‘Ulu, the star of our Aloha Friday issue recipe, is a darling fruit, but it doesn’t necessarily incite drooling with its crusty green skin. Here, cook Jennifer Hee helps you tame the toothless beast.
You can tell ‘ulu is maturing by its increasingly unattractive appearance. The vibrant, green skin turns crusty and yellow, sappy and smooth. Super-ripe ‘ulu has the consistency of soggy dough, while moderately ripe ‘ulu is firm enough to be cubed or sliced, then fried or steamed and tossed into soups, breakfast hash, or salads. You can also dehydrate thin slices, dipping the chips in chili, honey, or guacamole. I like to simply blend an overripe ‘ulu with coconut milk, bake it until the top is crisp, and scoop spoonful after spoonful of the warm, sweet custard into my mouth. To prep it:
1. Wash, then slice in half vertically along the edge of the stem.
2. Pull or cut out the core and the brown, fibrous area surrounding it.
3. Keep an eye peeled for seeds to remove. The amount and location of the macadamia nut-sized seeds varies.
4. If the ‘ulu is super-ripe (very soft when gently squeezed), simply scoop out the insides. With moderately ripe ‘ulu, cut into bite-sized chunks and slice off the skin before roasting or steaming until tender. Pre-cooked ‘ulu freezes well for future use.