ʻUlu (Breadfruit) Holiday Recipes
A meal is often more than just food - it is a way to bond a family or community, practice cultural traditions, and nourish others. For many of us, celebrating the holidays are a time for spending time with loved ones and is often centered around a meal and the unique ingredients here in Hawaiʻi allow us to take traditional recipes and add some flair! ʻUlu is an important and versatile fruit and is an excellent source of fiber, potassium, calcium and vitamin C. It can be prepared savory or sweet and is a great way to introduce friends and family to Hawaiʻi’s staple starches. Many varieties can be harvested throughout November, so check out the recipes below to add ʻulu to your holiday menu!
Wondering where to purchase ‘ulu? Check out your local co-op or Farmers Market, or ask a neighbor who has an ‘ulu tree! Hawaiʻi ʻUlu Cooperative is working hard to procure and distribute the fruit and sells it raw, cooked, and frozen. Visit their website or purchase through FarmLink.
Have an ʻulu but donʻt know how to cook it? Check out these tips from the Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and Hawai‘i Homegrown Food Network:
Steaming: The fruit is commonly quartered lengthwise (parallel to the core), after which the core can easily be cut away. The skin, which is edible, can be removed before steaming, left on for consumption, or removed after steaming (which is easiest). Steam until the flesh is tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Steaming time varies depending o n the size of the steamer and how large the pieces are. Breadfruit can also be boiled. It will absorb more water when boiled than when steamed, which is desirable for certain varieties and recipes, and undesirable for others. Avoid overcooking.
Baking in oven: Oven baking breadfruit results in tender flesh and a slightly roasted flavor. To bake, rinse the skin, cut in half and place cut side down on an oiled baking sheet or in a shallow baking pan with ½–¾ inch (1–2 cm) of w
ater. Fruit can also be cooked whole wrapped in aluminum foil to keep the flesh moist. Bake at 375– 400°F (190–205°C) for one hour or until the fruit can be easily pierced with a fork. Cooking time varies depending on the size of the fruit.
Fire it up! Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders traditionally cook breadfruit in earthen ovens. In Hawaiʻi we call these imu. ʻUlu can also be roasted over an open fire. All of these methods impart a wonderful smoky flavor to the fruit. After peeling off the skin, the fruit can be eaten as it is, or as an ingredient in other traditional dishes.
Find more cooking techniques in our ʻOno ʻUlu Recipe guide and also at ntbg.org/breadfruit/food/cooking.
Savory ʻUlu Recipes
Jack Johnson, Musician & KHF Co-Founder
- 1 firm ripe ʻulu
- ½ cup avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt
- Use a firm but ripe ʻulu (you can tell it’s ripe when the skin is smooth and there is white sap coming out).
- Quarter the ʻulu and remove the inside “tongue” or core.
- Slice into thin (1/4-1/8”) triangular shapes.
- Put into a bowl andtoss with olive oil and Hawaiian sea salt.
- Spread out ʻulu pieces on a baking sheet.
- Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Check and flip with spatula midway through baking. You could bake them a little longer if you like them extra crispy!
- Add more salt to taste.
- Serve with homemade hummus (See ʻulu hummus recipe below--it’s great with ‘uala hummus too!)
Green ʻUlu Hummus
ʻĀINA Chef Marika Emi (Juicy Brew)
- 2 cups ʻulu, (steamed, peeled, cored)
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, washed
- 1/2 cup fresh laupele or ʻuala leaves, washed
- 1/4 cup lemon juice, to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil, to taste
- 3-5 garlic cloves
- salt and pepper to taste
- black and white sesame for garnish
- Cut ʻulu into 1-2 inch pieces.
- Place in a Vitamix, food processor, or high speed blender and blend.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, and blend.
- Add a small amount of water to help liquefy for your preferred hummus consistency.
- Season to taste, and serve with chips, crackers, and/or vegetables.
ʻĀINA Chef Nina Alena Beatty (Paumalu Yoga)
- 6-8 cups ʻulu (approximately 1 large ʻulu)
- 1 cup high heat cooking oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 5 cloves roasted garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Cut a firm ripe uncooked ʻulu into quarters.
- Boil or steam in a large pot for about 20 minutes or until you can pierce it through with a knife strain the water and cool.
- Cut the core of the ʻulu and compost. Leave the skin on and cut into bite size pieces.
- Heat oil in a large skillet, when hot add onions and sauté or a couple minutes, then add celery and sauté for another minute.
- Add another layer of oil, then add ʻulu and sauté until it starts to brown. Note: the ʻulu won’t brown or crisp like potatoes.
- Add more oil or water as needed to keep the ʻulu moist.
- Add herbs, roasted garlic, nuts, salt, and pepper. Saute for a minute and taste. Add more oil, salt and pepper to taste as needed.
- Remove from heat and add mixture to an 8X10 baking dish.
- You can also drizzle or brush a tiny bit of oil to help crisp up the top layer of ʻulu.
ʻUlu Hash with Ground Pork or Lamb
ʻĀINA Chef Mark Noguchi (Pili Group)
- 2 cups cooked ʻulu, around 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- Thyme, basil, or other herbs to taste
- 1/2 lb ground pork, lamb or other ground meat of choice
- handful of greens such as spinach, kale, chard, etc.
- 2 tablespoons green onion
- Hawaiian salt, pepper to taste
- A splash of red wine (optional)
- Preheat a wok or nonstick pan over medium-high heat.
- Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Add onion, garlic, and herbs and sauté until golden brown.
- Add lamb or other ground meat to the cooking onions and brown. Once meat is cooked through, put aside.
- Using the same pan, add more oil to coat the bottom. Add ‘ulu and fry, browning ‘ulu before flipping.
- Once ‘ulu is golden brown, add lamb or other meat, and add a handful of greens and stir until wilted
- Add salt and pepper to taste and a splash of vinegar. Top with green onions and enjoy!
Sweet ʻUlu Recipes
Cinnamon ʻUlu French Toast Bake
ʻĀINA Chef Gigi Miranda
- 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 large apple banana, sliced
- 3 tablespoons chia Seeds
- 1 tablespoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 cup of coconut sugar or local honey
- 8 cups ʻulu, steamed & cubed
- coconut oil to grease a baking dish
- Optional: 1/2 cup of raisins
- Blend coconut milk, banana, chia, vanilla, cinnamon and coconut sugar or honey until smooth, add raisins if you’d like.
- Place ʻulu in a single layer in a greased baking dish.
- Pour mixture over ʻulu and soak overnight in the refrigerator.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-45 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve with local honey, fresh fruit or toasted nuts.
ʻUlu and Banana Pancakes
Joe Wat, ʻĀINA Program Coordinator
- 1 very ripe ʻulu
- equivalent volume of bananas
- flour (as needed)
- water (as needed)
- Mix equal parts peeled ripe (soft to the touch) ʻulu and the equivalent volume of peeled ripe bananas and mash until mixed.
- Add water or flour to change the batter consistency if necessary.
- Pour onto griddle and fry until firm.
- Serve with honey or fresh fruit.