Here is a salad that we had in Viet Nam on our last trip. It’s a nice change from the usual Gỏi of either cabbage, cucumbers, lotus root, mango, and papaya, – which I love all the same. Green, unripe jackfruit is something I didn’t grow up eating but have come to really enjoy since trying it in Viet Nam. Until fairly recently, the only types of jackfruit available in the States were the canned version that was packed in syrup, dried or perhaps frozen in plastic packages — all of ripened fruit. Nowadays, fresh and ripened jackfruit has become available, though still quite dear. To see what the inside of a fresh jackfruit looks like and watch a video on how to harvest a ripened fruit, head over to WhiteOnRiceCouple‘s post here.
Outside of Southeast Asia (as well as parts of South America, Australia and Africa), young and unripe (green) jackfruit (Mít Non) is mainly available packed in water or brine and canned. Unlike ripe (yellow) jackfruit, unripe jackfruit can be eaten whole – that is, flesh and seeds, as both are still tender. It has a fairly neutral taste that seems to absorb whatever dressing you give it and serves as a textural contrast to the shrimp, pork, sesame seeds (or peanuts) and crunchy fried shallots. My favorite brand for green jackfruit is Richin – I’ve found that the fruit is never discolored but is white and unblemished and the texture tender without being mushy.
GỞI MÍT TÔM THỊT – VIETNAMESE GREEN JACKFRUIT SALAD WITH SHRIMP AND PORK
INGREDIENTS: (4 main-dish servings)
- Three (3) cans – 10 oz. (280 grams) of green (unripe) jackfruit
- juice of 1 small-medium lime
- 1 Tbl. (15g) sugar
- 1 (5g) tsp. salt
- 1/2 lb. (225g) poached pork tenderloin or pork belly [chicken breast can also be substituted]
- 1/2 lb. (225g) fresh unpeeled, de-veined shrimp
- large handful of Viet. coriander (rau răm) and spearmint (rau húng)
- 1 Tbl. (15g) lightly toasted white sesame seeds
- 3 Tbl. (45g) Crispy Fried Shallots (hành phi)
- sweet-sour dressing – (nước chấm)
- lightly crushed, freshly roasted peanuts (optional)
- shrimp chips (bánh phồng tôm) or Viet sesame rice crackers (bánh tráng mè)
In a skillet, dry-fry the shrimp for several minutes until opaque in color. Allow to cool before removing shells – leaving the tails intact. Set aside.
Poach the pork until cooked through. The internal temperature should reach 160F. Allow to cool before thinly slicing into 1/4 inch (.5cm) strips. Soak the jackfruit in clean water for about 15 minutes. Drain and (using your hands or a potato ricer) squeeze the jackfruit segments to remove excess liquid. Cut the jackfruit segments into thin strips, similar in size to the pork. In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar, lime and salt. Once dissolved, add the jackfruit along with the pork and toss to combine. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine the marinated jackfruit and pork with the shrimp and herbs (I leave the herbs whole, but you can roughly chop them if you prefer). Just before serving, toss the ingredients with 2-3 Tbl. of Nước Chấm (add more or less depending on your taste). Transfer to a serving plate. Scatter sesame seeds, fried shallots and crushed peanuts (optional) over the top of the dish. Serve with shrimp chips or sesame rice crackers.