Mít Non Xé Vị Xá Xíu (Char Siu Pulled Jackfruit)
"Asian-style barbecue 'pulled pork' from young jackfruit? Yes! For this recipe in my book, Ever-Green Vietnamese (Ten Speed Press, 2023), I imbue immature jackfruit chunks with the savory-sweet seasonings of Cantonese char siu pork. Fragrant spices play pivotal roles by lending warming, pungent notes. The salty-sweet-spicy result is vegan and enjoyed by all for tasty banh mi, grain bowls, fried rice, and steamed or baked bao."
Reprinted with permission from Ever-Green Vietnamese by Andrea Nguyen, copyright © 2023. Photographs copyright © 2023 by Aubrie Pick. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House
2 (20-oz) cans young jackfruit, drained
¼ cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari (tamari is good for rich color)
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 to 3 tsp sriracha (use the maximum amount for edgy heat)
1½ to 2 Tbsp brown sugar (light or dark), agave syrup, or mild honey
½ tsp five-spice powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp recently ground white or black pepper
2 Tbsp neutral oil (such as canola or peanut)
¼ cup chopped shallots or yellow onion
1 cup water
Fine sea salt
Prep and flavor the jackfruit
Halve each wedge of jackfruit into two skinnier wedges. Then, by the handful, give them a squeeze to expel excess moisture and gently crush the pieces (don’t mind the garlic clove–like seeds that appear). Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, 1½ Tbsp of the brown sugar, five spice powder, garlic powder, and pepper. Taste and, if needed, add up to the remaining 1½ tsp sugar for a sweeter flavor.
Cook and pull the jackfruit
Set a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the neutral oil. When the oil barely ripples, add the shallots and fry gently, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until soft and fragrant, with many browned bits. Add the jackfruit and scrape in all the seasonings. Let fry gently for 1 to 2 minutes to develop flavor (it will slightly darken), and then pour in the water.
Turn the heat to high, bring to a strong simmer, and then lower the heat to maintain the steady bubbling action. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring often and, if needed, pressing on big pieces to break them up. When the jackfruit is done, it will be moist and the liquid mostly gone. Turn off the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Use two forks to pull and mash the fringelike pieces apart; leave meaty chunks for texture and stir to distribute. Let rest for 10 minutes for the flavors to settle and develop. Taste and add salt, if needed, before serving.
Ingredients: If hoisin sauce is unavailable, mix together 3 Tbsp dark miso (such as red miso), 1 Tbsp agave syrup or mild honey, ½ tsp toasted sesame oil, and 1 pinch five-spice powder as a substitute. For tender-firm texture, choose an Asian brand of young jackfruit in brine, such as Aroy-D. Non-Asian brands, such as Trader Joe’s, produce a softer, fall-apart texture.
Lifespan: Refrigerate for up to 5 days. Warm in a skillet with a splash of water.