It's end-September, almost the perfect time to visit Lake Tahoe, America's premier Alpine lake that borders California and Nevada. I'm at West Shore Café that is on the edge of the lake in North Lake Tahoe. I've just been served one of the restaurant's signature dishes - carnitas tacos. Except, this one's not the classic carnitas taco, a delicacy that's usually crafted with slow-cooked pork shoulder. Rob Wyss, the restaurant's executive chef has substituted pork with raw jackfruit and quite a few of his diners can't tell the difference. His simple approach is to treat raw jackfruit like meat - they griddle it to make it crispy.
As restaurants across the US and Europe start getting creative to accommodate vegan preferences, raw jackfruit (it's also commonly referred to as young jackfruit in the US) has suddenly become a new favourite. Over the last couple of years, it has gone from exotic to becoming somewhat well-known. It's one reason why raw jackfruit exports are on the upswing from India. This is not a new ingredient to kitchens across India. In Coorg for instance, Mudi Chekke (Raw Jackfruit) curry is a time-tested recipe and then there's the kathal biryani where raw jackfruit fills in for meat. We've rounded up three recipes that don't just showcase raw jackfruit as a meat alternative but also demonstrate the sheer versatility of this ingredient:
Einchor Er Chop: (Jackfruit Patties)
Recipe Courtesy: Chef Biswajit Bhunia, Chef de Cuisine at Ayna, the Hilton Chennai.
I tried this quintessential Bengali dish during my last visit to Ayna, the pan-Indian restaurant at the Hilton in Chennai. This is Chef Bihswajit's family recipe:
- Raw Jack fruit: 250 gms
- Mustard oil: 30 gms
- Mustard seeds: 15 gms
- Cumin seeds: 15 gms
- Green chilly: 20 gms
- Yellow chilli powder: 20 gms
- Coriander powder: 15 gms
- Potato: 30 gms
For the crumbing:
- Panko crumbs
- Corn Flour
- Peel the jackfruit and boil it in turmeric flavoured water. Grate it after it's boiled.
- Heat oil in a sauce pan .
- Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and let them crackle.
- Now add ginger, garlic, green chilies and brown them.
- Add the jackfruit mixture with some boiled potato mixture.
- Cook the mixture and add in seasonings.
- Once the mixture is ready, shape them and crumb them in corn flour slurry and panko crumbs.
- Deep fry and serve hot.
Also Read: (Yorkshire Lamb Patties Recipe)
A quintessential Bengali dish at the Hilton in Chennai.
Recipe Courtesy: Chef Latha, Chef de Cuisine, Malabar Café, Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty
This Kerala speciality is an interesting twist to a raw jackfruit biryani. There's no rice, while the textures and flavours of fish combine with raw jackfruit.
- Raw jackfruit: 500 gms
- Fish (seer) small cubes: 300 gms
- Crushed green chilli: 25 gms
- Salt: 20 gms
- Crushed ginger: 15 gms
- Crushed garlic: 10 gms
- Coconut oil: 100 ml
- Curry leaves: 20 gms
- Coriander: 15 gms
- Mint: 15 gms
- Crushed pepper: 15 gms
- Turmeric powder: 3 gms
- Crushed shallots: 200 gms
- Fried cashews: 100 gms
- Fried onion: 50 gms
- Crushed coconut: 50 gms
- Fennel powder: 8 gms
- Marinate the fish with ginger, garlic, salt, turmeric and pepper for about 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in a pan, add ginger, garlic, onions, chillies and sauté well.
- Add jackfruit, coconut, pepper, fennel, salt and turmeric and cook well.
- On top arrange the marinated fish and cook for a while.
- Add fried onion, mint, coriander and cashew nut. Mix it well and serve hot.
This Kerala speciality is an interesting twist to a raw jackfruit biryani.
Recipe Courtesy: Rashmi Ghale, co-founder of Purple Basil
- Raw jackfruit: 75 gms
- BBQ sauce: 50 gms
- Honey/demerara sugar: 5gms
- Garlic: 2 or 3 cloves
- Lettuce: 25 gms
- Whole wheat bun: 1
- Purple cabbage (optional): 20 gms
- Green cabbage: 20 gms
- Onion: 10 gms
- Carrot: 10 gms
- Hung curd: 50 gms
- Salt & pepper: to taste
- The slaw-
Fine chop cabbage (purple and green), onions, carrot, and mix them in a bowl with hung curd.
Season lightly with salt and pepper. Leave aside.
- The Jackfruit Mix-
Steam the jackfruit (just enough that it retains its shape) and roughly hand-shred/pull apart into a bowl (not too thin).
In a heated pan, add BBQ sauce and the shredded jackfruit to make a solid paste and season with salt and pepper. Leave aside.
- The Burger-
Slice whole wheat burger bun horizontally and grill both slices.
Add (washed and cleaned) lettuce on top of the base slice.
Add slaw. Add jackfruit mix.
Assemble it and insert a toothpick to keep it all in place. Serve immediately.
Also Read: (Chicken Feta Cheese Burgers With Potato Salad Recipe)
Purple Basil, a home delivery platform in Bengaluru that serves healthy fast food options.
These recipes are great if you're looking for vegetarian options of typical meat dishes or just looking at experimenting with raw jackfruit. The pulled jackfruit burger is a dish that kids will enjoy. It's not just the textures that make it a great meat substitute. It's rich in protein, Vitamin A and C and also antioxidants.
About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie - a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.