Love jackfruit? Make your own vegan fakeaways with these flavour-packed recipes – from plant-based hoisin pancakes to moreish loaded fries.
If meatless burgers that ‘bleed’ feel too realistic but a portobello mushroom slapped in a bun leaves you feeling cheated, you’ve probably got a penchant for jackfruit. Having previously been unknown to many UK diners, it’s become something of a vegan folk hero in recent years – with everywhere from cult restaurants to Pizza Hut relying on its meaty qualities for moreish plant-based meals.
Of course, if you have south or south-east Asian heritage, jackfruit probably won’t seem like such a new arrival on the food scene. From the same family as figs and mulberries (although it doesn’t really resemble either), it has long been grown and eaten in tropical-climate countries such as India, Malaysia and Thailand.
Jackfruit must be picked underripe, when it feels more like a vegetable, to make a perfect meat substitute – a concept that is distinctly Western. (As writer Madhushree Ghosh has observed: “No Indian looks for meat substitutes if they’re vegetarian.”) And in the UK, you’re unlikely to score the whole fruit in most supermarkets: instead, you’ll find it tinned or vac-packed and pre-chopped in ready-to-use chunks.
Sound simple enough? Below, you’ll find three takeaway-inspired jackfruit recipes to recreate your best-loved deliveries at home.
If Peking pancakes are your jam, try author Sasha Gill’s vegan version. Young jackfruit makes the perfect substitute for duck – it shreds in the same way for a large surface area that soaks up punchy flavours. Gill coats the jackfruit pieces in a sticky hoisin sauce, then serves it with tender pancakes and crunchy raw vegetables – all to be rolled up at the table for a brilliantly DIY main.
Jackfruit pairs wonderfully with strong tastes, and chef Gaz Oakley’s jerk-spiced dish is no exception. Oakley (who you might know as @avantgardevegan) carefully prepares tinned chunks of jackfruit, then covers them with lots of garlic, fiery chillies and tropical pineapple juice. He serves the lot with coconutty rice and peas, and a lime wedge for good measure.
Finally, if loaded fries signal your ultimate Friday night, beer expert Mark Dredge’s recipe is tasty, crispy perfection. Born to be paired with a pint, the recipe calls for ready-made fries, topped with a sauce made from jackfruit, miso, jalapenos and more for an addictive, throw-together plate. Your monthly Deliveroo spend is about to hit a gratifying low…
Peking jackfruit pancakes
Sasha Gill says: “I remember visiting a restaurant in Shanghai famed for its melt-in-your-mouth Peking duck and watching my parents deftly use chopsticks to pile shredded meat and crisp skin into the cradle of a paper-thin pancake. Duck pancakes have become a Chinese-restaurant classic and it is not difficult to see why. Dressed with fruity hoisin sauce and paired with fresh slivers of spring onion for crunch, they are fun to assemble and eat.
“Young green jackfruit stands in for duck here – it can be shredded in much the same way and soaks up flavours beautifully. If you don’t have time to make your own pancakes, feel free to use a dozen shop-bought wheat spring-roll wrappers.”
Makes 12 (enough for 4–6 as a starter)
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
- 1 x 400g tin young green jackfruit (see below for preparation instructions)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 ½ cm ginger, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp rice wine, dry white wine or apple juice
- ½ tsp five spice powder
- pinch of black pepper
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 100g hoisin sauce
- thin strips of carrot, cucumber and spring onion, to serve
For the pancake dough:
- 225g plain flour, sifted
- pinch of salt
- 170ml boiling water
- 1 tbsp oil, for brushing
First make the pancake dough. In a large bowl, knead the flour, salt and water until you have a smooth, elastic dough, about 5 minutes, adding a teaspoon more flour if it seems too sticky.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the shredded jackfruit in a loaf tin.
Whisk together the sesame oil, ginger, wine, five spice, black pepper and soy sauce and pour over the jackfruit.
Roast for 15–20 minutes or until very tender – there may still be liquid in the tin, and that’s OK.
Unwrap the dough, roll it into a log and divide into 12.
Roll each piece of dough into a ball, then flatten slightly by patting it with the palm of your hand.
Brush a thin layer of oil over six of the flattened dough balls, then place the unoiled dough balls on top of them to form sandwiches.
Use a rolling pin to roll out each sandwich into a flat pancake, flipping it midway so both sides are rolled evenly.
Set a dry non-stick frying pan over medium heat, place a pancake in it and cook until it is puffy and the bottom is flecked with brown, about 2–3 minutes.
Flip it over and cook the other side for 2–3 minutes, then remove.
Carefully separate the two layers to give you two pancakes.
Keep on a plate, covered with a clean tea towel, while you cook the rest, separating them as well, to give you 12 in total.
Transfer the jackfruit to a serving platter. To eat, scoop a little bit of jackfruit onto a pancake, top with a drizzle of hoisin sauce and a few slivers of carrot, cucumber and spring onion, then wrap up and enjoy.
After draining your tin of young green jackfruit, rinse it well in a sieve under cold running water – this helps to get rid of the slightly sweet jackfruit flavour.
After rinsing, cut away the tough core of each piece of jackfruit, then shred the remaining flesh into something resembling pulled pork. Discard all the seeds and seed pods.
From Jackfruit and Blue Ginger: Asian Favourites, Made Vegan by Sasha Gill (£18.99, Murdoch Books), out now
Jerk jackfruit with rice and peas
Takes 45 minutes
- 3 x 400g cans young jackfruit in brine, drained
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 spring onions, finely sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- ½ scotch bonnet chilli, finely chopped
- 1 yellow pepper, diced
- 1 tbsp allspice
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 tbsp coconut sugar
- 200g canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 5 tbsp tomato purée
- 240ml pineapple juice
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- sea salt and black pepper
For the rice and peas:
- 1 x 400g can kidney beans, drained, liquid reserved
- 1 x 400ml can coconut milk
- 3 tbsp fresh thyme
- pinch sea salt and black pepper
- 340g long-grain rice, washed
- lime wedges
Put the jackfruit into the middle of a clean kitchen towel. Pick up the corners of the towel, then squeeze out the liquid over a sink by twisting the towel. Getting rid of water will ensure the jackfruit has a meaty texture.
Place a large casserole dish or frying pan over a medium heat. Add the coconut oil, followed by the spring onions, garlic, ginger, chilli and yellow pepper.
Allow the mixture to soften for 3 minutes before adding the spices. Cook for 2 minutes, then add a pinch of seasoning.
Add the jackfruit to the pan and stir well. Cook the mixture for a further 3–4 minutes.
Next, add the coconut sugar and the black beans. Keep stirring, then add the soy sauce, tomato purée and pineapple juice.
Turn the heat down to low and add the lime juice and the chopped thyme.
Pop the lid on and allow the jackfruit to cook for around 12–15 minutes, stirring every now and then.
For the rice and peas, add all the ingredients to a pan and cover. Place over a low heat and allow the rice to absorb the liquid until it’s light and fluffy. This should take 10–12 minutes. If it gets too dry before it has cooked, add water.
Serve the cooked jackfruit with the rice and peas immediately with lime wedges and a salad on the side.
From Plants-Only Kitchen: Over 70 Delicious, Super-Simple, Powerful & Protein-Packed Recipes For Busy People by Gaz Oakley (£20, Quadrille), out now
Imperial jackfruit dirty fries
Mark Dredge says: “A filthy plateful of fries loaded with spicy jackfruit and topped with pickled chilis, diced onion, and American mustard. This is a dish you know you should stop eating but just can’t – or won’t. It should sear with the vinegar heat of chili and mustard, crunch with onion, and be spicy with the jackfruit.
“You can replace the jackfruit with a mixture of cooked beans or vegan mince, if you prefer, but I think jackfruit works well to soak up all the flavors in the dish. I use imperial stout because it’s big and rich and bold, but you could use a regular porter or stout.”
Serves 4 as a snack
Takes 1–1½ hours
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- ½ tsp each ground cumin, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne pepper, dried chilli (more if you like it hot), and white sugar
- 2 x 400g cans young jackfruit (not in syrup), drained
- 300g passata
- 180ml dark beer
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp barley or brown rice miso
- 1 tbsp cacao powder (optional)
- salt and pepper
- ½ white onion, finely diced
- American mustard
- pickled jalapenos
- American cheese (optional)
In a large pan over a medium heat, soften the onion in the oil for around 5 minutes, then add the garlic and the tomato purée and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the spices and sugar and stir, then add the jackfruit and break it apart with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Cook for a few minutes.
Add the passata and stir for 1 minute, until it starts bubbling, then add the beer and stir.
Add the soy sauce, miso, and cacao powder and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 45–60 minutes until it’s really thick and becoming dry in the pan.
Season to taste – it can handle a lot of seasoning, so you might want more salt and more chilli.
Cook the fries however you like (I slice potatoes, pour over some oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then bake at 200°C/Gas 6 for around 45 minutes).
To serve, smother the fries in the jackfruit sauce, then top with the diced white onion, the rest of the condiments, and some American cheese. Then get dirty.
Eat it with American amber ale, pale ale, or American IPA.
From Beer & Veg: Combining Great Craft Beer With Vegetarian And Vegan Food by Mark Dredge (£18.99, Dog ‘n’ Bone Books), out now
Photography: Stephen Conroy © Dog ‘n’ Bone Books; Sasha Gill; © Simon Smith