Chef Cameron Stauch (SCS Class of 1999) recommends this recipe as an intro to his book Vegetarian Viet Nam. It’s bursting with fresh herbal flavours, crunchy textures and a sweet chili dressing. Most of the ingredients can be found at major grocers (Vietnamese coriander may require a trip to Chinatown). Use young green jackfruit in water, not brine, and not the ripe yellow jackfruit in syrup that’s used in desserts. If you cannot find Vietnamese coriander, substitute with Thai basil or double the amount of cilantro. Fried shallots can be found at Asian grocers, if you don’t want to fry your own. If you are super lazy, don’t toast the sesame seeds and rice crackers.
Young Jackfruit Salad (Goi mit Chay)
For the garnish
1 tbsp (15 mL) black or white sesame seeds
1 small shallot
1/2 cup (125 mL) vegetable or canola oil
4-12 sesame rice crackers, depending on size of crackers
In a small pan over medium heat, add sesame seeds. Shake pan occasionally until seeds are fragrant and slightly toasted, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest in a bowl. Set aside.
Peel and slice shallot thinly crosswise. Break shallot slices apart into rings. Heat oil in a small pot over medium-high heat. When oil reaches 350 F (180 C), add shallots and fry until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove shallots from oil with a slotted spoon and let rest on a paper towel. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Place crackers on a lined baking sheet and toast for 3 to 4 minutes, flipping halfway, or until edges are golden brown. Remove from heat. Set aside.
For the dressing
3 tbsp (45 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 mL) water
2 tbsp (30 mL) rice vinegar
1 tsp (5 mL) light Chinese or Japanese soy sauce
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp (20 mL) lime juice
1/2 tsp (2 mL) kosher salt
1 red bird’s eye chili or Thai chili, sliced lengthwise, seeded and finely chopped (leave in seeds for more heat)
1 garlic clove, finely minced
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, water, rice vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice and salt until sugar has fully dissolved. Whisk in chilies and garlic. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Set aside.
For the salad
17 oz. (482 g) can young green jackfruit in water, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1/4 lb. (112 g) oyster mushrooms, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1-1/4 cup)
1/4 tsp (1 mL) kosher salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
1/2 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 small white onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup (80 mL) roughly chopped Vietnamese coriander leaves
2 tbsp (30 mL) roughly chopped cilantro leaves
2 tbsp (30 mL) roughly chopped mint leaves
Chop jackfruit into bite-sized pieces, discarding any hard bits. Place in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
In a small pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Sauté until mushrooms are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add cooked mushrooms to one side of mixing bowl, pushing jackfruit to another side. Let mushrooms cool to room temperature. Add carrot, onion, coriander, cilantro and mint to bowl. Add half of dressing and toss salad. Taste. Add more dressing as necessary. Divide salad into serving bowls and garnish with toasted sesame seeds, fried shallots and toasted rice crackers.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe from Vegetarian Viet Nam, by Cameron Stauch, from an article by Karon Lui published in the Toronto Star.