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Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The first Giveaway & Breadfruit Gratin- Totally new to me but the most delicious gratin I have ever had!

Breadfruit is a delicious fruit that grows everywhere in Mauritius!
It grows in the gardens and, if not, is found at every market.
In other places where it is not easily found, it is most likely to be sold in Asian Markets

Breadfruit is a very commonly used fruit in Creole cuisine of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The breadfruit trees are known to be generously yielding and are grown abundantly. In both the Mauritius and Seychelles I have seen these trees grown everywhere and in almost every garden. This is known to be a nutritious fruit that is full of potassium, fiber and carbohydrate. Therefore seen as an energy supplement that is also filling. On another hand, breadfruit is gluten-free, which makes it sought after by seliac patients and those with gluten intolerance. The fruit is also made into flour, and this flour is specifically sought after for its gluten-free characteristic.

Breadfruit can be round or oval, covered with thick, rough green skin and is either white fleshed or beige to pale-yellow fleshed, depending on the type available. Both types taste very similar, however, the yellowish fleshed fruit is creamier when cooked than its white counterpart and is sweeter in flavour when ripe, which makes it especially good for this gratin. In Creole cuisine, braedfruit is used in the making of both savoury and sweet concoctions.

Char-grilled whole breadfruit

 I have tried breadfruit crisps, and chips - deep fried until golden - and they are really gorgeous, very crunchy, tasty and I actually prefer them to potato crisps. I guess I find them different - a bit more interesting. When in Seychelles, I have tried a char-grilled whole breadfruit and it was extremely good. Similar to baked whole potatoes, but with a very interesting texture. It was kind of like (if I may use this simile) ever so slightly damp candy floss in texture, savoury in flavour with a strange creaminess despite being cremated over those coals, literally until black! The whole ceremony of cutting that charred ball with a huge knife, to reveal its white interior, which I was guessing would had been charred too! So wrong I was! It was white, fleshy, creamy, savoury and utterly delicious! I have also tried cookies and puddings made with breadfruit, which were also very interesting to say the least, some actually very tasty. It seems that however way you spin this fruit, it is always deliciously yielding.

With all that said, I have to say that the breadfruit gratin I had in Mauritius a few weeks ago was by far the best application with this fruit. In fact, it is the utter most best gratin, I have ever had! It was delicious, creamy, cheesy, savoury, aromatic, chewy and so comforting but most of all very interestingly different! Your mouth just loves it. It is like a whole new comfort zone that your palate is not accustomed to. Absolutely beautiful. An epic side to grills, roasts,
or even on its own with a side of salad to cut through all of the creaminess (needed when its on it's own, and I guess you can tell I have tried just that the next day lol). Yup, I tell you, you have to try it to know it. So, I wanted to start my Mauritius recipe collection with this amazing breadfruit gratin recipe, because it is so Mauritius, the best I have had and simply because you just have to try it too :) Now I know breadfruit is hard to find outside of the realms of the equator, outside the so unfairly lush and giving earth of abundance known as exotic islands... it is at times sold in Asian markets. I have once upon a time also seen it in Lulu Hypermarket (confirmed by my lovely facebookers and tweeps).

If you do find a breadfruit, buy it and here is one way you can prepare it for a marvelous side. Serve it alongside grilled fish, lobsters or cray fish. Your family / friends will love you for it and you will totally enjoy this exotic treat. Here is how....

Breadfruit Gratin - (Mauritius Creole Cuisine)
You Need

1 large breadfruit
1 medium red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 large fresh thyme springs
2 tbsp butter
1 ltr cooking cream
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups shredded Emmental cheese

Preparing the breadfruit for gratin

With breadfruit you must remove the fibrous centre

Fibrous centre removed
The breadfruit can be tricky to peel, simply because of its round shape and rough skin. Make sure to start by creating a base to sit the fruit as you peel. If it rolls as you peel, you risk cutting yourself. Cut off the top bit, sit it on the counter then peel it.

Once peeled, quarter the fruit and remove the fibrous centre. Once removed you can chop into any size you like, however try not to chop too small, as these fruits will give the finished dish its texture.

Boil the chopped breadfruit in salted water for 30 minutes (more or less, depending on the fruit. Until soft.) Drain, discarding the liquid and set aside.

In a medium pot, saute the sliced onions, garlic and thyme springs in the butter until translucent. Add the cooked breadfruit and gently stir to coat. Pour in the cream and mix. Season with salt and black pepper and bring the mixture to a gentle boil.

Transfer to a deep baking dish and sprinkle the tops with the grated Emmental. Bake in a 450F oven until the cheese is melted and browned (about 20 minutes). Remove from the oven and stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serve alongside grilled seafood and a side of slightly acidic salad.

Breadfruit Gratin
The Fun Bit & Giveaway 1

 The Mauritians will tell you that the only way to finish this meal is by a digestive shot of Vanilla flavoured Rum. Usually flavoured at home commonly using agricultural white rum, but in fancier applications using the smoother double distilled rum. And as you know I am giving giveaways from Mauritius, details on this link. Therefore, for the first post - and in spirit of the local Mauritian custom - I am giving away 2 of the freshest possible Mauritian Bourbon Vanilla pods, for you to flavour a bottle of rum :) Don't worry if you don't know how, because more to come in a following post about the whole rum aspect of Mauritius, including how to flavour your rum at home.

Relative Links 

Hope you have enjoyed reading this post and recipe, do give it a try, new ingredients always bring interesting to your kitchen and make cooking way more fun. 

Have you traveled culinary before? If you have what inspired you to travel specifically for food? If you haven't, is Culinary Travel becoming more interesting to you? do you think you will give 'travel for food exploration' a go?

Would love to hear your thoughts, so do leave a comment before you go ;)
Have a delicious day...