Makes about 6-8 tacos
I have never had pulled pork anything. Never. Not once. I may not know what pork actually tastes like, but I can tell you that these tacos taste great, pork-like or not. Pretty spicy, a little sweet, nicely balanced with a crunchy slaw.. I was pretty happy with the result. They were well-received, not just from my mouth, but from a friend as well. These tacos do require a few ingredients you may not have on hand, but they make up for that by being incredibly easy to execute. You will not only feel like a master of Asian-Mexican fusion, but you will also impress whoever you serve these to. Even if it's just your own stomach.
Our 'pork' is jackfruit. Jackfruit is a fruit found primarily in South Asian cuisine. They will not be easy to find in a typical grocery store, so if you can, go to an Asian market or check with a 'non-traditional' grocer. Luckily for me, I live just a few blocks from Asian markets, so it was pretty easy for me to find. They are massive, so I prefer to buy them in cans instead of trying to lug one of those crazy fruits home. One day, I will make the attempt and make some fresh jackfruit, but for now, the cans will do. When buying the cans, though, you need to make sure they are in water rather than syrup. Canned jackfruit also has less flavor than fresh. While this is a negative if you want to try jackfruit on it's own, it is very positive for these tacos. It gives us a mostly blank canvas to work on.
For the barbecue sauce, we are also using an ingredient that may not be very easy to find, but this one has a substitute. To make Korean barbecue sauce, you should be used Korean fermented hot pepper paste, which is called gochujang. If you can find it, I would highly recommend sticking with it. However, if you can't, a combination of sriracha and tomato paste is an acceptable substitute. If you don't have that on hand.. well, I don't really know how to help you.. in any aspect of your life, to be quite honest. Who doesn't love sriracha?
To help cool down the heat of the barbecue sauce and to add a little crunch, we're going to top these tacos with a lightly pickled slaw. I chose to use nappa cabbage, snow peas, scallions, and some sesame seeds. I also added the juice of a lime to cut down the heat in the sauce. Feel free to experiment with the slaw a bit, maybe add some julienned cucumbers or daikon.
Now, of course, because I have never had pork, I made these for a friend who does eat meat. His commentary? They tasted great, the sauce was delicious, and they looked very realistic. However, he said that the texture was not the same as normal pulled pork. I have seen some other recipes for 'pulled jackfruit' that bake it in the oven after cooking. Apparently, this helps with the texture, making it more pork-like. Since this wasn't an issue for me and, honestly, since I don't even know what texture I would be looking for, I didn't bake mine. Either way, you should make these tacos asap. After all, it is Tuesday!
Korean BBQ Pulled Fruit Tacos
My name is Ellen Jane and I spend my free time doing vegan experiments in my kitchen so you don't have to. Take a look around.