We celebrated the starch of the islands (breadfruit) this weekend at the Puna 'Ulu Festival, an event to support Kua O Ka La Public Charter School. The event was held on the school grounds, which happen to be next to the enchanting 'Ahalanui Hot Ponds.
The event included music, cultural crafts, cooking demonstations, 'ulu and poi pounding, kapa making, games, and a cooking contest.
The cooking contest participants were challenged to incorporate niu (coconut) into their dishes with 'ulu as the main ingredient. I chose to enter an appetizer recipe, although there were entries for entrees and desserts. I'm happy to report that my Shrimp & 'Ulu Cakes won first place in the appetizer division! Recipe is below.
Unfortunately, I got a little caught up in the excitement of the festival and failed to snap a photo. The photo above is of the cakes pre-fried.
If you are an island resident, please consider incorporating more breadfruit into your diet. It is not only a nutrient-rich starch that can easily take the place of potatoes in any dish, but being locally sourced, is an environmental superstar, too. Here are some other recipe ideas using breadfruit: 'Ulu Gnocchi with Hamakua Mushroom Ragout, Mashed Breadfruit with Roasted Garlic & Goat Cheese, or any number of recipes on Sonia Tastes Hawaii (Sonia was one of the judges for the cooking contest and a champion of culinary food sustainability).
Shrimp and 'Ulu Cakes with Coconut Cream
1 pound shrimp
1 small green ‘ulu
2 TBL mayo
2 chopped Big Island green onions
1/3 cup chopped Big Island cilantro
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup flour
1 beaten Big Island egg
1 cup panko
1 can coconut milk
& cilantro for garnish