French fries aren’t just made from potatoes anymore. Zucchini fries, green bean fries, eggplant fries, and even carrot fries have grown in popularity. For a treat with a local twist, try fries made of ulu, or breadfruit.
Ulu fries are easy-to-make and delicious. Like a regular potato fry, ulu fries are crunchy outside and fluffy inside.
What is ulu?
Ulu is an extremely versatile fruit that’s a staple in the Polynesian diet, much like rice and potatoes are in other parts of the world. The fruit is hard and usually ripens within a few days of picking. It has a spiky yellow-green exterior and a pale, yellow interior. There are several reasons why ulu is healthier than rice or potatoes. It’s low in fat, low glycemic, and is a source of fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals. Ulu can be prepared in many ways: baked, roasted, steamed, boiled, fried, or a combination of methods. While it’s often served as a vegetable, ulu can also be used in desserts like pies, cakes, and other sweet treats.
History of ulu
Ulu grows in tropical climates, including Hawaii, but they're likely not native to the islands. Polynesians who voyaged to the Hawaiian Islands brought plants in their double-hulled canoes to grow. These plants are known as "canoe plants" and include, in addition to ulu, awapuhi (ginger), maia (banana), niu (coconut), and uala (sweet potato).
At Eat Pono, we’re dedicated to sourcing local ingredients for our recipes. We gather our ulu from Poet’s grandmother’s garden.
Eat Pono's Ulu Fries
- 1 ripe ulu, tender but not squishy
- 2 Tbsp. coconut or grapeseed oil
- Hawaiian salt
- Lemon pepper seasoning
Preheat oven to 325 F. Rinse ulu then dry and quarter. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut away skin, then slice 1/8” thick with a knife or mandolin. The sap is very sticky, so oil your knife to facilitate slicing. Place ulu slices in bowl and drizzle with coconut or grapeseed oil. Season with Hawaiian salt and lemon pepper and toss gently. Lay ulu slices on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 40-45 minutes or until golden and crisp. Serve plain or with vegan miso mayo or ketchup.
This recipe is Blue Zones Project® approved. Blue Zones Project® is a well-being initiative that encourages change in our community that leads to healthier choices. These changes include improving well-being through policy, building design, and social networks. It all contributes to benefits for everyone including lowered healthcare costs, improved productivity, and a higher quality of life.
Blue Zones Project® is a trademark of Blue Zones LLC and Sharecare Inc. All rights reserved.
Candes and Poet Gentry are the mother son duo who have ignited the Eat Pono community conversation, encouraging ohana of all ages to source local, eat nutritiously, and live sustainably. Join the movement: @eatpono | www.eatpono.org | The Hawaii Community Foundation Eat Pono Fund
If you’d like to learn more about Eat Pono and its mission, read this article from the winter 2023 edition of Island Scene.
Check out some of our other delicious recipes: