Nicely spiced jackfruit “crab cakes” with jalapeño remoulade are delicious in a bun, on a salad, or on their own for lunch or dinner. And they are much easier to make than you might think.
Jackfruit seems to be the vegan chef’s meat substitute of choice in 2018. Yeah, I know we are already halfway through the year. And you’ve probably seen jackfruit on menus since at least 2014 (I know I have). But jackfruit has broken free from its faddy label and seems to a regular in not only chefs’ kitchens, but those of home cooks, too. From “carnitas” to tacos, “pulled pork” to “tuna melts”, jackfruit is the natural faux “meat” of choice. Some clever clogs has even made some very realistic looking “fried chicken” with it.
And it makes fantastic “crab cakes”. I think it might be Andrew’s favourite main course that I’ve made all year.
Sorry for all of the “”s.
Outside of its native Bangladesh and southeast Asia, this huge, rugby ball-shaped, leather-jacketed fruit is the flexitarian’s go-to when cutting back on meat. They love it for its texture, which – as alluded to above – curiously imitates pulled pork, canned tuna and shredded chicken. And for its lack of taste. Like tofu, it is willing and able to absorb any flavours you throw at it. You can find fresh ones in specialist markets, but most people – myself included – buy it canned in brine. I found a fresh one at a huge Asian supermarket in St Petersburg Florida. It was a whopper and staggeringly heavy – and spiky. Jackfruit also comes preserved in syrup, so definitely read the label before making this or any other savoury jackfruit recipe! I’ve tried frozen but wasn’t impressed. At all. Maybe that was just bad luck. But tinned is fine for all Western recipes. Be sure to look for “green” or “young” on the label. Ripe jackfruit is a different prospect altogether. It’s more like mango in texture and is sweet.
Um, not much. That’s not to say it isn’t good for you. It’s pretty good on fiber, and has some B vitamins. But a credible long-term meat substitute it is not. While 100 grams of firm tofu has a 9 grams of protein, the same of prepped jackfruit has just shy of 0.7 grams.
So, my best advice for this interesting fruit is to make sure to pair it with something that has decent protein. Beans, tofu, pseudo-grains like quinoa are best for vegans. Otherwise serve it up with eggs, dairy or even seafood itself. Jackfruit can pad out a recipes that contain meat, much like you can do with tofu and lentils.
In today’s recipe you will get protein from the quinoa – it’s to help bind the whole mixture together – and from the yogurt in the remoulade sauce. I’ve used a chia egg to do the necessary, but an egg would be even better.
Jackfruit Crab Cakes are super easy to make
It really is as simple as chopping a few things in a food processor or by hand, sprinkling in some spices and squishing it all together – with your hands. I used a set of crumpet rings to make my cakes uniformly round, but you can just make large-ish golf balls (!) and press into shape. I do think it is best to pop the formed mixture into the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up. Otherwise you do risk them falling apart when you turn them in your skillet. But crumbly or firm, they will still taste great. Pinky swear.
Also, I recommend you buy McCormick Old Bay Seasoning. It’s an essential flavour blend for any US crab cake recipe, and I’ve used it in my Vegetable Pot Pie recipe too. I add it in cheese sauces and on popcorn as well. If you can’t get this quintessential American spice blend, use poultry seasoning, or make a close version of Old Bay with this recipe on Epicurious.
Before you head on down to the recipe, if you fancy making your own pickled jalapeños, head over to my Instagram post giving a recipe for this indispensable food stuff. Homemade jalapeños are sooo much nicer than bought – crisp and fresh-tasting. And super-easy. They only take about 10 minutes to make a couple of jam jars’-worth. I put them on any likely thing.
Further inspiration: 18 jackfruit recipes that will make you forget about meat
Have you made anything with jackfruit? How did it turn out?
Jackfruit Crab Cakes with Jalapeño Remoulade
Jackfruit “crab cakes” with jalapeño remoulade are delicious in a bun, on a salad, or on their own for lunch or dinner. And they are much easier to make than you might think. If you don’t fancy the remoulade, why not have them with cocktail sauce, or even just some ketchup? xx
400g can of jackfruit in brine or water (225g drained weight), thoroughly rinsed and drained
2 spring onions, finely chopped, including some green
2 grated garlic cloves
2 stalk of celery, finely chopped
100g (about 1 cup) Panko Breadcrumbs
125g (2/3 cup) cooked quinoa
1 chia egg, egg replacer or actual egg, beaten (medium)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 heaped tbsp Seaweed flakes (optional, but adds a lovely seafood flavour)
Oil to fry with (I use organic Scottish rapeseed oil)
The Jalapeño Remoulade
10 pickled jalapeño slices, chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 spring onions, chopped
3 tbsp mayonnaise of choice (this is my easy recipe for aquafaba mayo/aïoli)
4 tbsp plain yogurt of choice
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt to taste
To serve: lemon or lime wedges, loads of salad leaves (include something bitter/sharp, like rocket), avocado, cucumber; burger buns if you like
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
1. For the crab cakes, tip the jackfruit and cooked quinoa into a food processor and pulse a few times to break it up. Otherwise, place the jackfruit on a chopping board and chop it up very well with a heavy knife.
2. Scrape the jackfruit and quinoa into a mixing bowl and add the remaining crab cake ingredients. Use your hands to squish it all together into a cohesive mess. You can pulse everything in a food processor if you are careful not to make it into a paste.
3. Divide the mixture into 6 lumps and roll each into a rough ball. Place them on the baking sheet. Press each lump into a cake/burger shape, or use a burger shaper/crumpet rings. Place in your freezer for 30 minutes, or in your fridge for about 45 minutes.
4. While the cakes are chilling, make the remoulade by tipping everything into a small mixing bowl and just stirring together. Taste for seasoning, adjusting as needed.
5. When the cakes are firm, pour some of the panko breadcrumbs onto a plate and carefully press them into the cakes. You may wish to brush them with milk, but I haven’t needed to do this.
6. To cook the crab cakes, heat a thin layer of oil in a saute pan for two minutes over a medium flame. Add a few crab cakes to the pan and lightly flatten them into the oil. Allow them to cook for about four minutes on each side, or until golden. Carry on with the remaining cakes. Put the cooked crab cakes on paper towels while you assemble your salad bits or slice your buns. Serve warm with the remoulade sauce and lemon wedges. Leftovers can be reheated in a hot oven.
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