When we returned home to the Big Island of Hawaii in May 2019 following our volcano-inspired ‘evacuation vacation’ to the mainland, the concept of sustainability seemed more prevalent than it had before we’d left. As you can imagine, living on an island has many differences to the mainland in this regard. For one, many things that are readily available on the mainland are harder to come by here, and frequently cost substantially more. Also, being an island, there is the perpetually looming possibility that at any time we might have our umbilical cord to the mainland’s supply chain of goods cut off without notice. That is why I was glad to see a movement toward an insular autonomy gaining momentum.
One outstanding example of this movement is the work being done by the Hawaii ‘Ulu Co-op to expand the propagation, availability and utilization of ‘Ulu (breadfruit). A Hawaiian staple and indigenous plant that thrives here on the islands, specifically here on The Big Island, this fruit is increasingly abundant and as versatile as the common potato, if not more so.
Well obviously I had to give it a try! I researched a little on-line, talked to farmers at our local farmers markets and finally purchased a few to experiment with. I went directly home with the lovely lime green, melon-sized fruit and proceeded to wash, peel and slice it. Then I simply deep-fried the wedges like french fries. We enjoyed the ‘Ulu fries immensely, dipping them in our favorite F-Bomb sauce.
Not long after that we attended a plant-based potluck in our local community where I was introduced to a traditional recipe in which the ‘Ulu is cooked in coconut milk, creating a thick and cheesy texture reminiscent of scalloped potatoes. Instantly my intuition told me this ‘might’ work for a cheese sauce substitute. More research directed me to this traditional Samoan recipe called Fa’alifu or: ‘Ulu in Coconut Milk. This recipe is very helpful and informative with detailed pictures on how to prepare fresh ‘Ulu .
As ‘Ulu gains in production and popularity, it is becoming easier to find in the freezer sections of local specialty stores, Asian markets or Indian markets and is frequently called Breadfruit. Recently a new freezer product was introduced from The Hawaii ‘Ulu Cooperative
which I have used in this Queso Fond’Ulu™ recipe. Click here to order online and they will Fed-ex it to you frozen. Also, this is a great article if you would like more information about the nutritional benefits of ‘Ulu.
Our new recipe for this plant-based Queso dip (Queso Fond’Ulu™) has become one of our favorites and quickly gained popularity here in Hawaii at our local community gatherings. In developing this recipe I have created numerous versions using a variety of ingredients yielding quite a range in flavors. One of our favorite renditions is achieved by inclusion of our Sauer-Salsa.
However, in the steps below, I have included substitutions that I hope produce good results (although you may have to adjust the flavors to suit your personal taste preferences. Further ‘adjustments’ might also be necessary depending on the culinary resources available in your area).
I have found the following Queso-Fond’Ulu™ recipe rendition to be the easiest, quickest and most convenient to make. I am very excited to finally be able to share it with you and as always look forward to hearing about your results!
Serve this plant-based Tex-Mex cheese dip with your favorite tortilla chip or spoon it over anything from burritos to taco salad to add a bit of yummy, cheesy plant-based goodness. From our family to yours, we really hope you enjoy our new crEATion.