Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hunky Bunch Mango Bread

Mango season and lychee season are one of my favorite parts of living in Hawaii. We have two huge mango trees in the backyard, but it's a late-fruiting tree, so still no fruit. I'm a little worried because the house next door burned to the ground when the trees were still flowering, and the flowers might've gotten burned/smoked off.

Luckily, mangoes are 8 pounds for $10 at Safeway. I kid you not. I don't know how they can afford to sell them so cheaply, but everytime I go shopping I leave with two heaping bags full of mango. I'm a big lover of the ever-glroious breads disguised as cakes, most notably banana bread and mango bread. In Okinawa I made banana bread with monkey bananas at least once a month. Now that it's mango season in Hawaii, I can finally get some mango bread goodness!

I found this recipe called Hunky Bunch Mango Bread from the Honolulu Advertiser. Based on the name alone, I knew I had to use it. Just wait til you check out the backstory:

Former Tiser-ite Paula Bender e-mailed to say that her favorite mango bread was one she recalled from some years ago with the intriguing name of "Hunky Bunch Mango Bread."

I delved back into The Advertiser files and never found the recipe — that showed up in an online search — but I did find out who the Hunky Bunch was.

It was the family of the late Dr. Hing Hua "Hunky" Chun and his wife, former legislator Connie Beltran Chun. Theirs was a second marriage and each brought three children to the union — Hunky's three boys and Connie's three girls. In the 1970s, when Papa Chun decided that it would be a great family-building exercise for the eight of them to run together in the Honolulu Marathon, they got tagged with the name "Hunky Bunch," a play on TV's "The Brady Bunch."

Reached at her Foster Village home, Connie Chun explained she would bake as many as 80 loaves of the bread and serve it with homemade liliko'i juice as a post-run snack for runners in various races. It was a standard recipe that she changed around to suit her tastes. She's got three mango trees in the yard and a freezer full of mango right now, but, she said, "I haven't baked mango bread since my husband died (in 2002) because I know I'd cry."

Hunky Bunch bread freezes well and makes good toast.

And here's the recipe, slightly adapted for my tastes by the addition of many yummy add-ins and even more mango:


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup broken walnuts
  • 3 cups fresh mango, diced
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Prepare four loaf pans (2 1/2-by-5-inch or larger) by buttering them or using nonstick spray.

    Very important: DO NOT OVERMIX. Your bread will be dry and hard!!! Mix dry ingredients well: flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, cayenne, ginger and baking soda. In separate bowl, mix mango, raisins, walnuts, coconut. Mix well. add eggs, vanilla extract and vegetable oil until blended. Don't over-mix!

    Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir with your hand (yes, it's fun and messy and you get to lick your fingers!) until JUST BARELY mixed, meaning the flour just barely disappears. DO NOT OVERMIX!

    Fill prepared pans two-thirds full and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes for the smaller pans or 1 hour for the larger pans; tops should spring back when touched and a toothpick should emerge from the loaf's center clean.

    Makes 4 loaves, about 10 slices each.

    I actually made 12 muffins and 1 pie tin. I love the muffins because there's more of that much-savored crispy outside crusty layer. It was hard not to eat all the mango as I diced it! It took 4 big mangoes to come up with 3 cups of mango flesh, if that helps when you buy your mangoes. Here's another good mango bread blog post you might want to consult for proper mango-cutting techniques.

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