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Revitalizing Breadfruit

Revitalizing Breadfruit

"The Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu Project.“

Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu is a project to revitalize 'ulu (breadfruit) as an attractive, delicious, nutritious, abundant, affordable, and culturally appropriate food which addresses Hawai'i's food security issues. It is well known that Hawai'i imports about 90% of its food, making it one of the most food insecure states in the nation. Additionally, since the economic downturn of 2008, many families lack access to affordable and nutritious food. We believe that breadfruit is a key to solving Hawaii's food security problems.

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Sam Choy’s 2012 Keauhou Poke Contest

Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest attracted a large and enthusiastic crowd.

Among the winners of the different categories in the recently held 1st Annual Sam Choy Keauhou Poke Contest held Sunday, March 18th at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort was the entry by the ’Aina Life Culinary Arts Class of the Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School at Pū'āla'a in Lower Puna. Mariposa Blanco, the school’s Culinary Teacher, and Susie Osborne, School Principal and Administrator, entered the class’s ‘Ulu–‘Ahi Spicy Poke, and won First Place in the Non-Professional Spicy Category.

Mariposa Blanco and friend Roberta serve Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School's 'Ulu-'Ahi Spicy Poke.

In early March, Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School was the recent host of the Puna Breadfruit Festival and as a testimony of their commitment to use only locally sourced food products, all ingredients in the contest entry were locally grown and harvested or made from Hawai’i grown products.

`Ulu – ‘Ahi Spicy Poke

Makes 8 servings

1 pound ‘ahi
Coconut oil
Paste of 5 Hawaiian chili peppers (to your taste)
1/2 cup liliko`i purée
1 Tablespoon Maui raw sugar
1/4 pound ginger juiced                             
1/4 pound olena juiced (*)
1 whole `ulu steamed (you will only need half your `ulu)
Chinese red meat radish (optional)
1 or more scallions, to taste
Zest of at least 1/2 a lime
6 Tablespoons Inamona (*)                                               
Sea salt to taste
1/4 cup fresh coconut cream

Cut the ‘ahi in bite size pieces and rub with the coconut oil.  Cover and set aside in refrigerator.

Make the paste with the Hawaiian chile peppers.

Purée the liliko’i with the Maui raw sugar in a large serving bowl; add the chile paste, juiced ginger and juiced olena.  Add 1/4 of this mixture to the ‘ahi; cover and store in the refrigerator.

When ulu is ready let cool for a few minutes, then cut into small chunks, rub with sea salt and coconut oil; drop into the bowl; add the balance of the liliko’i–chile pepper mixture and mix well.

Cut the radish into matchsticks size pieces and add to `ulu.  Finely slice your scallions and add to `ulu mix. Add the ‘ahi but don’t mix it yet.

Zest the skin of at least half a lime right on top of ‘ahi; add the inamona. Add the coconut cream and gently toss everything together, just enough for all the ingredients to blend.

(*) Notes:

Olena – turmeric root
Inamona – a condiment made from roasted kuku’i nuts (candlenuts) and sea salt ground to a paste.

Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest was part of the Keauhou Resort’s annual Kamehameha III celebration held March 16-18 that commemorated the Keauhou-born king, Lani Kauikeaouli.

The contest was sponsored by Kamehameha Investment Corporation, Kamehameha Schools, the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort Spa, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai Restaurant in Kona, Aloha Shoyu and Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company. Video coverage of the contest can be seen at Big Island Video News.

Sonia R. Martinez, the Hawai'i Homegrown Food Network regular farmers market reporter, is a cookbook author and freelance food writer for several publications in Hawai'i, including The Hamakua Times of Honoka’a. She is a contributing writer for Edible Hawaiian Islands Magazine and has her own food & garden blog at

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