Have you tried Jack fruit? The first time I ate it was long ago when I visited Thailand in early 2000. At that time I didn’t know that Jack fruit is so versatile. It had a scent like litchi and the sweetness of pineapple, I would say. Even though I am originally coming from the subtropical island of Taiwan, we don’t sell it there.
Last May, I visited my mother in Taiwan after she had had eye surgery. I saw a very rare fruit from the local market. Is that Jack fruit? It’s a kind of unpeeled giant fruit that I’ve never seen in Belgium. It must be that magical Jack fruit. I bought it without hesitating. It’s so pricy. It cost me 12 euro. The seller was a very nice lady who said to me that I can help you cut this ‘stinky fruit’. Oh, no! I was wrong. It wasn’t Jack fruit, but stinky fruit. Never mind. Anyway, it only cost 12 euro for one giant fruit. Not a big deal.
Until recently we found out that Jack fruit is in fact so versatile that you can even make chicken legs from it. Not all super markets have it. We bought it online since it’s slightly cheaper. And besides, they have free delivery service if I ordered more than 35 euro worth of food. This is how I get cheaper nuts and organic soy beans for making tofu as well.
Nowadays, of course, we can easily buy vegan chicken legs, from the supermarket. But it’s still fun to try to make it yourself. The flavor is different.
Jack fruit from 2 cans
Nutritional yeast 2 tbsp.
Tomato puree 2 tbsp.
Smoked paprika 1 tsp.
Step by step
- 2 cans of Jack fruit, drained and hand-squeezed to create meat-like texture
- cauliflower stalks for "bones"
- boil the jack fruit in some vegetable stock for a while, until all the stock is absorbed and the fruit is even juicier.
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- let it cool down, then measure the weight and divide it in even parts in freezer bags, closing the bags around the cauliflower "bones" to prepare the shape. Place this in the freezer.
- when it's sufficiently frozen, take it out and remove the freezer bags carefully
- place rice paper sheets one at a time in water, until soft, then use it to wrap around the frozen chicken legs as "skin".
- dip this in some kind of sauce to your liking (I used a mixture of tomato puree and smoked paprika, though I found the tomato puree too thick, next time I would use something more liquid)
- place on an oven tray, and bake. Carefully turn them a few times until all sides are "crispy" (this is difficult, maybe next time I will use a piece of rope to tie the end of the "skin" to the "bone" so it won't fall apart when turning it on the oven plate).