ʻUlu

ʻUlu is what we call bread­fruit here in Hawaiʻi. There is a large body of knowl­edge con­cern­ing this fruit, it has been in use by the Polynesians and their fore­bears for mil­lenia, and although it is gen­er­al­ly under­used, it is often a sub­ject of inter­est because it is well known.

Bring up the sub­ject of ʻulu in con­ver­sa­tion here and you are bound to hear sev­er­al recipes (more prop­er­ly, ‘prepa­ra­tions’) for this starchy and sub­stan­tial fruit. People seem to love using it, and are proud of their recipes even if they don’t eat it reg­u­lar­ly. We use it reg­u­lar­ly, and we will prob­a­bly increse our use of it, as it is an inex­pen­sive (if you have to buy it at all!) and abun­dant resource. It’s chief down­side is it’s sea­son­al­i­ty, and per­haps the chal­lenge it presents to cooks unfa­mil­iar with it’s use.

Our first choice for gen­er­al infor­ma­tion is of course Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breadfruit

The usu­al ways we cook the ʻulu are: stewed (cur­ries), fried (ʻulu fries), and grilled (ʻulu cut­lets). Breadfruit is typ­i­cal­ly used in an ‘unripe’ state, a typ­i­cal indi­ca­tor of readi­ness being the appear­ance of white latex sap on the out­side of the fruit. The fruit ripens to a sweet, yel­low­ish pud­ding-like tex­ture and it’s some­times eat­en at this stage. Traditional Hawaiian prepa­ra­tions include roast­ing, mash­ing and fer­ment­ing (poi ʻulu) and bury­ing (and sub­se­quent fer­men­ta­tion) of the ripe fruit.

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