My boyfriend and I are getting married in less than two months and he just recently saw a whole new side of me…that would be the side that comes out when I visit an Asian market. I didn’t even realize this side existed, but a few weeks ago we were out shopping and I was hoping to get in a visit to an Asian market. Specifically, I was looking for the main ingredient for this dish. He promised there’d be at least one market in the area we were scouting, and I was pleased to end up at not just any old Asian market, but a supermarket-sized Asian megastore with everything from prepackaged, to prepared food to kitchen tools (more about those to come).
So, as you might have guessed by now, there was a bit of skipping and squealing involved in this trip. Yes boyfriend, this is who you’re planning on marrying. He actually seemed amused and rather delighted by it all.
I started hearing a lot about this stuff some time around last summer and had been itching to try it. I could have just bought it online, but Amazon, while highly convenient, doesn’t elicit anywhere near the level of excitement from me as a giant Asian market.
About this jackfruit. Maybe you’ve heard about it, maybe not. In any event, the buzz started when people realized it could make a great meat substitute. Fruit as a meat substitute?! Hear me out.
When purchasing, look for young, green jackfruit. This means it’s not yet ripe, and thus not yet sweet. It comes in big chunks, packed in brine. Drain the brine and pull the chunks apart, and you end up with something very tender and stringy.
Not too unlike artichoke hearts or hearts of palm. This stringiness is what prompted a lot of people to use jackfruit as a substitute in pulled pork-based dishes. I decided to go for fajitas. After I made this decision I realized that I’m not really sure if people use pork in fajitas (if there’s one topic I claim zero expertise on, it’s what meat goes in what dish), but who cares? This stuff turned out delicious. The jackfruit has an amazing texture and is soaks up the sauce flavors beautifully, so it makes a perfect(ly delicious, even if not too authentic) fajita base.
Jackfruit Fajitas with Avocado Cilantro Cream
For the Avocado Cilantro Cream
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro packed
- 1/4 tsp. salt
For the Fajita Sauce
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup or agave
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
- 1/2 tsp. ancho chile powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
For the Jackfruit Fajitas
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 20 oz. can young green jackfruit, drained and pulled apart
- 1 green bell pepper sliced into strips
- 1 onion sliced
- 3-4 8- inch flour tortillas
- 3-4 big lettuce leaves optional, for a little extra crunch
Make the Avocado Cilantro Cream
- Place all ingredients into food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Make the Fajita Sauce
- Stir all ingredients together in small bowl. Set aside.
Make the Jackfruit Fajitas
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add jackfruit and continue to sauté another 3 minutes.
- Add pepper and onion and continue to sauté until jackfruit begins to brown and veggies are tender-crisp.
- Add sauce and sauté until most of the liquid evaporates, about 1 minute.
- Arrange lettuce leaves (if using) on tortillas. Top with jackfruit filling, followed by avocado cilantro cream.