Jackfruit is one of those exotic tropical fruits that only grows in specific parts of the world and is not too popular. Its available everywhere but grows only at a few regions. India is one of those places where it grows in abundance and infact is consumed differently in the north and the south region of the country. Before coming to Pondicherry I had eaten jackfruit as a vegetable in stews. It was the first time in Pondy that I ate it like a fruit and also saw ice creams being made with fresh jackfruit. It makes sense to eat it like a fruit since it IS a fruit…..but for some reason in north India its not allowed to ripen completely and is consumed while its still very tender and small in size. As a kid I remember eating rice preparations with it (one of my favorite).
The fruit is slightly messy and sticky and a bit of a challenge to cut. You need a big sharp knife and some oil to rub between your palms while handling it. You could also wear rubber gloves while cutting it. Do these two things and working with it will be a lot easier. The fruit is made of these fiber like strands, a bulbous fruit (which is very sweet if the jackfruit is ripe) and a seed inside the bulbous fruit. For this recipe you need the strands (eat the fruit and discard the seeds). Here is a video on how to cut a jackfruit.
This recipe is great for new vegetarians who are missing the meat – as the strands once cooked resembles pulled pork in look and somewhat in texture too. But otherwise too it is a very flavorful recipe which you should try atleast once. If living in a country where jackfruit is not easily available – try an Indian store or an Asian market in the months of summer to get your hands on it.
The paprika and cumin brings out really nice smokey favors which works great as a contrast to the flavors of sour cream and lime juice that you add while putting the tacos together. I used a simple homemade corn salsa in the tacos to enhance the flavor but feel free to use whatever toppings inspires and attracts you. Some sweet salsa would taste pretty great too…use queso sauce instead of sour cream or guacamole instead of corn salsa – you can get creative with the toppings. Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!
Serving 4 to 5 tacos
Cooking time 30 minutes
1/2 of a large jackfruit
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp taco seasoning
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
4 to 5 tortillas
corn salsa (to serve)
sour cream (to serve)
- Separate all the fibrous strands and the fruit. If using a ripe jackfruit use only strands for this recipe as the fruit is going to be very sweet .
- In a saucepan heat some oil over medium heat and stir fry the jackfruit strands till they turn slightly golden. Keep aside.
- Bring the same saucepan back on the heat and heat up some more oil. Add onions and garlic and stir fry till the onions start turning golden.
- Add peppers and continue to cook stirring frequently.
- Add the seasonings – paprika, cumin and taco seasoning and continue to cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add the jackfruit strands and stir to mix well.
- Add water, cover and cook on medium low for about 15 minutes or till the strands are softened and cooked completely. Remove from heat and let cool to a warm temperature.
To assemble the tacos:
- Heat a few teaspoons of oil in a saucepan and heat up the tortilla for a few seconds on each side. You just want the tortillas to heat through – the oil will make them soft and easy to work with.
- Place 2 spoonful of jackfruit mixture in the center of the tortilla.
- Add a tablespoon of corn salsa and a few dollops of sour cream along with some fresh sprigs of cilantro.
- Squeeze some fresh lemon juice and roll it it up to form a wrap. Serve the tacos immediately.