Day 60 – Recipe: Jackfruit Thai Curry with Bell Peppers and Cashews (vegan, gluten-free, corn-free)

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The first (and only time) I’ve ever had Jackfruit was at a little vegan restaurant in Los Angeles called Pure Luck. I read on Yelp that it is now closed, which is unfortunate because that place was such a find. Their entire menu was built around jackfruit, they didn’t have any soy or fake meats, just jackfruit (Just Jack! fruit LOL). I think I had some kind of BBQ jackfruit sandwich… I don’t remember exactly what it was but I know it was delicious.

I started looking for Jackfruit recipes online last week because I’d remembered seeing cans of it at the Asian market. The first recipe to catch my eye came up on about.com, Jackfruit Curry with Bell Peppers, Cashews and Lime Leaf, by Darlene Schmidt. Even though I’m not a huge fan of bell peppers I decided to go for it. I’ve made a few of Darlene’s recipes before and they were all amazing, I figured this one would be too.

So I went to Lee Lee’s Market looking for cans of “jackfuit in water or brine” (which I really thought I’d seen there) and all I could find was “jackfruit in syrup”, which wasn’t the right kind. So I went to the frozen section and after 10 minutes of looking I finally found frozen jackfruit (why is it so difficult to find anything at Asian markets?!). But I found both green jackfuit and ripe jackfruit, and unfortunately had a brain fart and couldn’t remember which one I was supposed to buy so I grabbed the ripe jackfruit. Wrong one. This is why I ended up at the store again the next day, to return the ripe jackfruit and get the correct one. This is what I finally ended up with:

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Completely frozen solid. I put it in hot water to defrost and it was fine after 30 minutes. I ended up using 2 packages because it didn’t seem like there was much fruit in one package. So here is the recipe I followed, it is slightly different from Darlene’s only because I couldn’t find vegetarian fish sauce, but nevertheless it turned out absolutely delicious. I will definitely make this again. I don’t know if it was the brand of jackfuit I used or what but it was different than I’d remembered. This time the texture was more like a canned artichoke heart or hearts of palm, and kind of tasted like that too… but it was still really good.

Jackfruit Curry with Bell Peppers and Cashews

  • 2 packages frozen jackfruit, preferably unripe/green, OR 2 cans prepared jackfruit in water or brine (not syrup), drained

  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 12 wedges

  • 1 large green bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped/sliced

  • 1 large red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped/sliced

  • 5 dried black mushrooms, soaked in water for 2 hours to rehydrate then drained, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup dry roasted (unsalted) cashews

  • 1 can coconut milk

  • generous handful of fresh basil for garnish

  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil for stir-frying

  • white wine (or white cooking wine) for stir-frying

PASTE:

  • 3 large green onions (or 6 small), sliced thin

  • 2 fresh red chilies (or more if you want it ultra spicy), sliced thin

  • 8 whole lime leaves, fresh or frozen, snipped into tiny strips

  • 8 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 Tbsp lime juice

  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos

  • 1 Tbsp dulse, snipped into flakes

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil

  • 4 Tbsp tamari sauce

  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar

PREPARATION

  1. First, prepare the curry paste. Place all paste ingredients together in a food processor or mini-chopper and process well. Lime Leaf Tip: Prepare the lime leaves using kitchen scissors to cut out (and discard) the hard central stem. If lime leaves are frozen, you can quickly thaw them by running under some hot water. Set paste aside.

  2. Cut jackfruit into desired bite size pieces, either in strips or cubes/chunks (as you would with chicken). Set aside.

  3. Place 2 Tbsp. oil in a wok or deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add a little of the wine (1/2 to 1 Tbsp. at a time) instead of more oil whenever wok/pan becomes dry.

  4. Add the bell peppers. Continue stir-frying another 3 minutes, or until peppers have softened and turned bright in color. Again, add a little wine when wok/pan becomes dry to keep ingredients frying nicely.

  5. Add the green jackfuit and black mushrooms. Stir-fry another 3 minutes and add wine for stir-frying if needed.

  6. Add the paste you made earlier, plus the coconut milk. Stir well to combine.

  7. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, allowing curry to gently simmer 2-3 minutes, or until ingredients are nicely cooked, but not overcooked. Tip: Try not to overcook this curry, or you will lose the fragrance and taste of the paste.

  8. Just before serving, add the cashews, gently stirring them in. Now do a taste-test, looking for a balance of salty, sour, sweet and spicy. If not salty enough, add more tamari, or a little salt. If too salty for your taste, add another squeeze of lime/lemon juice. If not spicy enough, add more fresh chili. If too spicy, add a little more coconut milk. Add a little more sugar if too sour.

  9. To serve, either portion out in bowls or on plates, or ladle the curry into a serving dish. Sprinkle with generous amounts of fresh basil, and serve with brown rice or quinoa. ENJOY!

Serves 4 – 6, depending on how much they like curry!

 

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Day 31 – Recipe: M Cafe’s Curried Cauliflower Salad

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If there is only one recipe you that bookmark on this blog, it should be this one. It’s a keeper. This is probably the most delicious salad I’ve ever had. Well, actually it’s a tie between this one and M Café’s Kale Salad.

This was the first M Café recipe I found online. I’ve made it a few times now and the only big thing I’ve changed from the actual recipe is the amount of salt I put in it. The first time I made it I followed the recipe exactly and it was way too salty, so much that it was inedible. It doesn’t even need half the amount of salt recipe calls for. I also only make half of the cashews because it’s kind of unnecessary to make 2 cups when the recipe only calls for a 1/2 cup.

The chopping is somewhat laborious but believe me this salad is a labor of love – you will be so happy when you’re eating it that you won’t care that it took you almost 2 hours to prepare.

So here it is, slightly adapted from the Los Angeles Times version: (here is the easier-to-read version from epicurious.com)

M Cafe’s Curried Cauliflower Salad

For the cashews:

  • 1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup, preferably grade B
  • scant 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • pinch sea salt

For the curried cauliflower:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Pinch dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2.5 – 3 heads cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets (about 8 cups)

For the Salad

  • 3 tablespoons raw honey or agave
  • 1.5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • curried cauliflower
  • 1 cup fresh or previously frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced dried apricot
  • 1/2 cup curried cashews
  • 1/2 cup (1/4 bunch) roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine the maple syrup, curry powder and salt. Toss the cashews with the spiced maple syrup, then spread again on the baking sheet. Roast for 8 – 10 minutes until fragrant and golden brown (be careful not to burn!). Remove from heat and cool well. This makes more cashews than are needed for the remainder of the recipe; the cashews can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container.
  2. Increase oven temp to 400°F. In a (very) large bowl or pot, whisk together the olive oil, curry powder, salt, cumin, coriander, mustard and ginger. Add the cauliflower florets and toss to combine and evenly coat.
  3. Spread the florets in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until golden-brown and aromatic, 20 – 30 minutes, tossing once or twice for even cooking. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  4. For the salad: In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the agave syrup, lemon juice and olive oil to form finishing syrup. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, toss together the cauliflower, peas, bell pepper and apricots. Pour over half of the finishing syrup and toss to combine. Stir in the cashews, cilantro and salt. Taste, adding additional finishing syrup if desired and adjusting the seasoning as needed. Cover and refrigerate a couple of hours to give the flavors time to marry before serving. This makes about 8 cups salad.

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Disclaimer: this is not my recipe!

I usually pour all of the dressing over the salad. The original recipe calls for less apricots but I really like them in the salad so I add more.

Make this salad ASAP!