It’s the start of summer in the northern hemisphere which means… absolutely nothing to most of us here in Micronesia and the Marianas. It will remain hot and sunny for a few more weeks before monsoon-typhoon season really kicks-off. Even then. hot and sunny is still pretty much it. While our weather might not be changing, a new season is here. Breadfruit season! Some trees on Guam fruit at different times during the year but most will have football sized breadfruits reading for picking in late May through June. Since Yap is little south of Guam they were already knee deep in bf by the time we got there. With huge breadfruit trees producing huge breadfruit what can you do with all this useful, local, starchy deliciousness?
We were lucky to get the chance to meet with Yap Fusion, a newly formed NGO in Yap that is using local ingredients to create food local versions of food that people love to eat! While pizza and fish cakes can be imported in frozen containers, you can make perfectly good versions of these foods with ingredients found in an average tropical backyard.
We had a delicious meal with Linda who works with the United Nations Volunteer Program, is the economist for Yap, and founded of Yap Fusion. She is passionate about food security, health, and (being Italian) good food. So far Yap Fusion has offered cooking workshops to share recipes with people living on Yap, engaged local women in ingredient preparation and coming up with new recipes, catered for health fairs and governments events, sold food to fundraise at Yap Day, and continues to share health info recipes online through their blog and facebook page. In the future Yap fusion hopes to help local entrepreneurs sell food that use local ingredients, increase Yap’s food security, and work raise money for programs and tools that can support these goals. Recently the group applied for a grant for a machine that will convert fresh taro into taro flour that can be sold locally and used to make cooking more local and affordable (flour is expensive in Yap, heavy to transport, and sometimes macro critters will move in for a carb fix).
My favorite Yap Fusion recipe is breadfruit pizza. Not only was is delicious but you could give anyone a slice of this pizza and, if you didn’t tell them, they would NEVER KNOW that the crust was made from breadfruit and not flour based dough. The texture is slightly different but it is similar in taste and texture to a flat crust pizza (only maybe a teensy bit wetter).
The recipe for pizza is here, on the Yap Fusion blog. There are also instructions for how to make the pizza with yams. Not only is this flour-alternative pizza local and healthy, it can easily be made gluten-free by using a non-wheat flour in the recipe! So people with Celiac disease or other gluten sensitivities or allergies can also enjoy a delicious local/seasonal pizza!
Two other great recipes are up on the blog right now for Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Pasta and Sweet Potato Pie Crust. I also have some imprecise recipes from the foods I tried when we had our Yap Fusion dinner. The ingredients are not listed in amounts but with even a limited knowledge of cooking you should be able to estimate the amounts or add ingredients together a little bit at a time until you reach what seems like a good dough or mixture. Here they are…
Fish patties recipe
– boiled breadfruit
– tuna (or your choice of fish)
– chili peppers
– flour or oil to texture
- Mix first three ingredients together to form a dough that will keep its form when shaped, add flour or oil to reach desired texture
- Form into slider sized patties and bake in oven @400o
- To reheat fry in pan with oil
- Serve with coconut oil mayonnaise
- For an alternative interpretation stuff dough into bell peppers and bake @350o until fully cooked
Coconut oil mayonnaise
– Coconut oil
– Ginggang or calamansi
– Olive oil (just a touch)
- Mix the above ingredients to create a thick liquid slightly more liquidy than regular mayonnaise
- Chill and serve with fish patties or on sandwich
– passion fruit + papaya + ginggang/calamansi
– coconut + mango
– fruit + yogurt
– Your choice of filling
- Mix dough ingredients until you get a thin dough, thinner than typical pancake batter
- Fry in lightly buttered pan until cooked through (do not flip)
- Let cool, placing paper towel or towel between pancakes
- Fill with your choice of fruit and serve warm
If you can substitute breadfruit with yams in the pizza crust you could probably do the same for any of the above or replace with regular potatoes if that is what is available seasonally in your area. Experiment! Share what you find!