Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Is bread fruit?



Despite my inclination for locally sourced ingredients, sometimes I do miss some things that never grow here. But, as part of my quest for food diversity, once in a while I like to explore things that I never tried before or haven’t tried for a long time. It’s important to keep the gut happy.

London is amazing for that. It has loads of ethnic markets and shops that ship seasonal produce to this country from all over the world. Last weekend, I went for a day out at Brixton Market. It was buzzing with people as always. The stalls were vibrant with fruits, herbs and vegetables.

Breadfruit (which originated in the South Pacific and spread to the rest of Oceania, South East Asia, Africa, Caribbean islands, Central America and South America), has crossed the ocean to Great Britain this month. When I saw it on the stalls it transported me straight back to my childhood. Mum used to take me to my dance classes and, on the way, we would walk past a breadfruit tree with lots of the fruits crashed on the ground. She always felt sorry to see them go to waste. But, she had a friend who used to grow them in her garden and always dropped a fruit or two for us. One of her favourite recipes was breadfruit flan. That dessert lives in my memory.

Breadfruit is an extremely versatile fruit. You can boil, fry, mash, roast, pickle, ferment, use it in bread doughs, made into a flour, puddings, savoury dishes etc. It is used as staple food in the Polynesian islands as it has great nutritional value (see A healthy note below). The mature fruit can weigh up to 3 kg. It can also feed a small family. In the north of Brazil breadfruit is consumed warm at breakfast, boiled or steamed, with butter. It is a great substitute fo any type of carbohydrate, like bread or cereals, potatoes or rice. It makes an ideal gluten-free dish.

The taste of breadfruit is very similar to cassava root, also a very popular staple food in the north of Brazil and is not as ‘smelly’ as its cousin jackfruit.

Whereas in the tropical countries the fruit is seen everywhere, understandably, here in the UK it doesn’t come that cheap. One kilo (or half of a fruit) can cost £5. 

With the excitement of finding breadfruit in London, I brought some home with me. I roasted it and invited my sister and my brother-in -law to come over to nibble the snack over a very cold glass of beer. Like being in the tropics.



Boil the fruit.
Allow them to cool.
Brush the slices with the oil of your preference, season...
...and bake until they are golden and crispy.
My roasted slices of breadfruit.
Roasted slices of breadfruit

Ingredients

Half breadfruit
Olive oil or coconut oil
Sea salt and Black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Remove the skin and the core of the breadfruit. Cut the white flesh in slices, as you would do with chunky chips. Boil, or steam them, in salted water until they are easy to prick with a knife. Not too soft.

Allow them to cool.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper, coat the slices of breadfruit with the olive oil or coconut oil, season and place the slices carefully on the tray. Avoid crowding them.

Place the tray in the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until they reach a lovely golden colour. Turn them over half way through.

Serve.

A healthy noteBreadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is high in carbohydrates and in dietary fibre, which helps to regulate your digestive system; lower high cholesterol and blood pressure. It contains high amounts of vitamin C, magnesium, calcium and potassium. It is also a great source of the B vitamins, especially niacin (B3), thiamine (B1) and pyridoxine (B6). Breadfruit contains both the essential fats Omega 3 and Omega 6 - they are good for your heart and skin health. The fruit contains some carotenoids, like lutein, which helps to prevent macular degeneration.

Till next week!
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