Photo by Ashay vb
Breadfruit trees grow abundantly in the Maldivian islands and hence breadfruit, locally referred to as ‘banbukeyo’, make many an appearance in the traditional Maldivian cuisine.
Boiled breadfruit with rice and local fish broth ‘garudhiya’ is a popular traditional lunch and ‘bambukeyo sanneti’ (pictured below), ‘bambukeyo harissa’ and ‘bambukeylu hithi’ are some of the breadfruit curries locally enjoyed with plain rice or local flatbread ‘roshi’.
Breadfruit, rice, local fish paste ‘rihaakuru’ and spices come together in the savoury porridge ‘kulhi baiypen’ and when breadfruit slices are deep fried, they become the popular local snack ‘theluli bambukeyo’.
As for local desserts made with breadfruit, ‘bambukeyo bondibaiy’ (pictured above) is a popular number that’s prepared by cooking diced breadfruits in coconut milk along with aromatics like cinnamon and pandan leaf, and another is candied breadfruit, ‘boakuri bambukeyo’ (pictured below).
The breadfruit tree is actually a massive evergreen or semi evergreen tree that grows to a height of 30 meters and it belongs to the mulberry or jackfruit family. According to the Trees and Shrubs of the Maldives published by the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in 2007, apart from breadfruit’s varied uses in the local cuisine, the wood from the breadfruit tree is light, soft and durable and is used for making doors, door and window frames and boats. The gum from the tree is used for caulking boats too.