Monday, September 23, 2013

Vegan Mofo #21 - Terry’s Sweet and Savory Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos...

Vegan Mofo #21 - Terry’s Sweet and Savory Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos  

The Region - Mexico
The Book - Vegan Eats World
The Author - Terry Hope Romero
The Recipe - Sweet and Savory Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos
Page # 105
Difficulty - Easy
Duration - About 1 hour and 30 minutes, or longer depending on how long you wish to marinate the Jackfruit for.

From India we move back to Mexico with Terry Hope Romero’s Sweet and Savory Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos. Jackfruit incase you haven’t heard is the new culinary darling of the vegan community. Over the past year and a half or so I’ve seen it pop up more and more in the blogesphere, magazines, and cook books. Literally everyone it seems is jumping on the jackfruit bandwagon. So what’s the big deal about Jackfruit? Well, texture and appearance really. When cooked and shredded Jackfruit bares an uncanny resemblance to pulled pork or shredded chicken, and texturally it’s got that juicy chewy texture. Taste wise canned Jackfruit isn’t anything to write home about, in fact it’s rather bland but the great thing about it is that similar to tofu it soaks up whatever you decide to marinate it in.

Jackfruit in Sauce on the Stove

As awesome as all that sounded it took me a really long time to get around to trying jackfruit for myself. This is because virtually all jackfruit recipes call for Canned jackfruit packed in water or brine, and the only jackfruit I could ever find in my local grocery was packed in syrup. This is a no-no especially for a savory recipe. It wasn’t until I went to Super H Mart that I found jackfruit packed in brine, but now I’ve found another source even closer to my house. So with several cans of jackfruit on hand I decided to give Terry’s delicious looking carnita’s taco recipe a try.

Originally I was a bit hesitant to include this recipe in Mofo because I didn’t think taco’s were ‘traditional’ enough, at this point they seem almost American. However after a little research I discovered that Tacos actually are a traditionally Mexican dish. They’ve been around since before the Europeans arrived, and the first documentation of a taco appeared in the writings of a Spanish Conquistador who discovered an indigenous population of Mexico eating tacos comprised of small fish. As it turns out a taco can pretty well be made of anything as long as it includes a corn tortilla rolled around some kind of filling.. As for Carnitas, well they’re basically taco’s but instead of using a ‘ground meat’ as non-vegan tacos do they use shredded fried meat simmered in sauce. Traditionally a Mexican carnita uses pork but I’ll stick to the jackfruit thank you very much.

Terry’s recipe is pretty ingenious. She uses ancho chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic sea salt, pineapple juice, water, tomato paste, chipotle peppers, onion powder, soy sauce, lime juice, molasses, liquid smoke, and bay leaves, to make her delicious sweet, smokey sauce. 20 oz of Jackfruit are then simmered in it for about an hour, before being fried in small batches. Personally after letting the jackfruit marinate, and after simmering for an hour I decided to skip the frying step because I was tried, hungry and didn’t feel like dirtying another pan - next time!

The filling is then scooped into corn tortillas - I used Terry’s home-made corn tortillas from Viva Vegan! As I always do now. - and garnished with pickled red onions - I used plain raw red onions - shredded green cabbage, tomatoes, and avocados. She also suggests drizzling her cashew yogurt sauce over the carnitas but I didn’t have the ingredients to make it and it wasn’t necessary anyway.

These tacos were super delicious, with great texture, and they were super filing. I’ll definitely make them again my only complaint is that I thought the sauce recipe made far more sauce then was needed for only 20 oz of Jackfruit. I think next time I’ll use 40 oz of Jackfruit because my mixture was extra saucy.

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