For today's recipe, we revisited a classic American favourite: crispy nuggets. And we gave them a plant-based spin using fried jackfruit chunks instead of chicken. We seasoned them with a special spice combo and made them super crispy. Sounds exciting? Let us show you how to do it!
While chicken nuggets are a no-go in a vegan diet, it doesn't mean you can't get enjoy something equally tasty using plant-based ingredients. That's where our beloved jackfruit comes into play! The young, unripe fruit has a neutral taste and a wonderfully meaty texture. Its flesh consists of stringy filaments that look exactly like chicken meat, making it the perfect vegan replacement.
The great thing about jackfruit is that it takes on the flavours of the ingredients it's mixed with. So, we decided to coat our nuggets with homemade Cajun seasoning, with spices like paprika, oregano, and garlic. We'll give you the full list of Cajun spices so you can make it from scratch as we did. But you can also use the ready-mixed, store-bought Cajun seasoning if you already have it at home.
The secret to perfect fried nuggets is in the breading and the frying. For the coating, you'll need starch, vegan buttermilk, and breadcrumbs. It's a three-step coating process where each layer adds flavour, thickness, and crunchiness to the nugget. And if you want extra-crispy nuggets, then flaky panko breadcrumbs are the best choice. Trust us, they'll make a difference!
As for the frying, we rarely fry food in our recipes, as it's not a very healthy way of cooking. But enjoying a few fried nuggets with moderation every once in a while won't compromise your overall health. For best results, a cooking thermometer is in order. But we'll share some tips and tricks on how to get great results even if you don't have a thermometer.
Once you bite into one of these vegan nuggets, you won't believe they're made with jackfruit. They're so crispy, flavourful, and meaty they won't last more than 5 minutes. Ours certainly didn't! Drizzle them with lemon juice and dunk them in ketchup, no-egg mayo, buffalo sauce, or any dip you like. Enjoy!
- Canned Jackfruit in Water (drained weight)
- Baking Soda
- Starch (potato, corn, or arrowroot)
- Plant-based Milk (oat, almond, soy)
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Panko Breadcrumbs
- Paprika (sweet or smoked)
- Dried Oregano
- Dried Thyme
- Garlic Powder
- Cayenne Pepper
Drain the jackfruit chunks and rinse them well. Squeeze them as hard as you can without breaking them to get rid of excess water.
Pop out and discard the seeds, and then chop the jackfruit into bite-size chunks.
Now, add the prepared jackfruit to a bowl, followed by the baking soda, half of the cajun seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.
Toss all until the chunks are coated evenly.
Now, prepare three bowls for the coating ingredients.
Add starch and salt to the first bowl, milk and vinegar to the second, panko breadcrumbs and the remaining cajun seasoning to the last one.
For each nugget, roll one jackfruit chunk into the starch, then dip it in the milk, and finally coat it with the breadcrumbs.
Then, repeat this step one more time for a thicker and crunchier coating. The default ingredients are enough to make two rounds of coating.
Now, it's time for frying.
Pour enough vegetable oil in a pot so that the nuggets will be completely submerged in it when you'll add them; that should be about three to four fingers worth.
Heat the oil to 180°C (355°F), add in 4 nuggets, and fry them for 3 minutes.
We recommend you use a kitchen thermometer to monitor the oil temperature throughout the frying process. Keep the oil between 170°C-190°C (340°F-375°F) to avoid undercooking the nuggets or burning them.
If you don't have a thermometer, you'll have to gauge the temperature by how fast they brown; as a rule of thumb, don't cook more than 3 or 4 nuggets at a time and keep the heat to medium-low.
The nuggets are ready when the coating is crusty and lightly brown, and the jackfruit is cooked through.
Help yourself with a tong or slotted spoon to take the nuggets from the pot, shake off excess oil, and place them on a rack lined with kitchen paper.
You can make a gluten-free coating using gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond meal.