The mighty jackfruit, and why you should be using it…
Date: 23-11-2018 published by Nick Baines
This south Indian wonder fruit is the current darling of the vegetarian food world, but is also making big waves within carnivorous crowds. From bustling street food traders, to table clothed restaurants, this hearty fruit is flexing its versatility in dishes both sweet and savoury.
Today the jackfruit can be found growing throughout south east Asia and South America and can clock in at a whopping 30kg, making it the largest tree borne fruit on the planet. Within the giant green spikey orb you’ll find yellow seed pods covered in a sticky sap. The flavour has been described as being a cross between pineapple and pear. It’s perhaps its pineapple acidity that gives this ingredient such a diverse number of uses, and the ability to pair well with everything from chilli to cheese.
What’s most interesting about jackfruit is how it mimics the texture of pulled pork perfectly. This has led to an onslaught of burritos, tacos and faux barbecue, with little to no compromise on flavour. Used in place of a shredded lamb shoulder, pulled pork shoulder, or slow braised beef, the strands of jackfruit deliver an unmistakably meaty texture. As the vehicle for slow cooked sauces, it manages to deliver a robust structure and brings chefs a vegan meat alternative without the need for processed fake meat like Quorn or any of the new processed alternatives being released into the market.
However, to achieve the true pulled pork texture you’ll need to make sure to use under-ripe jackfruit. Younger fruit has tighter flesh and retains a little more firmness, which results in the fibrous texture we seek in meat. Although jackfruit is more closely associated with the vibrant cuisine of south east Asia, when used as a meat substitute it works seamlessly in middle eastern, Mexican and European foods as well and allows you to offer vegan alternatives to a dish without having to compromise on the structural integrity and appearance on the plate.
Fluffy steamed bao buns found in Taiwan and parts of China are a boming street food trend are most often come filled with pork. While these hand held snacks are becoming popular among street food and fast casual food outlets, the introduction of pulled jackfruit is giving them an even broader appeal and allowing food operators to improve customer retention at a time when veganism is sharp on the rise.
Using jackfruit effectively can be a powerful choice in the kitchen. With diet choice playing such an integral role in customer decisions, it’s now more important than ever to cater for wide and varying intolerance. By embracing ingredients like the jackfruit, you can not only breathe vegetarian life into well-known classics from across the globe, but explore new possibilities with this underutilised giant of the produce world.
Get in touch with us at Fresh Direct today and start experimenting with some of the best quality jackfruit available. Give us a call and we’ll get some added to your order.
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