What’s crunchy, healthy, and full of island flavor?
The answer is oven baked Ulu Chips. Every bit as delicious as the deep-fried version, And to top it off, they are really easy to make. We hope you enjoy this exclusive recipe from the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Finding ulu (more commonly known as breadfruit) may not be as easy on the mainland, but it can be done. Look in local specialty markets, such as Indian, Asian, etc. You may need to call first, as they are seasonal. A perfect ulu for chips will just be turning yellow and looks like its dotted lightly in white, chalky sap. If you squeeze it and it’s soft, it’s too ripe for chips. In fact, ulu serves two purposes. When it’s firm, it is used as a starch. Soft means it has turned sweet and gummy and can make some amazing desserts. Once you purchase an ulu, place it in a paper bag and then in the fridge if you do not want it to ripen further. You only have 2 – 3 days, so plan on making your dish soon after you get your ulu fruit.
Crisp and light baked ulu chips
Preheat oven to 400o.
- One firm breadfruit (generally about football size, but any size can work) that is just beginning to yellow
- Coconut oil
- Fresh ground pepper
- Hawaiian salt or plain sea salt
Optional ingredients could include any of the following:
- chopped or ground rosemary
- cumin powder
- curry powder
- garlic salt (substituting it for the Hawaiian/sea salt)
- lemon pepper (substituting it for the ground pepper)
- squeezed lime drizzled lightly over the top on one side just before placing in the oven
Take the ulu, wash it in cool water, dry with a towel and place on a cutting board. With a large, sharp knife – cut the ulu in half, and then quarters. Cut the center core out completely, along with any bad spots. You then can cut each section one more time, if you want, so that you have 8 pieces (this is best for a large ulu).
Take a heavy duty peeler and peel off the skin. As you finish each section, place it in a bowl of cool water. Once you are done, take a piece out, one at a time and thinly slice it 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick. I found it much easier to accomplish this cutting across the slice of ulu. I then tried slicing the next piece lengthwise in 1/8″ – 1/4″ slices. it takes some skill and patience to do that, but the pieces are much larger. Test your skills and go with what version works best for you.
Once you have sliced a section, spread the pieces out on large cookie sheets that has been coated in coconut oil, making sure that the pieces do not touch. From this point on, I like to use my hands to spread the rest of the oil and whatever herbs and spices you want to add.
Begin by pouring a tablespoon or so of coconut oil into your palm and drizzle it over the sliced ulu. Then spread the oil across the slices with your hand. Now, take the salt, pepper, and anything listed in the optional ingredients you want into a small bowl. Mix them evenly and pour some into your palm. Using your opposite hand, take a pinch and sprinkle over a group of ulu slices as lightly and evenly as possible. Grab another pinch and continue until you’ve covered the entire pan.
You may need two or three cookie sheets to complete all of the slices. I cook one sheet at a time, and then fill another while I’m waiting, ready to pop in the second the others are done. I usually make 1/2 of the slices into chips. As long as you keep the slices in the cool water, they will hold until you can get to them. (I cut the into 2 – 3″ c other half into chunks, boil them until soft, and make ulu mash. I will be sharing that recipe in the next couple of weeks)
Place the pan of seasoned ulu in the middle of the pre-heated stove and bake for 10 minutes. Take them out and flip them over carefully with a spatula. Place back in the oven for 5 – 7 minutes, keeping an eye out that they do not burn.
Once they are done, transfer them over to a plate to cool. These are definitely best served warm with any dip you would serve with potato chips. My favorite is crab dip, but really, the sky’s the limit!