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March 2009



`ULU! The Wonders of Breadfruit

By Karen Yoneda

`Ulu or breadfruit, was one of the subsistence plants brought by the early Polynesians when they voyaged in doubled-hulled canoes over the Pacific Ocean to settle the Hawaiian Islands. After kalo, `ulu served as a secondary staple to the early Hawaiian settlers and provided a back-up source in case of famine or other natural disasters.

In Breadfruit Cookbook  Fae Hirayama indicated that "the ulu tree can grow 40-60 feet tall.  It shiny dark, loped leaves are the inspiration of the first Hawaiiian design." Indeed, one of the classic and favorite Hawaiian quilt patterns is the `ulu with its beautiful leaves.
Breadfruit is a cook's delight since it is very versatile and be used in many different ways: chips, desserts, soups, entrees and souffles.  `Ulu, which is usually a round seedless fruit, can be substituted for rice, poi, sweet potato or white potato or a vegetable.

Breadfruit Cake Recipe
2 cups baking powder
1/2 cup nuts, sliced
2 tsp. baking soda
1-3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cup oil
4 eggs
2 c. whole wheat flour or flour
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3 cups ripe breadfruit, peeled and mashed (1-1/2 lb)
1 tsp. salt.

Preheat oven to 375.  In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.  add oil and mix well.  Beat in eggs and vanilla and continue beating with mixer.  Beat in breadfruit until smooth.
Remove fibrous breadfruit from beater.  Stir in nuts.  Bake in 3 long pans for 45 minutes.  Enjoy!

Breadfruit Chips
1 breadfruit, ripe and firm
Peel skin.  Slice breadfruit lengthwise in thin slices.  Deep fry in oil until crisp and golden brown.  Sprinkle salt on top and serve.

Breadfruit Tuna Patties
1/2 mature green breadfruit, almost soft, cooked and mashed
1 can - 6-1/2 ounces chunk tuna, drained and flaked
1 beaten egg
1 chopped medium onion
salt and pepper
Cornflake crumbs or bread crumbs

Combine all ingredients, except cornflake crumbs and oil.  Form into 8 patties and dip in crumbs.  Fry until lightly brown on two sides

Baked Breadfruit

Select a soft, ripe breadfruit. Rub fat on a shallow baking pan. Place whole breadfruit in it and bake for one hour at 350º. When cooked, split in two pieces and remove the seed. Divide each section into 3 or 4 pieces. Place a piece of butter in the center of each and serve immediately. Whole breadfruit may be boiled or steamed and served in the same way.

To hasten ripening of breadfruit, remove stem and pack the indentation with coarse salt. The breadfruit will be soft in a day or two.

Breadfruit is very nutritious and can be enjoyed boiled, baked, roasted or steamed.  It supersedes the amount of calcium and carbohydrates in comparison with taro and white potato.  In addition, it has more potassium than my friend, the banana. `Ulu has lots of Vitamin C, Vitamin B, folate, and magnesium.  For your next trip to Hawai`i, go to Kaua`i to visit the Breadfruit Institute of the National Botanical Garden, 3530 Papalina Road, Kalaheo, Hawai`i.  You will learn that breadfruit trees also make excellent canoes, drums and surfboards. 

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