Sunday, May 19, 2013

Jackfruit Chipotle Tacos

I know many of you will say "jackfruit" what the "bleep" is jackfruit? Here's what jackfruit looks like growing on a tree and the fruit itself. They are HUGE!

Really want to know what jackfruit is, check this out: What is Jackfruit?

The first time I saw jackfruit was in Thailand. There were trees at a wildlife sanctuary we visited and the guide pulled one off the tree and gave it to one of the Sun Bears! It was also the first place I tried jackfruit (not the one the bear got!). 

A lot of vegans, vegetarians, etc. use unripened jackfruit as a meat substitute. In its unripened state it shreds and is great for many different types of dishes, but lends itself especially well as a substitute for chicken and pork in Mexican dishes. I love Mexican food, maybe because I grew up in SoCal. Any cuisine that uses cilantro, cumin, salsa, avocado, and chili peppers is okay in my book! 

So I hadn't gone to the store recently, but I did stop at the huge Asian market the other day to specifically find canned unripened (green) jackfruit. I finally found it in brine. If using jackfruit as a non-desert dish,  you need the unripened kind in either water or brine. Don't use the jackfruit in syrup as that is ripe jackfruit and should be used in deserts. 

Because it was in brine, I soaked it in water and rinsed it well to remove as much of the brine as possible. 

So I decided on Jackfruit Chipotle Tacos with a few modifications, since I was lacking a few things (only had whole grain tortillas, not corn; only had canned mild hatch chilies not chipotle peppers in adobo sauce; my avocado was! 

Jackfruit Chipotle Tacos (can do these as burritos too!). 

In a bowl put: 
1  20oz can of drained, rinsed jackfruit in brine
Shred the jackfruit, you can do some by hand and other using a knife, put it in a bowl and set aside. 

In a small bowl put: 
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. onion powder
dash of Himalayan sea salt
Mix the above seasonings (from chili powder to sea salt) together and then add it to the shredded jack fruit and mix well to coat jackfruit. 

In a large saucepan add: 
3/4 cup veg broth
1/2 cup water
1 TBS. tomato paste
1 canned chipotle chili in Adobo, chopped [substitution: 1 4 oz. can Hatch mild green chilies (drain and rinse well)]
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 TBS. Bragg's Aminos (or use 1 TBS. low-sodium soy sauce, nama shoyu, or tamari (gluten-free)
2 TBS. fresh lime juice
1 TBS. maple syrup
Mix all the above items together and then add the shredded, seasoned jackfruit to the large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, partially cover the saucepan and cook for about 45 minutes. 

At this point, you still have liquid in the saucepan and you don't want your tacos to be soggy, so take the jackfruit and sauce and cook over medium-high heat in a skillet, sauteing it until most of the liquid is gone and the edges of the jackfruit start to brown a bit. I don't saute in oil and did this step in my cast iron skillet, no extra liquid or oil needed. Worked out great. 

For the Tacos: 
5-6 corn tortillas (I used whole grain since I was out of corn, but I'd normally stick with corn!)
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, sliced (or you could use freshly made guacamole)
Fresh salsa - for this recipe, to cool the chipotle spice I used Trader Joe's papaya mango salsa. You could also make and use a pineapple mango salsa or regular salsa. 
Cashew Sour Cream - recipe below, I don't like the commercial vegan sour creme products because they are full of oils and other icky stuff! 
You can also add other taco toppings that you might like on your tacos. 

Assemble the tacos putting the jackfruit in the middle of the tortilla and adding your toppings. I usually do the cashew sour cream next, then the salsa, cilantro and avocado. 

Cashew Sour Creme: 

1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk (I use this just for cooking and use the Westsoy brand, organic unsweetened)
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
pinch of sea salt

Soak 1 cup of raw cashews for a minimum of 1 hour, preferably you'd do this overnight or at least for 4 hours, but if you are in a hurry you can do an hour. Dump off the soaking water and rinse the cashews well. 
Put the cashews in a blender (I either use my VitaMix or my little magic bullet blender). 
Add the soymilk, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and salt. Blend until very smooth. Refrigerate (this will help make it thicker). If it ever gets too thick, just add a little more soymilk. 

This was ABSOLUTELY delicious and I can see using this as a great filler for not only tacos, but also burritos, enchiladas, tamales, etc...


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