Chinese-American Bourbon Jackfruit with Wok-Fried Chow Mein (vegan)


You guys wanna hear a story? About a year and a half ago, we emailed VegNews asking if they’d be interested in featuring one of our recipes on their website or magazine. A year later (no exaggeration), they got back to us with instructions to send over an original, unpublished, vegan recipe with several hi-res photos to their email.

Less than two weeks later we hit them back with this recipe—that was in August. Fast forward seven months with nothing in our inbox and I came to the conclusion that it’s time to share this fire recipe with you guys. I couldn’t stare at these photos on my desktop any longer, just waiting around on some vague hope that a large publisher is going to pick it up “some day.” IMG_0005So, I figured I’d give it to the people who show up every week, ready for some new heat. You guys are the ones that deserve this the most, so we hope you enjoy this vegan take on two classic Chinese take-out items: bourbon chicken & vegetable chow mein. Both dishes are fast, relatively easy, and if you’ve cooked a few of our Asian inspired dishes, you’ll have many of these ingredients on hand.

Quick side note: there’s no actual bourbon in bourbon chicken. The name, according to popular legend at least, is derived from a chef who invented the dish at his restaurant off of Bourbon St. in New Orleans. Is it true? I don’t know, but it doesn’t really matter to me. It could be called Dirt Chicken and I’d still eat it. What really matters is that it was invented, and for that we’re grateful.


All in all, this dish is:

  • Chinese-American
  • Quick, nostalgic, and full of flavor
  • Sweet, salty, umami, deep, and balanced
  • Chewy, tender, saucy, and noodle-y (is that an adjective for texture, or nah?)
  • Vegan
  • 30 minutes

If you like what your eyes are tasting, then share this recipe with your friends on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest at @noeggsorham! For more flame-emoji photos, geeky food talk, and mouth-watering dishes, subscribe to our email list. Tag us in a photo when you create one of our recipes at home so we can share it!

99 Problems but a Magazine Ain’t One


Chinese-American Bourbon Jackfruit with Vegetable Chow Mein (vegan)

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Seared jackfruit in a sweet, thick, & savory soy-based sauce alongside vegetable chow mein. It's like Chinese take-out without the take-out part.


Bourbon Jackfruit ‘Chick’n’

  • 2 14-ounce cans of young jackfruit, drained
  • 1 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup mushroom or vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon chinkiang vinegar*
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili paste or Sriracha
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon water + 1/2 tablespoon tapioca or corn starch

Vegetable Chow Mein

  • 8 ounces egg-free chow mein noodles (carried at most Oriental markets)
  • 1/8 head of green cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1 small carrot, cut into matchstick pieces
  • 2 scallions, cut on the bias
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • salt
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mushroom or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon tapioca or corn starch

Serving (optional)

  • 1 small head of broccoli, blanched
  • toasted sesame seeds


  1. Bourbon Jackfruit: Combine soy sauce, broth, sugar, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, chili, ginger, and 2 tablespoons of water in a personal-sized blender or mini food-processor and blend until smooth; about 30 seconds. Set aside for now. 
  2. Heat a medium-large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in toasted sesame oil, jackfruit, black pepper, and stir to combine. Allow to cook, without stirring, until browned on first side – about 3 minutes. Stir again, allow to brown on another side, and repeat until browned on at least 3 sides.
  3. Add in soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil, stirring often. Drop heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together water & starch until smooth. Once 15 minutes is up, stir in starch mixture and cook until thickened; about 2 minutes. Cover and keep on low until chow mein’s finished. Add a splash of water if sauce becomes too thick.
  5. Chow Mein: Cook chow mien noodles according to package’s instructions. For us that meant to cook them in a large pot of boiling water for 6 minutes, stirring often. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside for now.
  6. In a personal-sized blender or mason jar, blend or shake together tamari, broth, sweetener, and starch. Set aside for now.
  7. Heat a large wok or high-walled sauté pan over high heat. Once hot, add in sesame oil, carrots, cabbage, a small pinch of salt, and cook for 3 minutes, tossing frequently. Stir in garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  8. Add in cooked noodles, soy sauce mixture, and cook until noodles and sauce are throughly heated; 2-3 minutes. 
  9. Serve alongside Bourbon Jackfruit, blanched broccoli if desired, and top with toasted sesame seeds! Store leftovers in airtight containers for up to 3 days. Reheat in a wok over high heat.

*Chinkiang vinegar is a dark, complex, and rice-based Chinese vinegar that has more depth than traditional rice vinegar. It can be found for $2-$3 at most Oriental markets. If you can’t find it, just replace it with rice vinegar; it won’t have quite as much depth, but it’ll still bring acidity & sweetness to the party.