This holiday season, celebrate the tastes of the tropics wherever you are with breadfruit! Here we feature chef Nikki Gold’s incredible ulu cheese casserole recipe, the dish that scored 1st place at our annual Ulu Cook-off on Maui. We also share preparation tips, additional recipes, and resources for finding breadfruit near you.
“Ulu is such a wonderful and special fruit that when I cook with it, I feel like I am honoring a part of Hawaiian culture. I mean, it is such a beautifully versatile fruit how could I not love cooking with it?
My inspiration for the ulu casserole this year came from my daughter. She loves a particular movie about a rodent chef who makes a casserole that melts the heart of a critic. Like the little rodent, my daughter loves helping me in the kitchen. This casserole was inspired by her using all of her favorite flavors in our kitchen. Ulu, Okinawan sweet potatoes, carrots, and cheese.“Nikki Gold, chef and 1st place winner of the 2022 Ulu Cook-off
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Heat oven to 375℉. Brush the inside of a 10 inch cast-iron skillet with olive oil.
In a large bowl, combine ulu, potato, carrots, onion, herbs, salt, pepper, and 90% of the cheese. Mix until everything is evenly coated.
Layer thin sliced vegetables upright in the skillet until full. Sprinkle it with remaining cheese. Pour milk and broth over vegetables and cover with tinfoil to seal edges.
Bake for 50 minutes and remove foil, continue baking for 15-20 minutes until breadfruit is tender and slightly browned.
Share your completed dishes with us on social media! Be sure to tag @ntbg on Instagram.
Polynesians brought breadfruit to the Hawaiian Islands because of the many uses for these important trees. Breadfruit trees continue to provide food, medicine, clothing material, construction materials, and animal feed.
Breadfruit is an excellent dietary staple and compares favorably with other starchy staple crops commonly eaten in the tropics, such as kalo (taro), plantain, cassava, sweet potato, and white rice.
Complex carbohydrates are the main source of energy with low levels of protein and fat and a moderate glycemic index. It is also gluten free. 100g fresh fruit provides 102 calories. Breadfruit is a good source of dietary fiber, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium with small amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin.
The trees are traditionally used and are a major component in mixed cropping agroforestry systems. Breadfruit creates a lush overstory that shelters a myriad of useful plants including yams, kava, noni, bananas, and sweet potatoes.
One of the highlights of the McBryde Garden is NTBG’s Regenerative Organic Breadfruit Agroforestry (ROBA) project which acts as a living classroom and 2-acre demonstration project. The data that is collected by our ROBA team is used to advise local farmers on best practices and techniques. This year, our team was able to ground proof ROBA’s productivity and display breadfruit agroforestry’s ability to support community resilience in times of need. So far, over 6,000 lbs. of breadfruit has been donated to local food banks on Kauai!
Wondering how to sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription or where you can buy breadfruit in Hawaii? Check out the links below to find a source near you.
Hawaii Ulu Co-op Breadfruit Locator: https://eatbreadfruit.com/pages/findbreadfruit
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and Farm Locator: https://gofarmhawaii.org/find-your-farmer/