Recipes for Change: Te Mai Ae Tanna Kiribati

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Recipes for Change: Te Mai Ae Tanna Kiribati

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Kiribati is comprised of more than 30 atolls and reef islands that are dispersed over a vast area of the central Pacific Ocean. Because of its limited land area, geographic isolation and relatively flat topography, Kiribati is particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, a point illustrated by the damage suffered by the archipelago at the hands of a cyclone in 2015. Climate-related sea level rise and the resulting inundation and coastal erosion look set to pose great challenges for Kiribati in the coming decades.

Breadfruit is one of the main staple foods of Kiribati. Breadfruit trees require a tropical climate to thrive and are therefore plentiful in the Pacific region. Breadfruit is a good source of vitamin C, thiamine and potassium for the local population.

However, breadfruit, along with other ingredients in this recipe, is under threat from climate change. Yields and quality have been begun to decline under a changing climate. Trees have experienced increased mortality, with heatwaves scorching the bark and leaves in some cases. Fruits have begun to fall from trees prematurely and varieties that are popular among locals are becoming tasteless. A changing climate has also hindered the ability of local coconut trees to produce toddy sap. Coconuts themselves have also been affected, with the albumen regularly discarded due to its lack of flavour and texture.

Climate threats to breadfruit in Kiribati:

  • More frequent heatwaves.
  • Increased occurrence of disease.
  • Sea level rise and saltwater intrusion.

IFAD Solutions

  • Application of mulch to improve soil fertility and conserve moisture.
  • Extensive pruning of affected breadfruit trees.
  • Plant more resilient varieties of breadfruit.

Why not try this nutritious local recipe that combines these ingredients? It takes less than half an hour to prepare and can serve seven to 10 people.

The Recipe

Te Mai Ae Tanna

Serves 7-10

Nutritional values per serving

  • Calories - 482 Kcal
  • Fat - 11g
  • Carbohydrates - 89g
  • Protein - 8g


  • 460g cooked breadfruit (roasted or boiled)
  • 480ml fresh toddy
  • 115g cooked meat (fish/chicken, to be boiled with garlic and onion)
  • 150g drum stick leaves (raw or slightly cooked)
  • 460g young coconut albumen/flesh
  • 80ml coconut cream

Cooking Instructions

  1. Remove the skin and scoop out the centre of the cooked breadfruit, ensuring that all seeds are removed and only the flesh remains.
  2. Soften the breadfruit with half of the toddy and mash.
  3. Mix the breadfruit with the cooked meat, drum stick leaves and fresh toddy until the desired consistency has been reached.  This mixture will form the pastry.
  4. Layer the mixture onto a tray, ensuring that the bottom is completely covered.
  5. Place the coconut albumen/flesh into a bowl and beat until smooth.
  6. Add the rest of the toddy and the coconut cream to the beaten albumen/flesh, ensuring that the mixture has a creamy consistency.
  7. Pour the mixture over the breadfruit in the tray. Allow ten minutes for the dish to set before serving.


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