I believe preparing jackfruit seed hummus, like many varieties of local hummus, is a form of art. The finished product will most likely be unique and not easily reproducible. The ingredients are most often in slightly different stages of ripeness, creating slightly different textures and flavors. I feel this contributes to the richness and beauty of cooking with fresh, seasonal local foods. Each time I cook I am immersed in a new palate of different colors and flavors and textures. I am participating in the creation of something new.
Jackfruit seeds are one of my favorite parts of a jackfruit. The fruit when ripe is sweet and enjoyable, but it is their seeds that I often prize for their many uses in cooking. However, I am excited to say that in the process of making this batch of hummus, I discovered that the unripe fruit when cooked can be an amazing and delicious addition to the hummus, too!!
To begin the hummus process, I harvested a jackfruit that was splitting on the outside, though the fruit was still unripe and not sweet. I sliced it open and began the super sticky process of separating the seeds from the fruit and the fruit from the other stringy middle. In its more unripe stage it is even more latexy and so it was really helpful to oil my knife before cutting and having some oil nearby for fingers that are stuck together afterwards. (Note: Using ripe jackfruits works just as well. The ripened seeds are more easily extracted and seem to have a slightly richer and stronger flavor. The ripened fruit will be sweet and not starchy, therefore I recommend substituting a different starchy component like ulu or taro to the hummus).
After the fruit and seeds were separated I put the seeds in a medium sized saucepan with water that almost covered the tops of the seeds and covered and cooked them at a medium high heat until the seed coats split open. This is usually a sign that they have been sufficiently cooked. I let them cool and then peeled off their tough translucent seed coating. While I peeled the seed coats I put the unripe fruit in a large saucepan and covered and cooked those with an inch or so of water at the bottom until they are soft and flexible. Then I strained off the water and set them aside to cool.
Next to prepare is the taro. I rinsed and chopped the taro roots into large chunks, keeping the skin on and filling a large saucepan with them and water to almost submerge them. I brought the heat up to a boil and then turned it down to a simmer until the taro became thoroughly cooked. This is when the center becomes soft and the skin often begins to fall off. I strained the water off and let it cool. When cool, I peeled the skins off and diced the roots into ½ inch cubes.
Roasted red peppers also require special preparation. This is an ingredient that I like to add for color, flavor and to break up the starchiness that the hummus can develop. I broiled my peppers in the oven, turning them when they become blackened on one side, until they were mostly black or wrinkled and then I covered them in parchment paper or a paper bag to let them soften after I pulled them out of the oven. After they are nice and cool I slipped their skins off and extracted their seeds and top. And while the oven is still warm I lightly toasted the macadamias.
1 cup macadamia nuts, lightly roasted
1 cup jackfruit seeds, cooked
3 cups taro, cooked, peeled
2 cups unripe jackfruit, cooked
2-3 small roasted red peppers, cored and peeled
3-4 cloves of garlic
¼ cup macadamia nut oil
juice of half a lemon
2 ½ teaspoons of sea salt
¼ t. cayenne powder
Cuisinarts or food processors are essential in the creation of hummus. After giving abundant thanks to my cuisinart, I start by adding the macadamia nuts. I blend them by themselves into a nice thick butter and then I add the rest of the ingredients and usually a few tablespoons of water. I let the machine work its magic and watch to see when it needs more water and add it in tablespoonfuls to help it continue to blend. I also stop it periodically to scrape down the sides and make sure everything is blending well. After it is fairly smooth I give it a taste and decide if it needs a hint more salt, lemon juice, finely chopped garlic, or sometimes macadamia nut oil to round out the flavors. I also check for consistency and I add more water if it seems a bit thick.
The final ingredient, love, is freely added, without measuring, at all stages. I feel its presence at the last taste… when the flavors are round and full in my mouth and my heart warms and softly smiles… when there isn’t anything else I could possibly add.
This recipe makes about 5-6 cups of hummus.
Creative options: the taro and unripe jackfruit can be substituted with ulu, cassava, Polynesian yam or Uhi, green banana, and any combination of those! Experiment to experience the differences in flavor, texture and body with each one!! And please add anything else that seems like it wants to join in!