Jackfruit is one of the food world’s cleverest sleights of hand. Raw, the fruit’s yellow lobes are hidden within a huge, spiky expanse; like a durian but larger and without the controversial pungency, jackfruit has a delicious, tropical sweetness.
But when it’s cooked down with onions, spices, and other savoury ingredients, jackfruit offers up an entirely different realm of culinary possibility. Famously, its cooked texture is so peculiarly reminiscent of pulled pork that it’s hard to believe you’re not eating meat, apart from a whisper of fruity sweetness. I especially like it with a Jamaican jerk-style preparation, here adapted from Bobby Flay. Hand to heart: even die-hard carnivores will likely find it irresistible.
It’s both the satisfying richness of this recipe, as well as that touch of tropicality, that helps it pair so well with the limited-edition Travel Notes IPA. Brewed as a collaboration between Leeds’s Northern Monk, Berkeley’s Fieldwork and Lonely Planet, this is an IPA with a globetrotting pedigree. Ingredients hail from five continents, from European-sourced malt to hops from North America and Oceania, from African mango to South American açai berries. The latter two additions lend the beer a subtle blush hue and a bit of sweetness; it’s fruit-forward and soft on the palate, but by no means shy and retiring.
To tie it all together, I topped the jerk-marinated jackfruit with a crisp and crunchy mango slaw that brings an extra dash of exotic fruit flavours, as well as some textural contrast. Vegan barbecue fare? This summer, you’ve got a reason to give it a go.
Jerk Pulled Jackfruit Buns with Mango Slaw
For the jerk pulled jackfruit:
2 spring onions, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
1 tbs fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs dark soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
3/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 small scotch bonnet pepper, stemmed and seeded
2 tbs olive oil 1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tbs tomato paste
200g fresh jackfruit, de-seeded
200ml vegetable stock
Blend the spring onions, garlic, ginger, thyme, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, spices, salt, pepper, lime juice and scotch bonnet in a food processor for 1-2 minutes, pausing to scrape down the bowl occasionally, until you have a rather thick and homogenous paste. Set aside.
To a large saucepan, add the olive oil and heat on medium-high until hot. Add the onion and stir frequently for 5-6 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute more. Add the reserved paste, your fresh jackfruit, and the vegetable stock, heating the mixture on high until it begins to boil. Turn down to medium-low heat and cover. Allow to simmer for 45 minutes, checking and stirring occasionally to make sure the mixture isn’t sticking, or until the jackfruit has almost completely broken down into fibrous pieces (you can nudge any larger pieces apart with your spoon). The liquid should be thickened; cook for a few minutes longer with the lid removed if it is still quite watery in consistency. Season with extra sea salt to taste.
While the jackfruit cooks, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Cover a large baking sheet with nonstick foil. Once your jackfruit has finished on the stove, spoon it onto the foil- covered baking sheet and spread out into a thin layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating and stirring halfway through, until the mixture has darkened and started to crisp at the edges. Texturally, it should have the same caramelised stickiness of pulled pork.
For the mango slaw:
Adapted from Feasting at Home
1/4 red cabbage, thinly sliced
100g mango, sliced into matchsticks
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
20g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
Zest and juice of one orange
1/2 tbs olive oil
Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Allow flavours to mingle for 10-15 minutes before serving. Note that this recipe makes more than required for two servings; it also works well as a nicely crunchy side salad.
2 large white baps
Extra handful fresh coriander
Spoon a heaping amount of the jackfruit onto each bap. Top with as much slaw as you can reasonably fit, as well as an extra handful of coriander for a bit of brightness.
Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and all-around lover of tasty things. When she's not cracking open a cold one, she's probably cooking up roasted lamb with hummus. Or chicken laksa. Or pumpkin bread. You can follow her at @clairembullen. Pick up a a can of Travel Notes in store or at our online shop.