When I visited Morocco on family holidays as a child, I spent a fair deal of my pocket money on that no-frills snack: khobz b’sardine. It is Moroccan for a sandwich made of a flat thick whole-meal bread, filled with sardine/mackarel and harissa. Back in the 1990s, it was commonly made on the spot in these charming Arab-style convenience shops called hanout. Is it still? I do not know. What I know is while most canned fish tasted rather gross on its own, that canned fish came in a tomato sauce, and the shop owners (mul hanout) would often add harissa to give it some fire. As a kid, I loved the taste of that stuff.
It was the blissful ignorance of a child that doesn’t know any better just yet.
After a couple of (mostly non-vegan) decades of not having any fish sandwich, I recently got to rediscover the taste and experience of this delicious spread from the oceans, but with a major blissful upgrade. I can now enjoy this as much as I want, without the acidosis, osteoporosis, kidney stones, parasites, salmonella, industrial pollutant poisoning, heavy metal poisoning, obesity, higher cancer and cardiovascular disease risk, without trapping, asphyxiating and killing any fish nor damaging seabeds and biodiversity, nor depleting oceans…in short…this bliss comes without worrying about what eating fish does on human health, and without worrying about what fishing does in general.
It is always only the taste and food experience that people want and crave. Nobody truly wants the immense harm it took to make their favourite food experience possible.
So to bring a bit of positive in a world that could use more, this is the taste and experience, but without the harm. This recipe is indeed low-fat, oil-free, whole-foods and plant-based. For me it’s just a delicious spread, but I designed it to also be fully compatible with a successful process of recovery from heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other life-threatening conditions. For tips to make this even lower in sodium, see note at the bottom of the page.
You can enjoy this Pacific Spread as you want: in a salad, in a sandwich (Tuna Sammies), on crackers, of even as a face mask if that makes you happy 🙂 Enjoy!
Ok, more seriously now, if you want to make a version of this “tuna” that uses mayonnaise (as is commonly done in Western cultures: sammies, etc.) but without compromising on health, check out my low-fat whole-food mayo.
I would like you to play with this recipe, and tell me (most honestly, in the comments below) what you thought, the personal twist you gave it, or what you came up with, etc. I hope you will enjoy making (and eating) it as much as I did!
- Ahead of time: Soak the sundried tomatoes as described
- 1 can (~2 cups) of unripe (also called "green") jackfruit, or the equivalent in frozen unripe jackfruit
- 2 cups of cooked chickpeas (~1 to 2 cans)
- 1 cup of low-sodium sun-dried tomatoes
- 10g of nori sheets (about 5 sheets sushi sheets roughly). I insist, nori. DO NOT USE KELP POWDER BECAUSE IT IS DANGEROUSLY HIGH IN IODINE, LIKE MOST RANDOM SEAWEED PRODUCTS.
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice (or lemon juice, we much prefer lime)
- 2 lemons (for zest only, preferably organic)
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you like hotter than mild spicy)
- freshly ground mixed pepper
- Ahead of time: Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in boiling water for at least about 30 min to 1 hour. Overnight in cold water also works.
- Chop onions and garlic finely. Put in a pot with a bit of water, cover, and cook until soft on medium (~5 minutes)
- Meanwhile zest the lemons, and juice your lime
- When the onions and garlic are soft, add vinegar, chilli and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Meanwhile chop the (now softened) sun-dried tomatoes and the large chunks of jackfruit then add them in the pot and put just enough water for it to not be too dry and burn, cover, let cook 30 minutes with regular stirring and water additions if needed. Taste and adjust flavours if needed.
- Meanwhile, wet the seaweed with cold water until soft, blend it with ½ cup of water.
- When the pot is done cooking, set aside let cool.
- In a processor with a soft blade (the plastic blade often) the mixture in the pot, the chickpeas, the blended seaweed, the zested lemon, fresh lime juice, and a few turns of ground mixed pepper (to taste). Add water as needed for it to blend.
Optimization: You can cut the preparation time down to ~30 minutes by dumping everything in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes, letting cool, then mixing.
- Substitute the canned unripe jackfruit with frozen unripe (or “green”) jackfruit (generally found in Asian stores). The last we bought actually looked golden yellow while being the unripe form. A less optimal option (higher in salt than frozen) is to soak the raw unripe canned jackfruit in hot water multiple times.
- Substituting the generic sun-dried tomatoes by organic, salt-free sun-dried tomatoes or any sun-dried tomatoes you can make at home using sun/dehydrator.
- Seaweed can also be desalted greatly by soaking it with multiple cold water changes. This works even better and faster when the seaweed is soaked in fresh water (not salty) right after foraging it yourself.