"Native Food, Native Stories"
| Mele Kalama Kingman graciously models handcrafted kapa po‘ulu clothing.|
Mahalo nui loa to the following sponsors:
|Kealoha Kelekolio mesmerizing the audience with his enchanting ‘Oli|
|Dr. Sam ‘Ohu Gon chanting the opening ‘Ulu ‘Oli which he composed|
Diane Ragone – “All about ‘ulu and why it is good for you”
Craig Elevitch – “‘Ulu in Agroforestry”
Ian Cole – “‘Ulu from Root to Fruit”
Kelling also captivated us with several fascinating mo‘olelo (traditional
stories) about ‘ulu.
demonstrations included Wes Sen, with his wife Lehua, fabricating kapa po‘ulu
(from stripping the ‘ulu branch to pounding the kapa). Kalama Souza and Mele
Kalama Kingman graciously modeled kapa po‘ulu clothing.
|Wes Sen displaying kapa po‘ulu|
|Mele Kalama Kingman|
DeLuze generously treated everyone to poi ‘ulu tastings from his fresh pounded ‘ulu of different varieties.
|Our lovely BMAC ladies prepared and served tasty ‘ulu samples, along with the most delicious ‘ulu poke and ‘ulu curry to share with our guests.|
|Caroline Yacoe with a Micronesian Breadfruit mask|
|Botanical ‘Ulu reference from Ni‘ihau|
|Diane Ragone, Kealoha Kelekolio, Sam ‘Ohu Gon, and Ian Cole|
I’ve also included a little essay (that I handed out at the workshop) on breadfruit, or mei, along with a couple recipes
(which I learned from good friends while spending time in the Marquesas, as
well as incorporating breadfruit into modern recipes in Hawai‘i). But, what I’ve
found, I enjoy ‘ulu “the simpler the better!”
numerous traditional names for breadfruit (f. Moraceae, Artocarpus Altilis) found across most parts of Polynesia, as well
as countless names for each variety and stage of growth. The most common are:
- mei (Marquesas)
- ‘uru (Tahiti, Tuamotu)
- maiore (Austral)
- kuru (Rarotonga)
- ‘ulu (Hawai‘i, Sāmoa)
exception of colder climates such as Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Rapa Nui
(Easter Island), most Polynesian cultures include breadfruit as part of their
customary diets, but the Marquesas people (Te Henua ‘Enana, Te Fenua ‘Enata)
established breadfruit, or mei, as one of their primary food sources.
Overly-simplified, more than a thousand years ago the mata‘einana (maohi,
maka‘ainana) of Te Henua ‘Enana were forced by environmental unpredictability
(periodic drought causing famine), combined with an increase in population
growth, to manage an agricultural system that included the long-term storage of
ua ma, or fermented mei (ma) conserved in subterranean pits (ua). During rainy periods, breadfruit trees can
yield several harvests, thus providing a substantial storage resource. Tribal
chiefs, or Haka‘iki, predominantly controlled mei production, particularly its
distribution, which included ua ma. Many family and communal groups shared ua
ma, with some ua constructed as large as 18-feet in diameter and 15 feet deep.
Some ua ma are said to have existed for more than 100 years. The old ma
resembles a thick, tacky, dark paste, and must be properly prepared before
ma (fermented breadfruit), it must first be prepared by gradually adding water
(or coconut water) and kneaded into soft dough. Mei‘a (bananas, Musa sp.) are sometimes added as well.
The dough is shaped and wrapped into koumu
(vahima, small cooking packets) usually made of fau (purau, hau, Hibiscus
Tiliaceus), mei‘a, or auti (ti, ki, Cordyline
sp.) leaves and either baked in an umu
(imu, traditional earth oven), modern oven, steamed, or boiled. It is finished
cooking when there is no trace on a pick after inserting (as testing
cooked ma is then unwrapped and
pounded with a kea tuki popoi (pounder)
to the consistency of a smooth paste.
The paste is kneaded with freshly roasted breadfruit; amounts vary with
taste and availability. Sometimes cooked ta‘o
(taro, kalo, Colocasia Esculenta) is
pounded into the paste as well (popoi
ta‘o). Traditionally served with fresh grated, squeezed coconut milk.
breadfruit that has been peeled, cored, and pounded with coconut milk to your
mei, or breadfruit (or ripen until soft by piercing a piece of fau (hau) or
bamboo into the stem end). Peel, core, slice, and layer on top of banana and
auti (ti, ki) leaves, occasionally lined within a coconut leaf basket, or
sometimes a small hole in the ground that is first lined with fau leaves,
crisscrossed with several auti, and then with heat-softened banana leaves (to
make them pliable). Roasted or steamed ta‘o
(taro, kalo) is frequently sliced and placed on top. A blend of fresh
coconut milk and honey is poured over the mei and ta‘o. Sometimes water and a
little coconut meat is added. Seal with banana leaves and tie (as with Hawaiian
feikai mei pa‘a is baked in an umu (imu, earth oven). The prepared packets are
sometimes strung along green, peeled sticks (fau) and hung over, not on, the
hot stones of the umu before closing to bake. The sweet pudding caramelizes as
it bakes for several hours. Today, feikai mei pa‘a is also baked
“casserole-style” in modern ovens.
mei (breadfruit). Split, core, and scoop out into bowl. Mash mei pieces into
patties and heat on lightly oiled pan. Brown as desired and lightly sprinkle
with traditional sea salt (pa‘atai) or a squeeze of citrus (such as lime).
Fresh roasted mei pa‘atai at home on our gas stove
Steamed or Baked Breadfruit
breadfruit in half or quarters and place in hot steamer basket until tender. Peel and core.
Place unpeeled breadfruit in baking pan, adding water to
Bake about one hour until tender (as you would a potato)
Or, split and core breadfruit prior to baking with
seasonings placed in core cavity.
Season breadfruit as desired.
Use in favorite
suggestions after cooking:
· Cut into small pieces and simply
eat as substitute for bread with your meal,
· Squeeze of lemon or lime, salt and
pepper, sprinkling of chili-pepper water, drizzle of olive oil, or tomato sauce,
· Cube into stir-fries or soups,
· Puree with your favorite sweet
such as jam, honey, or sugar and season to taste,
· Puree/mash/pound (as a substitute
for potatoes) with vegetable or chicken broth, or milk (or a touch of freshly
squeezed coconut milk), season to your taste,
· Marinate in a light-vinaigrette
and add to salads or omelets,
· Broil slices (lightly brushed with
olive oil) in oven, or grill slices on the bbq, season to taste,
· Lightly fry thin slices (or fried
· Puree with a bit of sweetness
(your choice – fruit, jam) and milk to make a dessert,
· Lightly drizzle with
cooked breadfruit, about 2 cups (either roast, bake, steam, or boil, then peel
mashed banana if desired.
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 egg yolks (save egg whites)
If desired: 1 tablespoon melted butter, or vegetable oil
Mix the dry
mixture into the wet, and then add the pureed breadfruit, along with:
1 teaspoon vanilla (extract, or freshly scraped from the
inside of a vanilla bean)
If desired: 1 tablespoon of rum, or ½ teaspoon of spice (such as
nutmeg, cinnamon, or allspice)
together, adjust for dryness (should be a semi-thick batter), let rest for at
least 1 hour.
whip the saved egg whites to soft-stiff peaks (not dry) and fold into the
pureed breadfruit mixture.
spoonfuls of mixture in hot oil until golden brown.
towel and lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar (and cinnamon if desired).
prepared savory by omitting the sugar and vanilla, and served with tomato sauce
or lemon/lime wedges.
Mahalo for visiting our little blog!