One of the best things about winter is the excuse to try unusual foods. During every other season of the year, there are so many vegetables coming out of the garden, it feels wrong to buy any fruits or vegetables. And as a rule, I only buy local produce, even during the winter, but once in a while it’s fun to splurge.
A few weeks ago I bought a can of jackfruit. This tropical tree is related to mulberries and figs, and produces large fruits with stringy flesh. The young fruits (before they ripen and become sweet) are used as a meat substitute, because the texture is somewhat meat-like.
I’ve eaten jackfruit in restaurants, but never cooked with it before, so it seemed like a good winter splurge.
Jackfruit itself has little flavour—its intrigue is in the texture. Most of the jackfruit recipes I found online take advantage of this texture by using it in dishes most commonly made with shredded pork.
After scanning a number of recipes, I decided to make gyro-inspired jackfruit wraps.
I started by making flatbreads based somewhat loosely on a naan recipe I have.
Then I made a hash of shredded jackfruit, mushrooms and onions, heavily spiced with paprika, smoked paprika, and chipotle. A dash or two of vegetarian Worcestershire sauce gave it a little tang, and a handful of fresh cilantro tipped it towards Asian flavours.
Finally, I made a yogurt and tahini sauce to go with it, generously flavoured with fresh mint.
I’m not sure what cuisine the final Greek/Indian/Southeast Asian wraps would fall into, but they were absolutely delicious. The hot and spicy jackfruit hash was balanced beautifully by the yogurt sauce, and the fresh flatbreads, still warm from the oven were everything a good flatbread should be.
It was fun to cook with a new and unusual ingredient, and the results were well worth the effort. I won’t be adding jackfruit to my regular grocery run, as it’s not exactly a local food (the can I bought was imported from Thailand), but I’ll definitely consider it next time I’m looking for a little winter splurge.