Kamansi or Seeded Breadfruit (Artocarpus camansi) is very closely related to but not the same as Rimas or Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis). I didnâ€™t know that so maybe some of you didnâ€™t either. Kamansi has sharper points on its skin, more like a jackfruit (another close relative) while Rimas has a flatter outer skin. Kamansi has soft seeds and Rimas has no seeds. I spied these unusual little Kamansi from an organic vegetable seller that I frequent and decided they looked too interesting to pass up. I brought home three small Kamansi and hoped that the cook had heard of these beforeâ€¦ she had, good Boholana that she is, Kamansi and Rimas grew in abundance in her native Bohol. Kamansi are believed to be native to Papua New Guinea and possibly Indonesia and the Philippines.
When I was still a single digit (years, not fingers) kid I used to go with my mom to her ancestral home in the boonies of Bohol (4+ hours in a jeep to get there from Tagbilaran on a dusty coastal road but on a map it is just 80 kilometers!) and once ensconced there, we had to visit all of our relatives who then proceeded to whip out their finest snack of fried breadfruit locally called Kolo (not Rimas) with latik (a sugary sweet dip). As yummy as that was, having it 7 times in a row as we progressed down the main street at a languid late afternoon pace was enough to make me want to scream at the top of my lungs that breadfruit in fact gave me seizures that resulted in lesions that were contagious and unsightlyâ€¦ Then the next day we would have to do the other side of the street! Needless to say, I never ate breadfruit again for another 20 or so yearsâ€¦
Back at home, the cook peeled the skin of the small Kamansi (which she felt were picked too young by the way) to expose the whitish pulp and seeds. Boiled in a little water to cook the pulp, she added coconut milk, onions and ginger. Served as a vegetable, it was a bit like unripe jackfruit but softer and mushier. I didnâ€™t particularly like it but it wasnâ€™t bad. Maybe I just havenâ€™t gotten over my breadfruit phobia just yet. At PHP50 for 3 pieces, this makes a very economical â€œvegetableâ€ dish out of the Kamansi fruit. Sources: Uncommon Fruits & Vegetables by Elizabeth Schneider; Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson.