Breadfruit Oil-Down

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:


Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

Breadfruit is a starchy tree fruit that was a mainstay for slaves and indentured laborers because it was filling but cheap for plantation owners to provide. It was often flavored with an equally cheap cut of pork, such as pig’s feet. “Oil-down” refers to the cooking method by which vegetables are stewed in coconut milk until all of the milk is absorbed and just a bit of coconut oil is left in the bottom of the pan. I find that smoked ham, bacon, or turkey bacon provides good flavor in this dish, but my vegetarian cousin Jerry Kalloo, who lives on Tobago, omits meat altogether and it tastes just as good.


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh pimiento pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped; or 1 tablespoon chopped jarred pimientos; or ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ pound smoked bacon or turkey bacon, chopped (optional)
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • ½ Scotch bonnet pepper or other hot red chili pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • 1 large breadfruit, peeled, seeded, and chopped into large chunks*
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Heat the canola oil in a deep saucepan and add the onion and pimiento pepper (if using paprika, add with the coconut milk). Sauté until soft. Add the garlic and bacon and sauté for 1 minute more.
  2. Add the scallions, chili pepper, and thyme, and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the coconut milk (and paprika if using) and bring to a boil.
  3. Mix in the breadfruit and salt and black pepper to taste. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the breadfruit has absorbed all the coconut milk. Serve hot as a side dish.

* Breadfruit is available canned. One 16-ounce can is roughly equivalent to one fresh breadfruit. Drain well before using.