The key is to not sacrifice texture or taste; this is why people love jackfruit — its stringy consistency is reminiscent of pulled pork and often served with barbecue sauce. A relative of figs and breadfruit, jackfruit grows in tropical areas of Southeast Asia, Brazil and Africa. It’s an increasingly popular low-carb, low-sugar meat substitute in plant-forward cooking as it can take on the flavor of any sauce or seasoning. The Culinary Institute developed this recipe as a simple alternative to pork tacos. When you find a plant-based ingredient that captures the qualities of a specific meat ingredient like pork, you try out all your favorite pork dishes and then learn from which flavor profiles, spices and ingredients match up best. In this case, spices like cumin, chili powder and paprika are spot-on accents, as are yellow onions, garlic, chipotle pepper and, of course, lime juice.
Shredded cabbage, for serving chopped cilantro, for serving toasted pumpkin seeds, for serving
Trim the jackfruit, removing center core. Chop or pull remaining pieces into shreds. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium—high heat. Add onion and sauté until onions are golden brown, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 20 seconds.
Add jackfruit, salt, paprika, cumin, chili powder, syrup, chipotle peppers and their adobo sauce, soy sauce, water, and lime juice. Stir to coat and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the jackfruit has absorbed the sauce and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use the back of the spoon to break the jackfruit up into smaller pieces, if desired.
Serve the jackfruit and sauce with corn tortillas, topped with cabbage, cilantro, and pumpkin seeds.