None of the information regarding the breadfruit in the previous post was known to me when this vegetable/fruit was foisted on me as a pre-teen. On trips to my motherâ€™s ancestral hometown in Bohol, we used to have to make the rounds of every major home on the main street in the days after we arrived. It was explained to me that we had to greet everyone and make polite conversation, spending at least an hour in each home. On any given afternoon we would visit perhaps 3-4 homes and at each home I distinctly recall being served a merienda of fried breadfruit with latik, a sweet sauce made with coconut milk and brown sugar or panocha (palm sugar). While it tasted pleasant enough, having it four times in one day and for several consecutive days meant you rapidly dreaded the local delicacy. As a result, I donâ€™t think I have eaten any breadfruit in the past 30 years.
Fast forward to last week and the heavily laden humongous breadfruit tree behind our familyâ€™s offices in Cebu, and I decided it was time to have another go at breadfruit. Simply peel the tough but relatively thin skin off the fruit, exposing the creamy white flesh that should still be rather firm if you have picked it at the right stage of maturity. Slice it into four and remove the center area where you would normally find seeds in a fruit and slice it thinly either lengthwise or crosswise, depending on your preference. If you want crunchy chips, you may want to dry the sliced breadfruit outdoors in the hot sun for an hour or two. I like them just fried straight away so they have a crunchy skin and a softer flesh.
Next heat up some vegetable oil and fry the breadfruit until it has a light tinge of gold. It is actually cooked even before it browns a little but I like the appetizing color that comes with another half minute or so cooking. They looked greatâ€¦so much more appetizing than French fries, in my opinion. You may want to drain these on paper towels before serving though I find that very little oil soils the towelsâ€¦ Serve this with a latik that is made by cooking some coconut milk with panocha (palm sugar) until it is thickened or if you like a darker latik, make it with dark muscovado sugar instead. This was one fantastic looking snack. Even better, it tasted absolutely great – a bit of sweetness, a lot of starch, it had faint shades of kamote but a nicer, lighter flavor. I canâ€™t believe I havenâ€™t had any for 30 odd-years. I will definitely have this again in the near futureâ€¦