Crispy shredded Peking duck is one of those things that I accepted I’d never eat again when I became vegetarian, but that was before I was introduced to jackfruit. I first tried at a food truck in London where it was being used as a vegan substitute for pulled pork . My imagination was sparked immediately, although I was a little terrified to try cooking with it myself, firstly I didn’t know what raw jackfruit looked like or where to get it in the UK.
Yesterday I decided to be brave and went on a hunt for the mysterious jackfruit, which I bought canned from my local oriental store (turns out you can get anything in London). I knew I wanted to make Peking style shredded duck with the jackfruit, but I’m on a bit of a health kick at the moment (summer is coming after all) and I didn’t want to eat piles and piles of Chinese pancakes. So, I decided to use the jackfruit as the ‘protein’ portion of an oriental ‘Buddha bowl’.
If you’re not aware of the plant-based revolution that is the Buddha bowl, it’s essentially a large bowl of vegan/ vegetarian food that as a rule of thumb consists of a grain, a protein and vegetables (Instagramming the bowl is optional). In this recipe the grain is white rice, but you could substitute with brown rice or quinoa, the ‘protein’ here is a bit of a misnomer because jackfruit is of course a fruit, but let’s just pretend, and the veg consists of stir fried pak choi, spring onions, fresh mango and sweet pickled carrot and cucumber.
This dish is entirely vegan, and is a real meat-free showstopper, it’s also incredibly inexpensive and packed with vitamins… oh and delicious, definitely delicious!
Note: This recipe requires a little pre-planning, about an hour before you want to eat, you’ll need to make the pickling liquor and get your veggies sitting in it, the rice also needs to be cooked beforehand, but other than that it’s pretty darn simple!
PREHEAT OVEN TO 200˚C
- 1 can of young jackfruit in brine
- Hoisin sauce
- Sesame oil
- Fresh ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 80g caster sugar
- 15g salt
- 125ml of rice wine / white wine vinegar
- 175ml of boiling water
- 250g of cooked white rice
- 2 large carrots, peeled into ribbons
- 1/4 of a cucumber, sliced
- 1/2 a fresh mango, diced
- 2 spring onions
- Pak choi
- 1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds
- For the pickling liquor: In a jug, or small mixing bowl, dissolve the caster sugar, wine vinegar and salt in 125ml of boiling water, add the carrots and cucumber and stir well before leaving to pickle for at least an hour. Drain before serving.
- For the jackfruit: Drain and wash the jackfruit, and chop into 2cm wide segments. Heat a little sesame oil in a wok with 1 clove of crushed garlic. Transfer the jackfruit to the wok with approximately 50 ml of boiling water. Place a lid over the wok (another frying pan works really well) and allow the jackfruit to cook for 8 – 10 minutes, before mashing with a potato masher until it reaches the texture of pulled meat. Lightly oil a baking tray with sesame oil and transfer the jackfruit to the tray, cook for 15 minutes, before covering in hoisin sauce and cooking for a further 10 minutes, don’t worry if the jackfruit starts to catch a little and get crispy at the edges, this is exactly what you want.
- For the hoisin dressing: Mix 4 tablespoons of hoisin with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and set aside.
- For the pak choi: Lightly fry one of the spring onions in a wok in a little sesame oil, seaparate the leaves of the pak choi, transfer to the wok and cook for 2-3 minutes, you want it to be fresh and a little crunchy. Set aside on a plate until serving.
- For the rice: In the same wok, take your cooked rice (you could even use a pack of microwave rice) and lightly fry for a few minutes until hot through, add the sesames and stir through.
- To serve: Start with your rice, and carefully spoon into one portion of a large bowl, now place your jackfruit in the middle and carefully arrange the rest of the veg around the remaining space in the bowl. Finish by drizzling a little of the hoisin dressing over the jackfruit and the rice.