Sometimes I crave food from a specific region, just because of one ingredient that I want to try. In this case, I finally found a can of jackfruit (in brine) and I wanted to honour my first jackfruit experience with the spicy glory of an Ethiopian W’et. I cannot take credit for this idea – it is suggested in the notes of the epic zine Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food by Kittee Berns. She suggested the combination, and I will happily report that it is fantastic! I paired it with collard greens sautéed in niter kibbeh (want a challenge? Try to find collard greens in Canada!) and lentil allecha. The result was a protein packed, delicious Ethiopian feast with a kick that cleaned the sinuses – just the way I like it!
I still don’t know what a jackfruit looks like. I assume they don’t come in a can all the time, but that’s how I got mine. I made sure it was packed in brine and not syrup, because they can be used for dessert dishes (predominately Indonesian) as well. Coming out of the can the pieces were like pineapple. They were cut in a triangle shape, with the base of the triangle somewhat fibrous and the centre ‘point’ nice and firm. I will admit I had no idea how to cut the pieces, so I just hacked them to be bite size. As the jackfruit cooks, the fibrous part separates and it becomes more like pulled-pork type consistency, with the firm part staying firm. What an interesting fruit – two different textures just by cooking it! The spicy gravy of the w’et paired with the jackfruit perfectly, and the result was sheer deliciousness. The collared greens and allecha I have made versions of before, with spinach instead of collards and split peas instead of lentils and they were just as good the second go around. Injera also freezes exceptionally well – my platter of injera was from the first batch. The gravy’s for the w’et and allecha can be found on Kittee’s website here, although I strongly encourage you to get a copy of Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food for your collection. It is a much loved tome of excellence!
I will definitely be experimenting with jackfruit again. It stole the show from the other two – if this was a music group they would be called “Jack the Fruit and Friends”. You appreciate the friends, but it’s all about the hot lead singer, who also happens to be the drummer.