Coconut Ulu Soup Recipe
Updated: Mar 25
Easy to prepare, this hearty soup makes regular appearances in our farm kitchen. When deciding what to bring to potlucks or dinner parties it is often our go-to choice. The short ingredient list and no frills procedure mean even a novice can confidently whip it up. Served in small delicate portions it makes an appetizer, so as to not steal the show. Or if other guests didn’t bring enough food, it can save the day served as the main course.
Born partially out of necessity, the recipe credit belongs to my friend Franki, who in my opinion, single handily created the excitement responsible for Maui’s record turnout GMO march in 2011. Buzzing with excitement from that rally’s success, Franki pumped us up on the idea of ferrying to Molokai last minute, to show support for our sister island who is even more infiltrated by the chemical company.
Upon arrival it became apparent that we had’t brought nearly enough food for the four of us, but a hike through the islands east end lead us to a huge, old Hawaiian ulu tree. Someone, maybe 60 years ago had the foresight to plant it and it fed us that night. Prepared over a beachside campfire, eaten out of the coconut shells used to make the milk, it was an unforgettable meal, one that hammered home the importance of planting trees to feed ourselves in the future
Prep time 1 hour
2 quarts coconut milk
1 large ulu peeled & cubed into dice size pieces
1 quart water
2 inches of turmeric root (minced)
Heaping tbsp of veggie bouillon
Tbsp of smoked salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
In large pot bring cocomilk, ulu, water, bouillon, turmeric and salt to a gentle boil.
Chop and caramelize onions on side, adding to pot when finished.
Boil gently for an hour with lid off, stirring occasionally.
Ladle into your favorite bowls.
Garnish with crack of fresh pepper.
Select a fully mature, starchy ulu to work with. When browsing the trees or farmers market keep an eye out for ulus that are plump and firm, with white sap on the outside, signs of peak ripeness for use as a starch. If ulu is unavailable, you can substitute potatoes, pumpkin or taro.
Sometimes we like to serve this recipe half-blended. Take the soup off heat for 10 minutes to cool, then ladle half into blender. Blend on high, return to soup pot and stir well. This method makes this recipe both creamy and chunky.
Soups settle into their flavor after a day or two. Take the pressure off your dinner party by making soup in advance, storing in fridge and then bringing back to a gentle boil before serving.