Bountiful breadfruit + bonus recipe
William Bligh, commander of the HMS Bounty left Tahiti in 1789 with more than a thousand seedlings of the native breadfruit tree on board, bound for Jamaica. Three weeks later, first mate Fletcher Christian led the most famous mutiny in naval history. He set Bligh and 18 loyal crew adrift in an open boat and tossed the breadfruit seedlings overboard too. I wonder if any washed ashore somewhere and took root.
Against all odds, Bligh survived, navigating more than 4,000 nautical miles through the Fiji islands to Timor and two years later, successfully completed his breadfruit mission, delivering more than two thousand breadfruit plants to Jamaica where they thrived. Find out more about this event here and here.
The rather bland-tasting tropical breadfruit is a wonderful source of energy, as well as fibre, minerals and vitamins. It can be boiled, roasted, fried, mashed and made into a gluten-free flour. But the tree's great virtue as a food source is its rapid growth, heavy bearing (over 200 kilos each season) and resistance to disease.
My garden in Suva boasted an attractive glossy-leaved breadfruit tree providing shade and a versatile fruit the size of a cantaloupe (rockmelon). While it didn't become a diet staple for us, I often pan-fried whole circular slices in a little coconut oil or cut one in into chips or wedges and fried those. If you have access to breadfruit, I encourage you to try this for a change from other carbs: nothing could be easier. But if you're up for a more interesting flavour, here's a recipe popular with Fiji's ethnic Indian community. I love breadfruit prepared this way and hope you do too.
Marinated breadfruit recipe
Breadfruit benefits from a little spice. It's easy, I promise!
The fruit is large, so I suggest using only a quarter of a fruit unless you're feeding a crowd.
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground paprika or cayenne pepper
Juice of 1 or 2 limes
salt and pepper to taste
1. Peel and chop fruit into chips, wedges (or circles with a biscuit cutter).
2. Prepare marinade, add breadfruit pieces, mix until all are coated. Leave for at least 30 minutes. The fruit will absorb all the liquid.
3. Fry in hot coconut oil (or your preferred oil).
4. Drain at once on kitchen paper, garnish with chopped coriander and eat while warm (not suitable for keeping or re-heating)
Let me know how you get on with breadfruit!
I would love to answer any questions from readers about Fiji, or indeed about my books. Just leave me a message on bmallsopp.com or email me at email@example.com. And if you're not already a member, I invite you to join the Fiji Fan Club below.
I look forward to hearing from you!