My pescatarian housemate has been craving duck pancakes, so when we heard about jackfruit – a fruit that is native to Southern China and Southeast Asia which has the consistency of pulled pork or crispy duck when baked – we had to give it ago. We decided to use a sauce recipe inspired by a dish our other housemate made earlier this week, when she created a Chinese-themed feast in honour of the Lunar New Year (she is an expert on Chinese food after living with a family in China on her gap year).
I tweaked a few ingredients of the original recipe to make it easier, and a bit more nutritious, but no less tasty. This recipe is vegetarian, free of refined sugar, and if you use a gluten free soy sauce, such as tamari, it is completely gluten free, but those who are only a bit sensitive to wheat may be okay with soy sauce. If you are vegan you could use agave syrup instead of honey.
Jackfruit is high in Vitamin B6, which is mainly found in animal products, and helps you absorb proteins – so it is great for vegans and vegetarians who don’t usually get a lot of B vitamins. It’s sold in cans in brine for £1.15 in Taste of the Orient, the Asian supermarket on Vicar Lane, or from Sing-Kee Oriental Supermarket on Woodhouse Lane; just make sure you don’t buy it in syrup by accident, as it’s sold this way to be used in desserts!
We had them with rice and Chinese pancakes, sushi wraps and crispy seaweed that we bought from Sing-Kee, which I would highly recommend.
Serves 4 people.
For the jackfruit:
2 tins of jackfruit in brine
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
2 tbsp of any flour (I used buckwheat)
1.5 tbsp coconut oil, ghee or butter (or oil of choice – these fats are just better for making things crispy)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Chunk of ginger (about half a thumb-size), finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp peanut butter
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 tbsp cornflour
200ml hot water
2 spring onions, chopped into matchsticks
¼ of a cucumber, chopped into matchsticks
A packet of Chinese pancakes and/or enough cooked rice for 4 people
 Heat the oven to 200 degrees/gas mark 6. Drain and rinse the jackfruit in a sieve, then dry it a bit by putting it on some kitchen roll or a tea towel. Put the jackfruit in a bowel and coat it with the 5 spice and flour. Spread it out on a tray lined with foil and greased with ½ a tablespoon of oil, and bake for 30 mins, mixing it around halfway through.
 After 30 minutes, take the jackfruit out of the oven and shred it with two forks so it looks a bit like shredded meat, then put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
Mix the peanut butter, soy, vinegar and honey in a small bowl or mug.
 Once the jackfruit is cooked, heat the rest of the oil in a pan and add the garlic, ginger, chili and spring onion.
 When these are cooked, but not yet browned (which should only take a minute or so) add the jackfruit with the peanut butter, soy, vinegar and honey mix, and then add the cornflour.
 Mix to coat the jackfruit, before adding in the 200ml hot water.
Keep stirring for a couple of minutes until the sauce has thickened and become sticky.
Serve each portion in a couple of pancakes or on top of rice, and garnish with spring onion and cucumber matchsticks and some more soy sauce or sweet chilli sauce if you fancy.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia.