If you can find a green Jakfruit, acquire about 2 lbs of it. If the jakfruit is ripe, you won’t have to cook it and you won’t have to worry about latex. It will be yellow inside and will have a rich, heavy perfume. Ripe jakfruit is perfectly suitable for this salad, but is (no surprise) very sweet; you will probably want to modify the spicing to mesh well with it. In a pinch, you might get away with fresh pineapple or even a mixture of canned pineapple and canned lychees, but I haven’t tried that -- so far, I have only made this one when there was jakfruit to be had around town (summertime).
I have made this salad several times now, and I’m fairly comfortable with it, but I do not consider myself an expert, so please take my method with a few grains of salt; I had to work it out from a mixture of first principles and some information about Breadfruit.
Remove the skin from the Jakfruit, and also the core. (The core may be edible, but seemed fairly tough, so I didn’t use it.) Note that the pulp of the fruit is a series of fibrous columns, the largest of which are hollow and contain seeds. Rip apart, remove seeds, and put the meat into water that is acidulated with rice vinegar, lime or lemon juice, or (if necessary) plain white vinegar. (Malt or cider vinegar might work, but I haven’t tried ’em, so you’re on your own.)
When you have prepared as much Jakfruit as you can stand, take the meat out of the sour water and throw it into lightly salted boiling water for a minute or two, until it just becomes tender. Pour it into a colander or sieve as if it were spaghetti, and run cold water over it to keep it from cooking further. Try to get the sticky latex off your hands, your knife, and your cutting board. Good luck.
(If your green Jakfruit comes out of a can, just pour the liquid off
and use it.)
If the duck is frozen, thaw it. Remove the neck & giblets from the
body cavity. (I tend to saute the innards and eat them. The neck can
go into the recipe if you like.) Stick the duck many times with a
fork, and put it in boiling water. After 10 or 12 minutes, turn
it over. After another 10 or 12 minutes, remove it. (I had to cut the
duck in half and use 2 pots because I didn’t have a really big one
handy. Such is life.) Cut the duck into manageable pieces and proceed
Fry the garlic in the smallest possible amount of extra-virgin olive oil. When it is going well, add the pepper and cook a little longer. (I actually did this at the end and added it to the final sauce, but it’s probably better in the marinade.)
Mix up the marinade, and put the duck pieces in it. Soak them for at least half an hour, turning them several times. An hour is better if you have the time.
Put the pieces into a shallow baking dish (reserving the marinade) and broil or roast them until they are nicely done on both sides. If there is any liquid in the dish at the end of this process, return it to the marinade.
Pour the marinade into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Taste it,
and adjust as necessary. (I ended up adding a bit of Tamari and a
couple little splashes of Raspberry vinegar.) Thicken with cornstarch,
water-chestnut starch, or what-have-you.
If you are just making roast duck, put the sauce out as a gravy. If
you are making duck salad, cut the duck meat into little bits, mix it
into the Jakfruit, and pour as much of the sauce over it as you
want. I also threw in 2 tomatoes, sliced small. If you want to get
fancy try serving this, either hot or cold, over wide rice noodles.
1) My cooking seems to be a bit eclectic. This recipe is an example of what happens if I try to make chicken salad. (What can I say? I actually got the original idea about 22 years ago, from a can of green Jakfruit that I never did get around to using. It’s better fresh anyway, doubtless.)
2) Bert Grant (Yakima Brewing Co) used to make about the best commercial bottled cider on the North American continent, but the Gummit stopped him, for some wretchedly stupid reason. He then made “Grant’s Honey-Apple Ale”, which was basically half cider and half ale-style mead. It was very good, but he died a few years after I wrote this up, and you’ll have to find a substitute. If you can get a really good dry cider, with nothing in it but apples & yeast & maybe water, use it -- that’s what you really want. You can use a good perry, too, if you can actually find any and if you like the flavor. Remember, the word “cider” really means fermented apple juice, which we usually call “hard cider” in the US.
3) Grains of Paradise: this excellent spice, the seed of a plant in the ginger family, fell out of European cooking about 300 years ago. It is still used in West Africa, mostly under the name of “Guinea-Pepper”. You can find it in Tom Stobart’s excellent book Herbs, Spices, and Flavorings, which should be out in paperback, and in Spices by Harkins. To me, crushed Grains of Paradise smell like oranges, vanilla, and lavender; I typically use them with fowl. You may be able to get them from Tenzing Momo & Co., 93 Pike Market, Seattle WA 98101; from Aphrodisia, 45 Washington Street, Brooklyn NY 11201; or from Penzey’s.
4) The Habanero is quite possibly the hottest pepper in the world. It runs slightly ahead of the closely-related Scotch Bonnet. It comes in green (unripe), orange, red, and deep red. (The deep red cultivar, named ’Red Savina’, is considerably hotter than the regular kind so hot, in fact, that when I grew it in Seattle it ripened about as hot as a store-bought Habanero!) A Habanero is, in general, about 50 times as hot as a Jalapeno, so one is quite enough for the recipe. (If you are a wimp you can use just a small piece of one.) Mince it absolutely as fine as you can, and then wash your hands about 8 times (I am not kidding; if you don’t believe me, just lick one of your fingers), or try this method.
One of the nicest things about Habaneros, for me, at least, is the fact that they provide heat only in the mouth. I typically get several hours of gut cramps from hot food, but these peppers don’t seem to give me any trouble at all. There are even several sweet varieties, for people who want the flavor but object to the heat.
I wish you a hearty appetite and a discerning palate!