THE RARE DELICACY CALLED BREADFRUIT (UKWA)
The rare delicacy called breadfruit (ukwa) is indeed a highly wanted meal. Have you ever eaten a plate of well-made ukwa before? Just in case you do not understand what a well-made ukwa means, it entails ukwa that has been processed well enough and prepared with various condiments that retain its nutritional value whether fried, cooked or extracted. You will find the answer to the previously asked question in the course of this article, if you do not have an answer yet.
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Now, what is this rare delicacy called ukwa?
Breadfruit, popularly known as ukwa is a special African fruit that is related to exotic fruits like breadnut, jackfruit, figs and mulberries. It can serve as a maindish, an appetizer or a dessert. The name ukwa was coined by the Igbos – the eastern part of Nigeria and is generally an extremely rare delicacy in all parts of Africa too.
What makes ukwa a rare delicacy?
It is scientifically known as Treculia africana, breadfruit is a highly sought after fruit due to its medicinal properties. It contains moderate levels of essential vitamins and minerals. Fresh seeds contain 38.3% carbohydrate, 15.9% fat and 17.7% crude protein. It contains adequate levels of protein, 100 grams provide 7.4 grams of protein, approximately 23% of the recommended amount. The seeds of Treculia africana can be ground to flour, pressed for oil and used as flavouring in alcoholic drinks. It is rich in riboflavin, iron, niacin, thiamin, iron and phosphorus. It contains minerals like potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, manganese, selenium and phosphorus. It is low in saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium.
Benefits of the rare delicacy called breadfruit (ukwa)
1. Helps to promote cardiovascular health due to its excellent source of potassium hence, reducing blood pressure and regulating heart rate by minimizing the effects of sodium.
2. It channels great resistance to some infections and diseases because it contains antioxidants which develop resistance against infectious and disease causing agents.
3. Ukwa serves as a great source of energy, one cup of breadfruit contains 60 grams of carbohydrate and this is highly beneficial for athletes and sports persons.
4. It is a good inhibitor of diabetes by reducing the amount of glucose absorption from the food we eat. It also contains enough compounds that are useful in the production of insulin for the pancreas.
5. Due to the fiber in this rare fruit, digestion is aided and toxins are flushed out from the body. It prevents digestion-related diseases like heartburn, acidity, gastritis and ulcer.
Aside its nutritional aspects, do you know that ukwa promotes other areas of the body?
– Breadfruit is a good source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids which naturally conditions the hair and reduces hair breakage.
– Ashes of the breadfruit leaves are useful for curing skin infections.
– Moreso, the latex of the breadfruit is applied on skin surfaces affected by skin diseases like eczema, inflammation and psoriasis.
– Breadfruit juice contains vitamin C which improves collagen production and is essential for rejuvenating the skin’s tone and appearance.
How to prepare breadfruit (ukwa).
Breadfruit or Ukwa can be fried and eaten with coconut or it can be cooked and turned into porridge. Also, juice extraction is possible by boiling the breadfruit and sieving its water contents.
However, we will be looking at how to prepare breadfruit porridge below;
Ingredients needed to make the Ukwa porridge.
- 700g African breadfruit (ukwa)
- 2 medium dry fish
- 7g potash
- 2 small stock cubes
- Palm oil
- Pepper & Salt
Note; If you will be using dry ukwa, soak overnight to soften it and make sure the water covers the content well enough.
1. Wash the dry fish and break into bits then put into a pot.
2. Place pot on a burner while pouring considerable water into it.
3. Wash the ukwa and get rid of stones and sand if there are any.
4. Pour the washed ukwa into a pot and cover. Make sure the previously added water covers the ukwa well.
5. Add the potash and cover pot, leave to cook until the ukwa seeds are soft. (You can scoop one of the seeds and gently press with your finger to determine when it is soft enough.)
6. When you have confirmed that the ukwa is soft, pour a desirable amount of palm oil, stock cubes and salt to taste. Add pepper preferably, grounded.
7. Stir and cook for five minutes on medium heat, stir one more time while ensuring that it is not too soggy.
8. Your delicious ukwa is ready to be enjoyed with any wine, drink or juice of your choice.
Side tip; To make your ukwa more nutritious, boil some fresh corn and add the grains to it during the sixth step above. (The corn grains should be shredded off the cub after boiling)
At this point, there is no doubt that the rare delicacy called breadfruit (ukwa) is greatly enriched with nutrients. There are several ways to enjoy this wholesome fruit, with its nutrients intact. Ukwa could be cooked with potash, fried or separated from the water for just the seeds to be mashed with some ingredients and thereafter served with the extract. Whichever way you choose, do not spill or waste the ukwa seeds, considering how rare and expensive they are.
Do you still think you have eaten a well-made ukwa?