Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Demistifying Jackfruit (Don't look away; it's NOT chicken!)

I'm going to start this post with a note to my good friend.

Remember when I was all "jackfruit carnitas!" and you were like, "meh"?
And I said, "no really, jackfruit!" and you were all, "not interested"?
And then I bought my can o' j-fruit and you pointedly suggested it sounded disgusting?

You have no idea how right you were.  This is what I found inside.  I know, right?  Total gag.

Seriously, what is this stuff?  People think tofu is gross?  Although, I did taste a tiny piece raw and it reminded me of a white bean, so that wasn't all bad.

The recipe I was using (Jackfruit "Carnitas" Tacos from The Urban Housewife) called for rinsing and then squeezing all the water out of the jackfruit pieces, which was a major gag.  Isn't this what dead chicken parts look like?

As I wasn't using a crockpot, I gamely (no pun intended) placed all of the rinsed and squeezed jackfruit into a a regular stovetop pot and shuddered.  I could only bring myself to season one side because I didn't want to touch it any more than absolutely necessary.

Once I'd roughly chopped the onions I was feeling a little better about the whole ordeal.

But the call for salsa verde should have been a sign; I don't really like tomatillos.

In lieu of a crockpot simmer, the recipe suggested simmering on a stovetop for 1-2 hours.  After 90 minutes it started to burn, but looked otherwise cooked.  Since I'd already eaten donuts for dinner In light of the abbreviated cooking time, I decided to let the the cooked jackfruit sit overnight in the fridge so that the flavors would have more of a chance to penetrate.

It's always nice when dinner is already prepared when you come home from work, but I have to admit that when I was re-heating it, the look of it was extremely off-putting.  Rather than the suggested soft tortillas, I decided to serve it on nachos; chips make most meals better.

Unfortunately, not this one.  So meaty; I really couldn't stomach it.  The seasoning went unnoticed; the texture alone was enough to turn me away from jackfruit forever.   But for all of you folks who like to duplicate the taste and texture of meat; this is for you.  To give you an idea of the authenticity, I was able to pass it off to my dad as a Mexican, pork, sloppy joe.  His only complaint?  Too spicy.  So there you have it; jackfruit: weird and "meaty".


Andrea said...

I had barbecued jackfruit in a restaurant (inside a sandwich) and it didn't seem as meat-like as you've portrayed here, but maybe that's because I didn't see it through all the stages of preparation. At least it's an actual fruit that transforms itself rather than a who-knows-what laboratory concoction. Kind of like the way spaghetti squash transforms into noodles, but not exactly. I can see why you were grossed out, but I may have to try this just to see how my omnivore friends and relatives react. :) It looks a little like soy curls, and I like those.

foodfeud said...

Very bizarre! I guess you are to be commended for even being turned off by the too-meaty texture. It certainly does look pretty, um, fleishig.

Abby Bean said...

Andrea- you're right; I shouldn't have glossed over how interesting it is. And it did cross my mind that it would have been better drenched in bbq sauce, but I really couldn't get around the texture. I'm sure you're going to whip up something perfect with it and I'll have to try again! P.S. I've never had soy curls; I think they're a west coast thing.

foodfeud- yes; I've never been into anything purposefully meaty (except I love my tofu pups), but I get that some people are & this is an extremely viable option!

Andrea said...

What? You like tofu pups but not jackfruit? But I get it. You don't like fruit, right? :) I didn't especially like my sandwich, but now you've got me wanting to try again.

Abby Bean said...

Now you've done it, Andrea. You're going to make me try it again. Note: buy the jackfruit in brine for savory dishes, in syrup for dessert (shudder).

My Vegan Gut said...


Total gag!

Southern Purple Veggie said...

Yea I have always not liked jack fruit for some reason.

ariela said...

i'm with my vegan gut! that does not look appetizing haha