Our office internet is misbehaving and it’s hard for me to post new content without wasting hours of time waiting for things to upload. At any rate, I am reposting this post on kamansi from 8 years ago because of a question posed to me yesterday about the difference between kamansi and rimas… One is seeded breadfruit, and the the other has no seeds and a slightly different outer skin. It’s breadfruit season now across the archipelago and folks are enjoying this backyard treat fried with some latik… I haven’t had some for a while, will have to search for some at the markets soon. :)
Kamansi or Seeded Breadfruit (Artocarpus camansi) is very closely related to but not the same as Rimas or Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis). I didn’t know that so maybe some of you didn’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 unsightly… I jest, of course. :) 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 years…
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 didn’t particularly like it but it wasn’t bad. Maybe I just haven’t gotten over my breadfruit phobia just yet. At PHP50 for 3 pieces, this makes a very economical “vegetable” dish out of the kamansi fruit.
Sources: Uncommon Fruits & Vegetables by Elizabeth Schneider; Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson.