I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted this at Harris Farm Markets over the weekend. It's Jackfruit! Not frozen, not in can, but fresh tropical jackfruit! I believe not many people have heard of or seen jackfruit before in Australia, let alone taste it. Jackfruit is a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia where I came from but thankfully now it is also commercially grown in far north Queensland.
A great initiatives in Australian agriculture slowly introducing many other exotic fruits which are foreign to the locals including mangosteen, custard apple, longans and rambutans just to name a few. These are the type of fruit that I grew up with and finally able to taste it again in foreign soil has definitely make me rather homesick and nostalgic.
At $4.99/kg, I brought home a quarter of the whole fruit, that cost me a little over $5. The skin of the jackfruit is thick and prickly, but not to be confused with durian fruit, which is totally different thing. The jackfruit that I bought is the hard type which also called Nangka, or Mangkat in Malay. The yellow flesh of the jackfruit is starchy and fibrous. It has an acquired taste that has been described as a strange mix of mango, banana and lychee.
I personally prefer the soft type jackfruit called Cempedak, which is much sweeter and stronger in flavour. The stone inside the flesh is also edible, either boiled, steamed, baked or roasted with a similar taste to chestnuts. But the stones are too young and small from the one I bought so I didn't keep them.
One of the popular street food you can get in Malaysia is deep fried jackfruit. If you like banana fritter, then this is ten times better than that! Imagine like a small lump of golden nugget with a sweet aromatic flossy filling inside. The trick is to get the batter light and crunchy, and eat it when it still hot! I simply mixed a cup of plain flour, with a teaspoon of salt, a cup of caster sugar and a cup of carbonated water for that extra crunchiness. I also added half teaspoon mixture of cardamom and cinnamon into the batter to give it a nice spiced flavour.
Deep fry the batter jackfruit in hot canola oil, then drain well and let it cool down over some old newspaper which also help to soak up the excessive oil. The result is not bad, but I still prefer the soft type which works better for deep frying. How I wish I have some vanilla ice cream to go with this crunchy golden nuggets. Go on, I urge you to give the new fruit available in the market a try. As a foodie, you always should try everything once, right?