Sunday, September 30, 2012

Breadfruit Festival & Cooking Contest Results

Award-winning 'Ulu Gnocchi 

Yesterday we spent the morning at the Breadfruit Festival in Captain Cook, Hawaii. The main aim of the festival is to promote breadfruit use in everyday cooking.

Making 'ulu (breadfruit) poi

The starchy fruit, similar to potato, is a logical replacement for rice, bread, flour, tortillas and potatoes when eaten in the "green" stage. Once the fruit ripens, it can be used in various desserts.

Sam Choy giving a cooking demo

Breadfruit grows abundantly here in the islands, although it is not widely used. We know this because most of our food is imported from abroad, particularly our most common starches. Hopefully attendees were able to learn some new uses for the fruit at the festival, I certainly did.

My 'ulu gnocchi won the heathy choice award!

I currently have a breadfruit and portuguese sausage stew bubbling away in the slow cooker as I type this, inspired by the winning recipe at the cooking contest. My entry, recipe below, got second place in the entree division as well as nabbing the "Healthiest Choice" award of which I am particularly proud. You all know by now how passionate I am about making food that is good for our bodies as well as the 'aina. I hope you will give breadfruit a chance, maybe even by trying the recipe below.

'Ulu (Breadfruit) Gnocchi with Hamakua Mushroom Ragout
serves 4-6

For gnocchi:
1 green breadfruit
1 to 1 1/2 cups flour
2 egg yolks

For ragout:
2 cups alii mushrooms, chopped
½ Maui onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4-5 sage leaves, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
grated parmesan to serve

Peel, decore, and chop breadfruit into bite sized pieces. Steam in a steamer basket for 20-30 minutes or until soft. Place in a large bowl and mash.

When breadfruit has cooled some, but is still warm, add flour and beaten egg yolks. Use your hands to mix and knead until it becomes a ball of dough. Do not over work the dough. Take a small handful of dough and roll into a tube about ¾ inch in diameter on a floured surface using the tips of your fingers. Cut the tube into 1 inch pieces and press each with your thumb to make a small indentation. Place gnocchi on a wax paper covered cookie sheet and continue with the rest of the dough.

Begin making the ragout by saut√©ing onion, garlic, and mushrooms in the olive oil over medium heat until soft, adding salt and pepper to taste as you go. Add the balsamic vinegar and sage, cover and turn off heat. 

To cook the gnocchi, bring a salted pot of water to a boil. Add a cup or so of gnocchi to the pot at a time, boiling for 1-2 minutes or until gnocchi float to the surface. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and boil the next batch. Take care not to crowd the gnocchi, this is why we cook them in batches. 

Toss cooked gnocchi in the ragout and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired. Enjoy!


  1. Gwen, your gnocchi were delicious and I'm so happy for you that it won the Healthiest Choice!
    I thought the dish was also simply but beautifully presented.
    Mahalo for entering the contest and I hope to taste more of your dishes in future!

  2. I LOVE breadfruit! I'm a huge caribbean food fan, but didn't realize it grew in HI too. Just another reason for me to come and visit!

  3. Mahalo for showing us locally sustainable (and easily available and inexpensive), nutritious, AND delectable food and for sharing your recipes.


Aloha Saturdays with Maggy reader! Thank you for your comments, I love hearing your thoughts and feedback.


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