Artocarpus communis

Breadfruit, dhel in Singhala, makes an easy starchy staple when in season. It's the unripe fruit that's used here (the ripe fruit is used as a dessert in some Pacific Islands). It can be treated simply, cutting it into wedges or biggish dice and boling it up with turmeric in salted water and eaten plain, or tempered with chillie, curry leaves and Maldive fish after boiling, or made into a curry like other starch vegetables. It's also cut into thin slices and deep fired into chips which lightly dusted with chili and salt are a great alternative to potato chips. Chandra Dissanayake in her Ceylon Cookery gives a version for breadfruit stuffed with mince which I haven't generally come across but sounds worth the trying.

Gordon Cuuming described the tree and its uses in 1891: 'In marked contrast with these stately fan-palms, and with the light waving plumes of the cocoas, are the bread-fruit trees, with their masses of dark-green foliage and large pale-green fruit nestling beneath separate crowns of splendid glossy leaves, deeply indented. I have measured 3 feet 2 inches by 2 feet 4 inches, while others on older trees averaged 21 to 25 inches in length, Each of these great leaves acts as a mirror to reflect the light, so that the bread-fruit tree casts no great depth of shadow (Artocarpus incisa). Of course every one who sees a bread-fruit tree for the first time longs to taste the natural hot buttered rolls of his child-hood’s fancy; but I fear the result is generally disappointing. Personally, I have had opportunities of tasting it in all its preparations, and I cannot say I greatly appreciate any of them, whether boiled or baked, as in Fiji and Tahiti, or made into glutinous poi in Hawaii. From the fact that this grand tree is not even named by so accurate an observer as Sir James Emerson Tennent, I assume that, common as it is now is, it must be one of the many importations of the last half-century.'     

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