Fooled Pork (Vegan pulled pork)
When I remembered that the 1st of April was rapidly approaching, I knew exactly what recipe I wanted to post – I couldn’t possibly think of a better recipe for April Fools Day, than Fooled Pork! This was such huge hit a few years ago, but I didn’t have my blog then, so here I am bringing it to you now. People that have been eating a plant-based diet for a while may have seen it before, but I know there are lots of you out there that still need to be won over to the light side of the force and I’m doing my best to get your there!
Well, nobody fooled the pigs (even though they are very much relieved) – it’s the person eating this who gets fooled! So what is it? Well this, my friends, is jackfruit! Jackfruit is an amazing fruit which is part of the fig and mulberry family. While those two are quite small, jackfruit is enormous! It’s actually the larget tree-growing fruit, and mature, can weigh up to 80 pounds (35 kg) each!!! It’s the national fruit of Bangladesh and grows in many parts of South and Southeast Asia.
Perhaps the best jackfruit dish, and surely the spiciest, I have ever eaten was last year in Sri Lanka. Getting around in Sri Lanka is an adventure to say the least! Four of us were on our way from Nuwara Eliya to Udawalawe in a small van with a driver and his assistant who just that day agreed to take us on the 5-hour journey (and then themselves, drive back the same night!) It was pitch black out, on one of the windiest, steepest roads you’ve even seen, when our driver pulls over and parks in the curve – all true! We got out of the van, and a light turned on and we could see a very, very humble roadside, uh “restaurant”?! Restaurant as in three tables and some chairs on a flat area of stone. Within minutes the wood-fired grill was on and we were being cooked roti and some amazing curries – the fire-breathing-est of them all, being jackfruit! Those were flavors and an amazing experience I will never forget.
But I digress. (What’s new, huh?) Young, unripe jackfruit has an incredibly meat-like consistency and is just begging to be used in curry dishes. Or, here, where after simmering in some spices and liquid, you can easily pull it apart and shred it. Like other foods used in plant-based cooking, getting something with that great consistency is half the job, and the other half is the flavoring. The young, not sweet jackfruit, will absorb whatever you throw its way, so grab your garlic, liquid smoke and chili flakes, and be sure to find a plant-based BBQ sauce. (Unfortunately, we always need to read the fine print to make sure they aren’t sneaking any nasty little ingredients into our food. That goes for the buns, too!)
It seems like everyone likes some slaw with these, and I think a creamy, crunchy one goes best. While the flavors may get better if you let it sit overnight, thickly sliced cabbage, that isn’t totally soft, makes a nice contrast to the tender jackfruit. And of course when you have any kind of burger or sandwich like this, you want your side of fries, don’t you? Well I got you covered there too! Super easy, cooked and flavored to perfection oven-baked fries. Did I mention there was beer in these? While you can substitute it for water if you want to, using a flavorful vegan beer will impart some nice, extra complexity to this already awesome dish.
So, grab yourself a cold one, and start making some vegan pulled pork now – Fooled pork, and only you need to know the secret!
- 1¼ lbs (560 g) – green jackfruit (If canned, it’s in brine, NOT the stuff in syrup)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tsps (10 ml) – liquid smoke
- 1 tsp (5 ml) – red chili flakes
- 2 tsps (10 ml) – paprika
- 12-17 fl oz (ca 33-50 cl) – vegan-friendly beer (I bought a larger bottle, used about 14 oz maybe, and just drank what I didn’t need :) )
- 1 cube (ca 1 tsp / 5ml) – vegetable stock (this is the recommended amount for 15 fl oz/ 450 ml liquid)
- Salt/pepper to taste
- Ca 1 cup (2.4 dl) – vegan bbq sauce
- Cilantro, for garnish
- 4 vegan hamburger buns Coleslaw
- 1 lb (454 g) – cabbage, shredded (I used a mandolin)
- ½ lb (227 g) – red cabbage, shredded
- 2 carrots
- 1 cup (2.4 dl) – vegan mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) – mustard
- juice from ½ a lime
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) – apple cider vinegar
- salt/pepper to taste Oven-baked french fries
- ca 3 lbs (ca 1300 g) – potatoes, sliced lengthwise (I chose longer, rather than rounder potatoes. )
- ¼ cup (60 ml) – olive oil
- 2 tsps (10 ml) – garlic powder
- 2 tsps (10ml) – onion powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat some oil in a large frying pan, add the chopped onion and cook for a few minutes before adding the jackfruit, spices and liquid smoke.
- Add the beer and vegetable stock, lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for about 45 minutes. If you don’t have a cover large enough, or, if after about 30 minutes, most of the liquid is gone, add some more beer. I started with around 11 oz and added about 3 more later.)
- While the jackfruit is simmering, you can prepare your coleslaw and potatoes. For the coleslaw, simply mix all the ingredients and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat. You can even make the coleslaw the day before, and it’s even better!
- For the fries, scrub the potatoes and slice into long wedges. Mix the oil and spices in a bowl, add the potatoes and toss to cover them in the oil/spice mixture. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes at 450 F (230 C)
- The cooked jackfruit (most of the liquid should be absorbed now) can now be “pulled” or shredded, using two forks pushed into the middle of each piece, and then drawn outwards. Transfer the pulled jackfruit to an oven-safe form and mix with the BBQ sauce. Turn the oven to bBroil, place the jackfruit fairly high up in the oven, and heat until the jackfruit gets some color - about 10 minutes. (I timed this so that the fries had about 10 minutes remaining, and lowered them to the bottom of the oven. With the jackfruit on a baking tray, the fries aren’t exposed to the full heat of the grill.)
- Remove from the oven and serve with the coleslaw and cilantro on your favorite, vegan hamburger bun or bread.