Thursday, July 21, 2016

Jumpin' for Juicy Jackfruit....

If Durian (see my post) is the King of Fruits, Jackfruit (
mít in Vietnamese) must be the Queen! This giant blimp-shaped dense-spiked fruit native to South India which is ubiquitous all over South Asia are available packed with syrup in cans, or if you are lucky like we are over here in multicultural Toronto, you can buy it fresh! Ripe jackfruit is intensely perfumed, and usually cut into large sections for sale at the market. The interior central core is white surrounded by yellow egg-shaped segments of pulp, each containing a light brown seed (which you can eat). A good source of vitamins A, B and C, jackfruit's flesh has a slightly chewy texture, and a flavour combination of pineapple and melon notes.

You cannot compare the taste of imported fruit to fresh fruit picked straight from the tree and with tropical fruits, it even holds more true. However, I feel blessed we are able to access and fondly eat the exotic wares from faraway lands. Their seeds, jackfruit in a can and dried jackfruit are also very delicious and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways!

Standing under a jackfruit tree is not very wise. It is said this fruit is the largest fruit in the world, with the biggest specimens weighing up to 50 kg (110 lbs.)!!

In Vietnam 2004

Fresh jackfruit can be pretty pricey-- I've seen them at $4.99/lb. But when its perfume lured me over in an Asian Supermarket, I was super excited to see the attractive $1.59/lb. price tag, and the pieces were bright yellow-orange (indicating ripeness and juiciness). You can get a lot out of a section like this as the pulp pieces are tightly packed together.

The best is to eat jackfruit straight, however my friends Vimla Hayman in Australia, native to India and Prachi Grover from Dubai also have other culinary uses for them. Unripe jackfruit is used to make curry, usually a vegetarian delicacy and is eaten with Indian bread or with rice and dhal in Vimla's household. And Prachi uses it to make curry, as a dry vegetable prep and also pickles. Sounds too delicious!

Don't throw away those edible seeds. See below.

Wow, that's a hunkin' handsome piece!

We are happy pappy campers tonight!

Like precious golden jewel nuggets piled up on a plate.

Ahhh seeds-- Don't toss them, they are deliciouly edible! My kind of nose to tail fruit eating-- haha! Jackfruit seeds (hột mít) are southern island snack in Vietnam and popularily eaten in South India like most hot countries where jackfruits grow. My bestie and my husband grew up on this in Vietnam.The seeds make an excellent snack when boiled in salted water-- tastes like steamed chestnuts with overtones of fragrant jackfruit. My friend Vimla, tells me her family cooks the seeds when ripe. "We used to boil with salt before eating. So nice. Put the seeds in a pot of sand on stove on gentle heat for half an hour. Taste is amazing.You can also use small stones too. You can roast underground in sand. If you grill them, it is soooo good....though over very low heat. Put jackfruit seeds in a pot with water and simmer on the grill." My friend Chef Manh Tuong, owner of Mai Bistro in Toronto, boils his seeds, toss them in green onion oil and dip in salt crushed with hot pepper-- YUM! Shyamala Vishnumohan in South India tells me she also adds them in curries. I can imagine how sympatico its starchy texture with saucy curry, just like potatoes.

Eating hột mít at my bestie's BBQ.

My favourite thing to do with canned jackfruit is a cold dessert soup. Nothing better to cool off in the summer heat or to cool down the fire (the yang (cooling) to the yin (heat)) than with a refreshingly cold Coconut Jackfruit Tapioca soup dessert with add-ins of prepared palm seeds and coconut gels. Just bring one can of coconut milk to a soft boil with syrup from a can of jackfruit, and adjust sweetness with rock sugar/golden sugar. Let cool and add chopped jackfruit, add-ins and cooked tapioca. See here for a similar recipe.

This is a popular dried snack from Vietnam. I remember buying a few bags while travelling for gifts to bring home, until I realized you can buy them in stores here! Crunchy and addictive, makes a nice tropical sweet alternative to potato chips!

Oh and we can't forget Vietnamese smoothies, or sinh to. The thick creamy shakes-- made from blending peeled fruit, crushed ice and a touch of condensed milk until glossy-- and do double duty as drink and dessert. Next time you have a bowl of beef noodle pho at a Vietnamese restaurant, try cooling or washing it down with a jackfruit smoothie, which is made with canned fruit. To make your own Vietnamese-style jackfruit smoothie at home, blend 1/3 cup canned jackfruit pieces, 1/2 tsp. sweetened condensed milk, 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup jackfruit liquid from can. Add 1-1/2 cups crushed ice and blend until smooth. Serve with a straw and spoon.

Jackfruit pieces are typically used in Halo Halo, a unique Filipino dessert made with shaved ice, milk, pandan syrup under layers of assorted fruit, beans, custard and topped with ice cream. Check out my Kamayan experience post, and scroll down for my recipe in Summer 2008 Asian Gourmet Magazine.

Vietnamese Jackfruit Smoothie

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