Welcome to another episode of OMG Air Fryers Are So Fun! I’m super late to the party; would you believe I held off on getting one all through quarantine?! I have been putting it through its paces the last few months though. And these Avocado read more
What shreds like pork, absorbs flavor like tofu, and packs more nutrients per serving than both? Jackfruit! Jackfruit is an incredibly versatile tropical fruit that is grown throughout Southeast Asia. When ripe, it gets sweet, sticky, and yellow-orange and is used in a variety of sweets. For those of us growing up in the eighties, I would liken it to a stick of juicy fruit gum. Unripe, or green, jackfruit is most often used in savory dishes. I find the flavor is most similar in taste and texture to artichokes or hearts of palm. The fruit can grow up to 50 pounds, and can be quite a mission to prep.
Luckily for us, it’s pretty easy these days to find green jackfruit in convenient cans, all prepped and ready to go. Maybe you’ve seen these cans at Whole Foods or Trader Joes but weren’t sure what to do with it. Let these Jackfruit Bowls be your introduction to this nutritional powerhouse. And don’t be scared by the lengthy list of steps; the components can all be made ahead of time. Whip up the sauce, pickle the veggies, and cook the jackfruit over the weekend, and then you have a meal ready to go in minutes during the week. (Calling all meal preppers!)
Make the Jackfruit Bowl Components
I love making grain bowls because it’s a chance to load them up with all kind of flavors and textures for an exciting meal. These pickled veggies add a nice tang. And you can make them a couple days before you make the jackfruit bowls. Just let them sit in the fridge, marinating away. They will still have a nice crisp crunch.
Let it sit for 15 minutes, and drain it, squeezing to get out all the liquid. Then add the seasoned rice vinegar, sesame oil, and minced garlic.
Jackfruit Bowl Sauce
This sauce is a thick, well balanced blend of flavors. A little Sambal Olek chili sauce for heat, hoisin for umami depth, a blend of red and rice vinegar for a mild tanginess…some ketchup, Worcestershire sugar, and garlic round out this Asian take on a BBQ sauce. Just mix everything up and keep refrigerated until you’re ready to make the jackfruit bowls.
Cook the Jackfruit
I start by draining the brine from the jackfruit. Then I simmer it in a pot of water until tender, about 5 minutes. Check with a fork and make sure you can easily pierce the jackfruit. Depending on the brand you are using, you may need to simmer the jackfruit a little longer to get it fork tender. Then I drain it and set it aside while I sauté the aromatics.
What you end up with looks very much like shredded pork. Many years ago, before green jackfruit was even a thing, we were asked to use it to make some appetizers for a wedding. We ended up using it as a filling for Chinese style steamed buns, but a couple of the wedding guests were imagining the jackfruit as a filling inside of soft rolls, like a shredded BBQ pork sandwich. That too would be fantastic! If you are making this ahead, keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Assemble Jackfruit Bowls
Depending on my mood, I will make this with rice as the base, or quinoa, just follow the package directions. Cauliflower rice is a great option too, if you want to add even more veggies to your bowl.
I also like to add cucumber and avocado, for color and texture, and then garnish with chopped herbs and scallions. Line up all your toppings to make assembling the bowls a breeze.
I let everyone add their own sauce at the table. Any left over is wonderful with a simple grilled chicken or maybe scoop some into a soft roll and call it a day! I hope these Jackfruit Bowls become your gateway to all the deliciousness that jackfruit has to offer. Try them and let me know what you think. Rate and leave a comment on the recipe down below, and show off your bowls by tagging us @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!
- 1 can young green jackfruit
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- 1 Tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ large yellow onion, diced
- ¼ head green cabbage
- 1 small carrot
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
Sauce to serve on the side:
- ¼ cup hoisin
- ½ Tablespoon sambal olek (or any garlic chili sauce)
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (use coconut aminos if vegetarian)
- 2 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons ketchup
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- 6 cups cooked rice, quinoa, mixed grains or cauliflower rice
- 1 avocado, diced
- ⅓ european cucumber, sliced thin
- Chopped cilantro
- 1 stalk of scallion, chopped
- 4 tablespoons crispy shallots (optional, purchase at an Asian market)
Make the pickled vegetables:
- Peel and then cut the carrot into three logs. Slice the carrot very thin, stack the slices, and then cut across the slices to yield thin matchsticks (julienne). Put the carrots into a large bowl.
- Peel off any discolored or tough outer leaves from the cabbage. Shred the cabbage as you would for coleslaw, very thinly with a knife or with a food processor. Then put it into the bowl with the carrots and toss with the salt. Let the cabbage mixture sit for 15 mins., tossing occasionally.
- Drain the cabbage in a colander, squeezing the cabbage tightly to remove excess liquid.
- Place the cabbage back in the bowl and add the seasoned rice vinegar, garlic, and sesame oil. Stir to combine. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use. The cabbage will keep for several days.
Make the sauce:
- Combine the hoisin, sambal olek, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, ketchup, and sugar in a bowl.
- Stir to combine.
- Set aside or refrigerate until jackfruit bowls are ready to serve.
Make the jackfruit:
- Open the can of jackfruit and drain the brine. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil on high heat. Add the jackfruit, lower the heat to medium high, and simmer for 5-7 minutes. It should be easy to pierce with a fork when done. (Continue to simmer for a couple more minutes if needed.) Drain the jackfruit and set it aside.
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil and the chopped onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the onions have softened and are starting to lightly brown. Add the garlic and ginger and stir to combine.
- Next add the jackfruit and break it up with a masher or a fork. Add the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, salt, and sugar. Stir to combine. Bring the contents to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and remove from the stove.
- Cool the jack fruit and refrigerate if not using right away. The jackfruit can be kept refrigerated for 3 days.
Assemble the bowls:
- When ready to serve, divide the rice, grains, or cauliflower rice into 4 large bowls.
- Top evenly with jackfruit, avocado, cucumbers, and pickled cabbage.
- Garnish with some chopped scallion, cilantro, and fried shallots. Serve jackfruit bowls with the sauce on the side.
Keywords: meal prep, jackfruit, avocado, pickled vegetables, vegan, plant based, grain bowl, rice
We added these Vegetarian Spring Rolls to the menu a couple years after we opened. I was looking for a vegetarian alternative to the ubiquitous fried vegetable spring rolls that are often filled with cabbage and not much else. We wanted something different and exciting that would make people forget that they weren’t fried! I knew I wanted to use rice paper because I like the light chewy texture. So then we went around playing with the filling.
Ultimately, we ended up with a mix of something familiar (the salad greens and herbs) and something exotic (fresh shiitake mushrooms and a fermented black bean sauce). Now the sauce is an essential part, practically my favorite thing.
A Little Background…
When I was a kid, we went to three restaurants to eat when my parents weren’t working. Lums, which was like a regional Denny’s (because it was close to our house and made us feel American), The Crab House (because again it was close to the house and we loved seafood), and Wong’s (which was one of the few Chinese restaurants serving both Americanized and traditional Cantonese cuisine).
One of the items I most looked forward to at Wong’s was the clams with black bean sauce. I loved the rich briny sauce with salty black beans that coated the plump clams. It was the best weekend if they had fresh clams. This was finally my opportunity to put Chinese black beans on our menu in a totally unexpected way.
A Light and Flavorful Bite
These spring rolls are a great option for vegetarians and vegans. The tofu provides a good source of protein, while the veggies add both color and texture. These vegetarian spring rolls aren’t fried, so they have a wonderfully light and fresh flavor. Plus, they make a great party snack since they can be made and held a couple of hours in advance.
The rolling process is a cinch and it’s hard to mess up. I use rice paper wraps, which don’t need to be cooked. Instead they are softened in warm water before filling and rolling.
Rice paper is translucent so it makes really beautiful rolls:
And about those black beans…Chinese fermented black beans are amazing. Full disclosure, they are actually soybeans, not black beans, that have been fermented in salt. They are used in all kinds of dishes to add a sharp salty taste, rich in umami. Like fish sauce, a strong whiff of just the black beans can be off putting, but once you taste it in the sauce, you too will see the light. It’s just that good.
Make the Black Bean Sauce
First we will whip up the sauce. The fermented black beans need to be softened for a half hour in warm water. This also helps lessen the saltiness. Then they get pureed in the blender with the rest of the sauce ingredients. The rice vinegar adds a nice tang, while the soy sauce adds depth. The sauce can be made ahead, and keeps for up to a week in the fridge. Leftover black bean sauce makes a great dip for raw veggies, or spooned on top of simple grilled meats.
Prepare the Fillings
First you will briefly saute the shiitake mushrooms. The mushrooms are the only cooked component of this dish. The high heat and salt soften and flavor the shiitakes.
While the mushrooms cool, prep your other ingredients. Shred the carrots. Slice the tofu. I use tofu cutlets, which have been lightly fried. If you can’t find them, regular tofu works well also. Have your greens ready to go too.
Make sure you have enough work space. If you don’t have a lot of counter space, you can always use your dining room table as a work surface. I like to have everything in an assembly line to make it faster. First you dip the rice wrapper in the hot water, to soften it and make it pliable. They are very delicate and tear easily, so handle with care. Then you add the fillings, in a line down the center:
The mushrooms, tofu, greens, avocado and carrots all get added. Then you roll it up like a cigar. It isn’t unlike wrapping burritos.
Once you get the hang of working with the rice paper, it goes quickly. And these vegetarian spring rolls are make ahead. When they are all done, you can cover with them a damp paper towel (to prevent the rice paper from drying/cracking) and they will hold in the fridge for several hours. For a beautiful presentation for a party, slice the rolls in half and sit them upright on a platter:
My vegetarian spring rolls with black bean dipping sauce are a tried and true crowd favorite. If you make them, we want to know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag us in your photos, @funkyasiankitchen. Show us the goods!Print
A perfect vegetarian starter! Fresh, not fried, veggie filled rolls.
- 1 bag baby salad greens (about 5 ounces)
- 1 ½ avocados, peeled and cut into thin slices (about 18 pieces)
- 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- 1 block (6.5 ounce package) fried tofu (you can find already fried tofu in Asian markets or substitute fresh firm tofu)
- 1 large carrot peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater or shredded on a mandoline
- ½ bunch cilantro or basil, or a mix
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- a pinch of salt and pepper
- 8 pieces of dried rice paper (available at specialty Asian markets)
- ¼ cup fermented Chinese black beans
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 large cloves garlic roughly chopped
- ½ cup warm water, divided
- 2 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 stems scallions trimmed and roughly chopped
- ½ cup neutral oil
Make the Sauce:
- To make the dipping sauce, put the beans in ¼ cup warm water and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Drain the beans before continuing.
- Put the drained beans, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, remaining ¼ cup water, sugar, and scallions into a blender. Blend until smooth.
- With the blender running, add the oil slowly to make a rich creamy sauce.
- The sauce can be made ahead and keeps covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
For the rolls:
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat for a couple mins. Add the oil, the mushrooms, and a dash of salt and pepper.
- Cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally until they have released their juices, 2-3 mins.
- Continue to cook for a couple more mins. until the pan is relatively dry and then remove the pan from the heat.
- Put the mushrooms aside in a bowl to cool.
- Cut the tofu in half widthwise to create two thinner pieces and then cut the tofu into thin strips. Put the tofu into a small bowl.
- Clear an area on your kitchen countertop to start rolling the spring rolls. Put all of your filling ingredients in front of you so they are easy to reach.
- Fill a large bowl with warm water and submerge the rice paper into the water completely, just for a moment. Let the excess water drip back into the bowl and then put the rice paper rice on the counter (it will soften within a couple seconds). Repeat so you have two pieces of soaked rice paper, side by side. Use a paper towel to dab any excess water sitting on the rice paper.
- Place a small handful of the lettuce in the center of each rice paper. Add a tablespoon of mushrooms, a couple strips of tofu, 2 pieces of avocado, a few sprigs of herbs and 1 tablespoon of grated carrot. Roll the spring roll tightly to form a fat cigar-like roll.
- Continue preparing and rolling with the remaining sheets of rice paper. You will yield 8 pieces.
- After your rolls are finished, cover them with a slightly damp paper towel and plastic wrap. The rolls will keep for several hours in the refrigerator. Serve with the sauce on the side.
*The best part of fresh spring rolls is the chewy texture, which tends to harden in the fridge. I do not recommend making the rolls too far ahead of time. I also think leftover spring rolls are not as delicious. Instead, you can make the sauce and prep the ingredients ahead of time.
*Only roll what you can consume in one sitting and roll more with your leftovers the next day. Feeling too lazy to roll again? Take your leftovers and put them into a bowl. Pour the sauce over everything and dig in!