Over in my neck of the woods of East Los Angeles, there is a pop-up taco shop called Plant Food For People. They don’t have a permanent restaurant or even a food truck that I know of, but they have the best tacos I’ve ever had. That’s a pretty lofty statement for a Californian, I know! They make these Jackfruit carnitas that are out of this world. This recipe is for those of you who can’t come out to L.A. just to hunt down a heavenly and elusive taco stand. I’m sorry for your loss.
If you are wondering what jackfruit is, you are not alone. You don’t see it in regular grocery stores, but you can typically find it in Asian markets. Either as the whole fruit (which is a spike covered oblong ball that can get up to 20 inches in diameter and 36″ long!) or canned in a brine. You want young jackfruit for this purpose. I’ve never seen the whole fruit myself, I’ve only found it canned at my local organic specialty grocery. You could also buy it online. The meat of jackfruit kind of looks like the texture of pineapple or artichoke hearts, and has a mild, almost non-existent flavor on it’s own. It makes for a great carnitas substitute. It has an abundance of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. It’s high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and fiber, as well as magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, iron, and zinc. Take that, pork!
When I posted my recipe for Butternut Squash and Black Bean Cantina Style Tacos with Chipotle Crèma, I used a cashew base for the crèma. I do cashew cream sauces quite often, so I thought I would mix it up today, with chipotle tofu sour cream. It turned out beautifully! Even smoother than cashews and more protein. If you are avoiding soy or trying to stick with whole foods only, go ahead and use the cashew crèma version.
makes approx. 6 tacos
I can jackfruit
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/2 white onion, minced
1 bulb garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tomato, peeled, seeded, diced
juice of 1 orange
6 small organic corn tortillas
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Rinse jackfruit well and squeeze out excess moisture with your hands. Put the jackfruit pieces on an oiled baking pan and into the oven for 30 min, then allow to cool and break it up a bit with your fingers, separating the fibers.
In a small pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil, drop the tomato in, and boil for 60 seconds. Then rinse it under cool water in a colander. You should be able to remove the skin easily after that.
Dice the peeled tomato finely and set aside. You want to keep all it’s juices as much as possible.
Sautee the onion and garlic in the oil over med-high heat, add spices stirring constantly until the onions are soft and the moisture is almost evaporated. Deglaze with the orange juice and throw in the jackfruit. Stir it a lot so it gets coated in all the spices, then add the juicy chopped tomato. Stir and cook another 2 minutes or so.
makes approx. 1 3/4 cup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup organic corn kernels
1/2 red bell pepper, minced
1 tbs minced jalapeno
1 tb ground coriander
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
Dissolve the sugar into the vinegar and then toss everything together.
Chipotle Sour Cream
makes approx. 1.5 cups
1 cup firm silken organic tofu
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbs dried chipotle powder (or 2 whole chipotle peppers!)
1/2 tbs agave nectar
1/2 tsp sea salt (might need more after you taste it)
2 tbs Veganaise
Add the tofu, chipotle, lime juice, agave, salt, and Veganaise to a food processor and blend. You want it to be thick, but you should be able to drizzle it off a spoon, so you might want to add a few tablespoons of water, incorporating one at a time. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Serve your jackfruit tacos with avocado, cilantro, sliced green onions, and hot sauce!
Maybe a side of black beans and rice to round out the meal.
P.S. Tacos are hard to photograph, especially when you just really want to eat them like NOW. So, my apologies for the hasty photos here guys.