipe & Photo by Sophie Mackenzie WHOLEHEARTED EATS
We recently got back from a weekend trip to the island to find ourselves with an empty fridge and very little in the way of groceries. Often on days like this we opt for pantry heavy dishes like spaghetti or red lentil dahl. But with the thermostat pushing 30° C, the desire to stand over a stove and cook is non existent. Digging through the canned goods and dried beans searching for sometime to make, I came across a discounted can of jackfruit Adam had picked up at neighbourhood market and knew just the thing we were having for supper.
To say we are a big taco eating family would almost be unjust. Tacos are something we eat weekly, sometimes 5 out of 7 days a week if we’re on a roll. Adam will often spend an entire Sunday making up a big batch of mole to serve at one of our communal potluck dinners. Friends will bring homemade salsa, and tortillas, and I’ll make up a batch of these vegan jackfruit carnitas for myself and our vegetarian friend. We’ve even served this dish to our meat eating friends without telling them and they’ve been none the wiser.
Jackfruit is an amazing fruit, and despite it’s similar appearance to durian it has a neutral flavour that lends itself amazingly well to spices. While you can purchase it whole as a fresh fruit, it is difficult to process, so I often opt for the cans instead (plus they make a great pantry item). You should be able to find cans of the organic variety in most natural food stores (and I’m pretty sure Trader Joe’s carries it too), but if money is an issue, most Chinese grocers sell conventional cans for around $1. Just be sure you’re buying the type in water and not heavy syrup.
What I love most about this dish is how pantry heavy it is. Besides the avocado, cilantro, and lime, most ingredients will often be kept on hand. Plus, it’s one of those set it and forget it meals that takes 40 minutes to cook with only ten minutes of actual work. If you don’t have time to make pickles (or they’re not your thing), sautéing up some frozen (or fresh) corn, zucchini, and garlic with a little salt makes for a delicious veggie component.
PREP TIME: 10 -15 Min
COOKING TIME: 30 -40 Min
DIETARY CONSIDERATION: Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Sugar Free, Dairy Free, Gluten Free
1 (398 ml) can jackfruit in water (not in syrup)
4 tsp. coconut oil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
scant 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 medium onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 an orange
1 cup beer or veggie broth
1-2 tbsp. minced chipotle in adobo (use 1 tbsp. which will be 1 pepper and sauce for mild-medium, and 2 tbsp or 2 peppers and sauce for hot)
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
2 tsp. honey or maple syrup
1/4 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
Quick pickled carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, and shallots for serving (optional but delicious)
Avocado, Warm corn tortillas, Cilantro, Lime
Begin by rinsing the jackfruit well. Next, shred it until it looks like pulled meat. You can remove the seeds if you like (I know a lot of people don’t like their texture), but I don’t find them to be problematic.
Next, combine the oregano, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, coriander, and garlic powder in a bowl along with the shredded jackfruit. Toss to coat everything in the spice mixture.
Heat a medium heavy bottom frying pan to medium-low. Add 2 tsp. of coconut oil and the onion. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and let cook for another minute.
Next, place the jackfruit in the frying pan along with the orange juice, beer or broth, chipotles, and tomatoes. Cover and turn down to low. Let simmer for 20-25 minutes.
After 25 minutes have passed, add the remaining 2 tsp. coconut oil and honey. Turn the heat up to medium and let the extra moisture evaporate and get a few crispy bits on jackfruit. This should only take 2 minutes or so.
To serve, heat up some tortillas. Add a big dollop of jackfruit on each tortilla along with some pickles, cilantro, avocado, hot sauce, and lime.