Two significant encounters with “Overseas Food” occurred in my early years.
The first one – was when I was about eight years old, in the mid-sixties.
Back then, overseas – especially America felt to me like another planet! I was fascinated and longed to visit the distant continent.
When traveling abroad was considered a special occasion (almost like today in the days of Corona) – regards from overseas were in clothes we received from the “uncles”. They were of better quality and more modern than what we usually had. They even smelled abroad.
My older brothers heard English pop music at home: the Beatles, Elvis, Neil Sedaka, Paul Anka, and others – but it came from the big old radio, which to me was like another dimension – not a substantial part of my world.
There were, of course, cuisine dishes – whose scent erupted from the kitchen windows of the building in which we lived: Mediterranean, middle east, eastern Europe, North Africa, Indian, and much more, but they were an integral part of the culinary-Israeli landscape of those days.
Until a new family came to the neighborhood: Americans from New York. Their daughter was about my age. I remember she was very short for her age; Her parents fed her royal honey and hoped for a miracle.
They were the wealthiest of our neighborhood and lived in a 2-story private home. It later turned out that they were considered poor in America.
The big house was impressive, But the American accent fascinated me much more. So many times, I tried to imitate their accent (in gibberish, of course!)
At nights the same dream was repeated in which I cross the sea on foot, all the way to America.
I do not remember specific foods they cooked, but at their home, I first came across peanut butter – a spread that seemed strange and repulsive for me to dare and taste (today, I am addicted!).
The second time – was in the early seventies, my brother’s wife, brought with her a recipe she received during her stay in New York – Tuna Salad!
It was a simple recipe: a tin of tuna in oil, onion, hard-boiled egg (or two), mayonnaise, lemon juice, black pepper, and surprise! – a grated carrot! (Those days, I still did not hear about coleslaw). I have never met anyone who added carrots to his tuna salad!
After switching to veganism, I tried to veganize the salad several times without much success. First, I tried a recipe with chickpeas. Still, it was too dense and too dry, which required the addition of a lot more mayonnaise – the texture was far from the “Al Dente” texture of tuna. Then, when I discovered the Jack Fruit, I thought it might be a good substitute, but it was kind of frail – far from the original texture.
Finally, I tried them together! As a “body,” Chickpeas,” and Jack Fruit for the visual with its fibrous structure reminiscent of tuna. And it worked: I finally reached the “abroad” taste and texture!
It didn’t throw me back in time, as the Madeleine cookies did to Marcel Frost, but I won a few moments of contentment!
We start with the jack fruit: we separate the fibrous part from the solid part – it looks just like artichoke bottoms,
Remove the pits (do not throw them away – you can use them for salads or other uses – we want to keep the “fishy” texture).
Add 1/3 cup cooked and crushed chickpeas, vegan mayonnaise, crumbled seaweed, chopped onion, grated carrots, lemon juice, black salt, and a little ground pepper – and that’s it.
It is essential to let the salad rest for a few hours – preferably overnight to allow the flavors to develop.
In a sandwich, on a bagel or plate, garnish with green onions, chives, cherry tomatoes, black olives, cucumbers, or lettuce – pure joy.
let me know how it turned out ❣️
- Drain the contents of the jackfruit into a bowl and separate the fibrous part from the hard part – the one that looks like artichoke bottoms. Next, remove the seeds (you can save them for other uses).
- Chop the chickpeas and the solid part of the jackfruit in several pulses in a food processor or potato masher and the hard part of the jack in a fork. Return to bowl.
- Crumble the fibrous part of the jackfruit, but not too much – we want to maintain the fibrous texture. Return to bowl
- In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients.
- Add onion, carrot, seaweed, and sauce and mix well.Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. If the salad looks a little "dry," – do not be ashamed to add more mayonnaise 🙂
- Place in the refrigerator for several hours – preferably overnight to allow flavors to develop.
- Serve in a sandwich, on a bagel, or savory waffle, garnish with green onions, chives, cherry tomatoes, black olives, cucumbers, or lettuce.