food and wineIssue 27

In Season: Jackfruit

By Noel Daniel

Native to South and Southeast Asia, the Jackfruit is a bouquet of a flavors ranging from apple, pineapple, mango and banana and has been used to prepare both savory and dessert dishes.

The flesh of the fruit is starchy and a great source of fiber and has countless culinary uses. In fact, according to Pinterest, the fruit is set to trend in 2017 thanks to its uses as a meat substitute and its abundance of protein, vitamin B, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium.

Vegans all over love the shredded beef/pork substitute, slathering it in barbeque and using it in ciabattas, tacos, and nachos. The real possibilities of the jackfruit are endless, however, and we think some of its best recipes call back to its roots.

Kerala, India, for example, makes a mean jackfruit curry that we just had to include in our recipes. There’s also a sweet preparation called chakka varattiyathu or “jackfruit jam” that’s made by seasoning the varikka variety of jackfruit in jaggery.

We’re also fond of Thailand’s use of the flexible fruit—particularly its role in the sago, jackfruit, and coconut milk dessert we found. As the days get warmer, we foresee a good many bowls of this colorful treat in our future. Thailand will also cut, prepared, and can jackfruit in a sugary syrup to be exported to North America and Europe—which is lucky for us.

The Philippines also make good use of jackfruit, called “langka” in Tagalog and nangkà in Cebuano. If you’ve ever had lumpia, then you might want to give the Filipino turon a try as it features ripe turon. The Philippines’ hot summers also see the popularity of halo-halo—called “salvation” by NPR writer Wilma B. Consul who grew up in the Philippines and bought the “manna” from the nearby corner carinderia.

Halo-halo is made with any variation of jackfruit, red and black monggo, indigenous bananas, coconut jelly, palm fruit, yams, sago, agar, and pinipig. Anyone who tells you gummy bears belong in it needs to try the genuine article. There’s no contest.

And Maharashtra, India has yet another sweet jackfruit treat, made with the juice of the barka variety. The juice is spread on a greased metal dish, then sun-dried until a dried, jackfruit-juice pancake called phanas poli remains.

No matter how you prepare it, jackfruit has a way of being delicious. It might be a little hard to get ahold of—but it’s worth it.


JACKFRUIT KERALA CURRYIngredients:

Raw Jackfruit (cubed)
¼ tsp turmeric powder 1 tbsp coriander seeds 1 tsp cumin seeds
8-10 cloves
3-4 dried red chillies 1 inch ginger
8-10 garlic cloves
½ cup scraped coconut 1 tbsp tamarind pulp
4 tbsp coconut oil
2 green chillies
1 tsp mustard seeds
20-25 curry leaves
1 cup chopped onions 1 cup fresh tomato puree

Directions:

1. Add jackfruit cubes, salt and turmeric powder to a large non-stick pan filled with water, then cover and cook. Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and cloves in a small non-stick pan. Break red chillies, remove seeds, and put into a mortar and pestle. Then add ginger, garlic cloves, roasted spices, coconut, tamarind pulp and a little water. Grind into a smooth paste.

2. Heat coconut oil in another non-stick pan. Slit green chillies. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves to the hot oil and let the seeds simmer. Add onions and saute till golden. Add green chillies and tomato puree and continue to saute till oil separates.

3. Drain the jackfruit cubes from the water and add to the second pan and mix. Add ground paste and mix well. Rinse the mortar and pestle with 1 cup water and add to the pan and mix well. Adjust salt. Cover and cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Serve hot with rice or chapatti.


PANDAN SAGO WITH JACKFRUIT AND COCONUT MILKIngredients:

1 cup sago balls
3 cups water
1 cup jackfruit, sliced ¾ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
2 cup coconut milk
1 cup coconut cream Crushed ice for garnishing

Directions:

1. Bring water to boil and add sago balls. Let it boil for two minutes and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

2. In a small saucepan, cook coconut milk, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Stir until all sugar is dissolved. Coconut milk should be hot but not boiling.

3. Add half of coconut cream and stir well. Remove from heat, and let the syrup cool down.

4. Place cooked sago balls in the dessert bowl, add jackfruit slices
and crushed ice. Pour on coconut milk syrup, then top with more coconut cream.

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