The Breadfruit – a real superfood
Raiatea | Polynesian Lifestyle
“Regarding food, if a man plants 10 (breadfruit) trees in his life he would completely fulfill his duty to his own as well as future generations…” This was what Sir Joseph Banks said in 1769 when he discovered the Breadfruit with James Cook as the first europeans in Tahiti and he was right to say that.
The breadfruit or “Uru” as it is called in Tahitian is a tropical “superfood” that grows mostly in the areas of South Asia and the Pacific Islands. Why do we call it a “superfood”? Let’s find it out together and additionally look at some of the tahitian ways to cook and enjoy the breadfruit.
Basics about the breadfruit
The breadfruit brings quite a bunch of advantages with it. It is an extremly nutrient-rich and filling fruit. Additionally it is easy to grow in a tropical environment and one tree can produce up to 200 fruits or more in only one season, which makes it to one of the most yielding food plants on earth.
The size is fairly comparable to one of a coconut and it’s weight can go up to 6 kg for some sorts.
The taste when cooked, is very similar to this of a potato and it’s texture resembles the one of a freshly baked bread which is also where the name comes from.
How to cook a breadfruit
Today we are going to look at some of the tahitian ways to cook and prepare a breadfruit-meal. For this we will start with the most common and easiest way. We will prepare our breadfruit like bread which you can eat with butter or anything else you like to eat your “bread” with. For this, we have nothing more to do than heating our breadfruit. In general it is better to choose a harder fruit as soft ones will smudge easily when cooking and leave a mess.
In our case we will do it in the traditional way on an open fire. You don’t even need a grid or something to place the Uru on top of the fire. It is totally fine to place it directly inside.
You can see in the image that we also put some carves into the fruit so that the heat can enter better but this is not necessary.
We leave the breadfruit on the fire until the whole skin is burned and black like ash. This is the moment when the inside is cooked properly.
Afterwards we start peeling and in contrast to the dark black outside we find the bright, yellow and bread-like fruit flesh beneath.
The result we can now cut into pieces and already enjoy like this but before we put it on the plate, we will look at some other ways to enjoy the breadfruit. For this we prepare uncooked breadfruit by again peeling the skin off and cutting it in two different ways.
You can peel the skin exactly like before except that the fruit will be a little harder. After this, we prepare a bowl as fine sliced pieces and almost two complete breadfruits for big pieces in the right bowl.
The first and my favorite way of eating this fruit is actually in form of chips. You heard that right! We can make chips out of a fruit. Not any kind of chips with fruit-flavor of course. The only thing we need is the breadfruit and if you like, a little bit of salt.
The process is quite simple. Everything you have to is take our prepared fine sliced pieces (without cooking them) and fry them in the pan with enough oil. As a final touch you can also season them with some salt to give them the right flavor for the next movie night 😉
We don’t only call this fruit breadfruit for its flavor or consitency. We can actually use it to produce real flour. This way is a little more time-consuming than the others and you will need quite a good amount of breadfruits.
Same as for the chips we don’t have to cook the fruit but we will need to grate our prepared pieces. Once you grated, you add some water and press the fruit exactly like we did for the coconut milk. Finally you have to leave the juice in strong sun for at least 1-2 days to dry until the water will evaporate and only the flour will be left.
Uru – Pua’atoro
After the preperation it is time to set-up a real tahitian “Uru” dish. Therefore we use a leaf as our plate…ok in our case there is still a plate beneath but if you want to eat traditionally you just take the leaf 😉
First we add the normally cooked breadfruit from the start and our chips. What you can see as well on our plate is some cooked corned beef we perpared with onions and garlic. Pua’atoro, how it is called, is a very common and popular meat in Tahiti to enjoy the breadfruit with. You just dip the cooked breadfruit as well as the chips, if you like, into the corned beef.
Finally we prepared kind of a mashed breadfruit with coconut milk added to it. As you maybe already guessed, the tahitian culture is a lot about coconut milk and it is very fitting as it makes the breadfruit a little less dry when eating. Also it serves as a desert to round up this traditional dish.
This was our little wrap-up of the tahitian ways to prepare and eat the tropical super fruit, the “Uru”.
You may have noticed we didn’t acutally use the produced flour from before. This is because of the low quantity we got out of two breafruits. But if you would like to know more about this or the breadfruit in general don’t bother to let me know 🙂
Thank you for reading and until next time!