--- Discover jackfruit 'no-fish cakes' and more vegan eats in Living on the Veg, Mondays 7.30pm on SBS Food and then SBS On Demand ---
Jackfruit is like the chameleon of the food world, starring equally well in a sweet dessert as it does in a hearty burger.
The different uses reflect that fact that the world's largest fruit can be used at various stages of the ripening process. It's understandably popular with vegans because its mild flavour and hearty texture partway through ripening means it can form the heart of many savoury dishes. Fully ripe, jackfruit becomes sweet and softer, perfect for indulgent desserts.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Young jackfruit salad with tofu
This canned jackfruit recipe, from Luke Nguyen's Vietnam, is full of flavour but so easy and fast: chop and slice the ingredients, stir up a sauce and toss it all together, and it's ready in 15 minutes!
Warm young jackfruit salad
In this warm Thai salad recipe, Luke Nguyen uses fresh young jackfruit, although you can substitute canned young jackfruit. Serve with sticky rice for a warm, comforting meal.
Pulled jackfruit rolls
"It’s smoky, it’s sweet, it’s spicy," says Spencer Watts of his jackfruit burger: like a vegetarian version of pulled pork, in a DIY barbecue sauce. Watts creates the hint of smokiness by making a simple smoke pouch to use while cooking the jackfruit on a barbecue.
This recipe comes from Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, the duo behind the BOSH! cookbooks, website and YouTube channel, and the hosts of Living on the Veg. Dip the subtly spicy golden cakes in the fresh zingy dipping sauce and see why they love this way of cooking up jackfruit. "Jackfruit is a great ingredient to use as a replacement for meat because of its fibrous texture. We’ve used it in loads of recipes – our one tray roast dinner, braised jackfruit chilli and BBQ jackfruit mac and cheese are also all delicious," the pair say when SBS chats to them about this versatile fruit.
Young jackfruit curry
Use fresh jackfruit or canned young jackfruit for this fragrant Sri Lankan curry.
This grown-up version of the banana split, from Peter Kuruvita, combines banana, whipped cream and ice-cream with jackfruit, peanut toffee and a sweet mulled wine reduction!
Caramel banana spring rolls (turon)
Another sweet pairing for jackfruit and bananas, these crunchy, golden Filipino pastries are easy and indulgent and can be made with fresh or canned jackfruit.
The version of the popular Filipino dessert pictured below (recipe here) includes purple yam ice-cream, pandan jelly, leche flan cubes, bananas, jackfruit and evaporated milk - with a cherry to top things off. It's stunning but if you're short on time (it needs to be started a day ahead of serving) try this version, which is ready in under two hours (most of it chilling time).
Breadfruit is native to the Pacific islands. It has a green skin and its flesh is pale and starchy. It is used in both savoury and sweet recipes.
Grilled pineapple is so delicious! Its sweet acidity balances out the salt and chilli in this summery savoury fruit salad.
This is a very quick way of preserving zest – the process is sped up because you are using just the pared zest, not the pith. It is one of those things you will not be able to stop eating – the flavour is intense and, if you add the citric acid, mouth-numbingly addictive. I use it as a garnish, or simply as a sweet (there is always a tub of these on my kitchen worktop). I will also finely chop it or blitz it to a powder to sprinkle or to give a sherbety hit.
Yuzukosho is a Japanese condiment made from very finely chopped yuzu zest and chilli. It’s hot, salty, very sour but with floral notes coming through that really lift it. I have found that you can use the same principles and adapt them to other kinds of chilli and citrus.
I have a number of souvlaki recipes on the blog, Souvlaki For The Soul: salmon souvlaki, swordfish souvlaki and lamb souvlaki. So I thought one more can’t hurt! Here, pork is marinated in a dry rub of smoked Spanish paprika, ground fennel and a touch of cumin, with an added finish of coriander and freshly squeezed lime juice, and a refreshing salsa that complements the spiciness of the souvlaki perfectly. Think of this as a nice Tex-Mex and Greek marriage! Serve with a nice cold beer and enjoy.
It might be more unusual to see fruit instead of vegetables in a pickling liquid, but we pickle lots of fruit and find the vinegar offsets its sweetness beautifully.