Cooks of MeFi: Can this recipe be right?
September 10, 2017 8:50 AM   Subscribe

So I've been to the place that serves these amazing jackfruit sliders, and I'm excited that they shared the recipe and I can try them at home. But three tablespoons each of cumin and coriander for 16 ounces of jackfruit? That seems a little crazy to me. Can it be right? I have the ingredients ready to go and I can stay at home for the hours of cooking, so I'd really like to make them today, which means I can't contact them and ask.
posted by FencingGal to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Or maybe it's 32 ounces of jackfruit total? The bags of jackfruit I have are 7 ounces each. Even then it seems like a lot.
OK, I'll bow out now.
posted by FencingGal at 8:54 AM on September 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I’m pretty sure they do mean two pounds of jackfruit.

Three tablespoons each of cumin and coriander in five total cups of stock and BBQ sauce seems plausible to me. It’s a lot, but this recipe has the subtlety of a swung 2x4 (not necessarily a bad thing!), and much of the sauce does not make it into the finished “meat.” I’d try it (proportionally) as written.
posted by musicinmybrain at 9:05 AM on September 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Well you've got at least 6 cups of liquid and the tomato paste, so I think it'll be fine. It would be A LOT of cumin/coriander if you only had, like, a cup or so of liquid. But 6 cups is going to really dilute the spices.

And if they're following conventional recipe writing, it's 16 ounces of jackfruit.
posted by cooker girl at 9:06 AM on September 10, 2017

Best answer: Looking at it again, I think they very clumsily mean 2 16 ounce bags of jackfruit.
posted by cooker girl at 9:07 AM on September 10, 2017 [6 favorites]

That sounds like a maaaybe plausible amount of cumin but more coriander than I think I'd want. I also agree that it does sound like you start with 32 oz of jackfruit since your final yield is 2lbs, unless the recipe is contemplating that half the final yield is sauce. You'll have a better sense having eaten the final product and knowing how saucy it's supposed to be.

I'd start with 2 tbs of each, which seems less unreasonable, taste the sauce, and then see if you want to add more
posted by snaw at 9:08 AM on September 10, 2017

Seems totally plausible to me. If you're in doubt, just add one spoon at a time and taste as you go.
posted by monospace at 9:08 AM on September 10, 2017

I'm with you, FencingGal. No way it's not a typo. They meant teaspoons. And even then, it's a shit ton of spice.

Memo to those who think this is right: please disinvite me from your dinner parties! :)
posted by Quisp Lover at 9:14 AM on September 10, 2017

3 teaspoons is 1 Tablespoon. I've never seen a recipe call for "3 teaspoons" of anything.
posted by lazuli at 9:20 AM on September 10, 2017 [20 favorites]

I suspect this is probably right (assuming they do mean two sixteen ounce bags). The thing about jackfruit is that it gives the texture of meat, but its flavor is very delicate compared to all the other things you are adding, so really all the flavor when you are using it as a meat substitute is from the spice flavors it absorbs. So for instance, the last time I used jackfruit to make a pulled pork substitute, I prepared it in a spice and broth solution separately from the Kansas City-style bbq sauce I made, and about as much spice as went into the bbq sauce also went into the separate jackfruit mixture. So probably the reasoning for the large amount here is that it's meant to flavor both simultaneously.
posted by solotoro at 9:33 AM on September 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I make a eight cup soup recipe that called for three tablespoons of cumin and it's just about right. If this is supposed to be a heavily spiced meal (and yeah that is 2 lbs of jackfruit), I'd say it's likely correct.
posted by jessamyn at 9:41 AM on September 10, 2017

Folks who think it’s a crazy amount of spice are probably thinking of it like a soup or stew—the sauce here is more like a marinade. It’s supposed to be intensely flavored, because the jackfruit needs to pick up seasoning, and there will be only a little sauce in a finished slider. I mean, you’re balancing the spices against an entire cup of whiskey, and the cup of sugar contributed by two cups of typical BBQ sauce.
posted by musicinmybrain at 10:03 AM on September 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Cut the spices by 3/4 and see how you like the taste. The up it if it is not to your liking. But those spices are more poignant if cooked in the oil the recipe uses. Otherwise you are making tea of them, rather than releasing their essences.
posted by Oyéah at 10:31 AM on September 10, 2017

I think most recipes are under seasoned, so that sounds about right to me.
posted by yueliang at 10:37 AM on September 10, 2017

Most restaurant food is more heavily spiced than you might expect, and given the amount of liquid 3 TBSP doesn't make me bat an eye. Looking at this recipe, I expect it's the cumin and coriander that help marry the tomato paste and barbecue sauce. If you dropped back down to 3 TSP I think it would just taste like whatever barbecue sauce you've chosen. I'd move forward with it as written.
posted by superfluousm at 10:41 AM on September 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

Math tells me you can't yield 2 lbs of solids from 16oz (1 lbs) of jackfruit. That's definitely means 2 x 16 oz bags (they get restaurant supply sized quantities, prolly 1 lbs to a bag.)

The spice amounts are likely correct, but considering the other typo, just call them and ask!
posted by jbenben at 12:24 PM on September 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

If it makes 2lbs of slider 'meat', there must be 2 lbs of jackfruit.
posted by domo at 12:30 PM on September 10, 2017

Best answer: I vote yes 3 Tablespoons. I make jackfruit carnitas at home in a slow cooker and use one 12 oz can of jackfruit, 18 oz liquids, and about a tablespoon of *whole* cumin and coriander each for this. Note the *whole* spices, not ground!

If I wanted to scale my recipe up to 2 lbs/ 32 oz of jackfruit, I'd: 32 is about 2.5 more than 12, so 1 tablespoon x 2.5= 2.5 tablespoons (or just a little less than this recipe calls for), 18 oz liquids x 2.5= 45 oz = 5.5 cups, or just a little less than what this recipe calls for.

The way it works is, you are making a huge pan of sauce. You will cook your shredded fruit in the sauce. Then, remove the fruit, drain, and put on sandwiches (I actually pan fry mine a bit to get it a little less wet). You will have about 3/4s of the sauce you started with at the end. You throw out the sauce afterward (at least that's what I do).
posted by holyrood at 1:39 PM on September 10, 2017

Best answer: i've prepared jackfruit in a similar style a few times, and i agree that it takes more spicing than intuition would take. On the other hand, too much cumin is one of the few things that can truly ruin a meal. I'd recommend trying a smaller amount of cumin and coriander and just seeing if the taste is right after some time of cooking and if not adding more.

also not quite relevant to the question but i would like to share that IME other excellent additions in a marinade for jackfruit to add a bit of savoury depth are soy sauce, MSG and peanut/nut butters.
posted by Deece BJ Pancake at 1:59 PM on September 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: OK, I made it. First of all, I think holyrood is right that they mean whole spices rather than ground. But I didn't see that until I had it in the oven, and I followed the recipe with the same amounts using ground spices and holy fuck, it is horrible. I really should have listened to the people who said to experiment with smaller amounts, though based on the way it tastes, I think even a tablespoon of each spice would not have worked..

For an attempt at rescue, I took a few cups of the jackfruit, rinsed the marinade off a whole bunch of times, and warmed it up with a lot more barbecue sauce. Then I put it on a bun with more barbecue sauce and some coleslaw (which is how they served it in the restaurant), and it is OK, but not the sublime experience I had at the restaurant. If anyone has any other ideas for rescue, I'd love to hear it.

Thanks to everyone who tried to figure it out. I think the recipe is just unclear (if the problem is that they meant whole spices), and I have a new appreciation for cookbook editors.
posted by FencingGal at 4:09 PM on September 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Also, it's very possible that other people were assuming whole spices and just didn't say so, so I don't want to say other people were necessarily wrong.
posted by FencingGal at 4:14 PM on September 10, 2017

Thank you for the update. I actually think you did agreat job salvaging it. Maybe try adding reduced orange juice to the BBQ for the next go at salvaging this batch? and definitely building up a little caramelization in a dry pan before placing it on the bun.
posted by jbenben at 8:25 PM on September 10, 2017

sorry to hear it didn't work out. I agree, it is an unclear recipe.
posted by holyrood at 10:42 PM on September 10, 2017

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