Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Eating Ulu (Breadfruit)

Last week we had our first taste of a native plant called Ulu AKA Breadfruit. This is a common vegetable throughout tropical climes and has many uses in addition to food none of which we will ever use it for. (The wood is good for canoes, sap is used to trap birds, flowers and leaves have medicinal qualities and the leaf pattern is replicated in native art and decor.) We don't have a breadfruit tree in our yard but most of our neighbors and many of our friends do.

A bushy bread fruit tree with a nice round Ulu that is nearly ready to pick.
 A friend shared this Ulu with us.  It arrived wrapped in paper towels and in a plastic bag because ripe Ulu weep a sticky white sap.  You know it is ready to pick when it is weepy.  So, it looks kinda yucky but don't judge an Ulu . . . .

Traditionally Ulu is cooked in a fire but in modern times it can be baked in the oven or in the microwave. For our first attempt at preparing Ulu I made it easy and made sure it was a preparation my family would enjoy.  I baked it whole in a 375 degree oven for about an hour.  When it was soft enough to pierce with a skewer I removed it from the oven and cut off the stem top, sliced it in half and scooped out the core. In each hollowed half I placed 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar  and then returned it to the oven for another 15 minutes. I served it much like acorn squash by just scooping out spoonfuls to dish. It was a side accompaniment  to our shish-kebobs and rice and everyone loved it.
Candied Ulu baked in my dutch oven. Yummy!
We had a little left over and so the next night I cubed it and added it to a stir fry.

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