Jan 24, 2012

'Ulu, Hawaiian Breadfruit

The beautiful dark green leaves of the breadfruit tree.
'Ulu, (breadfruit), was one of the few subsistence plants the Polynesians brought with them when they sailed to the Hawaiian Islands. It never became a staple food as it was on islands further south. Taro played that role. Even so, ulu's mythical origins, its fame in history, and its immense usefulness to islanders have made the tree an immortal symbol of Hawaii Nei. 

Member of the mulberry family, Artocarpus Altilis (breadfruit) is believed to have originated in Java. Voyagers took it to Malaysia and, in the 14th century, to the Marquesas, where it spread to the rest of Polynesia. For many the nutrition-packed, starchy fruit became the staff of life. If you are lucky enough to find a breadfruit, savor this ancient Hawaiian treasure. Visit this "Samoan Cooking" website for a very interesting, step-by-step photos on how to prepare Fa'alifu Ulu (cooked breadfruit in coconut milk). For more interesting breadfruit recipes like "breadfruit salad", "breadfruit pumpkin soup", "breadfruit ice cream", etc., visit "the Earth of India" website

Breadfruit Recipes:

Breadfruit Chips
1 green, mature (firm) breadfruit
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups of water*
4 cups canola oil
sprinkle with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder, to taste

Twist and pull stem to remove core of breadfruit. Wash breadfruit and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out soft center, then cut the halves lengthwise, into 6 to 8 wedges. Peel it and remove the hard tip portion. Then slice wedges crossways into thin, 1/4" triangular slices. Soak the slices in 1/2 teaspoon salt mixed with 2 cups of water for about half an hour, to remove excess starch from the fruit. COMPLETELY dry chips with paper towels to keep chips from splattering grease while frying. Heat oil over medium-high heat, 350˚F, in a large pot or wok and fry in batches, a handful at a time, until golden brown. Drain chips on paper towels, and immediately sprinkle with seasonings to taste. Then place them on a foil lined baking sheet, not touching each other if possible, in a 250˚F oven to keep crisp. Eat while warm with your favorite dip. Store in an airtight container for up to one week. Makes about 6-8 cups of chips.
*Note: You can also use coconut milk instead of water to give the chips that coconut flavor.

Baked Breadfruit
1 ripe breadfruit
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon butter

Twist and pull stem to remove core of breadfruit. Wash breadfruit and cut in half lengthwise. Place halves in baking pan. Sprinkle with lemon juice and cinnamon. Dot with butter. Bake at 350˚F for 1 hour. Baste occasionally. Makes 4 servings.

Breadfruit Salad
1 ripe breadfruit
1 teaspoon salt
1 large carrot, grated
2 green onions, diced
3 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
1 can tuna
salt and pepper to taste

Twist and pull stem to remove core of breadfruit. Wash breadfruit and cut in half lengthwise. Cut each half lengthwise into 6 pieces and peel. Chop into bit-sized pieces. Boil in salted water like you would potatoes, for this recipe is very similar to potato salad. The breadfruit is ready when fork tender, about 8 minutes of boiling. Cool, then add chopped hard boiled eggs, grated carrots, tuna, green onions. Mix with mayonnaise until desired consistency, add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until time to serve. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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