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Hawaiian Cuisine

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

I love Hawaiian food. It's a mix of cuisines based partly local ingredients but includes a lot more: native Hawaiian, other Polynesian, Japanese, and Korean, and with mainland influence (such as macaroni salad). In a way it reminds me of Singapore cuisine, because of the blended cultures making still distinct local cuisine. There are also distinct regional cuisines, including of course native Hawaiian.

I am interested in making some of the same foods I had in Hawaii, here in Oregon. Part of the challenge is getting the ingredients. Another part is getting the recipes.

Medium grain rice with fried eggs and shoyu is a wonderful breakfast and I can make that no problem. But when it comes to laulau (yummmm) I haven't found a way to come close to what I had in Hawaii. Kimchi, I can make from scratch. Saimin, ok, been able to make some of that. Yes, I could buy a cookbook, but then which would you recommend?

Any folks outside Hawaii managed to make a pretty good range of Hawaiian food? I'd like to know how you do it:D Mahalo in advance.
post #2 of 41
You know what, I have no idea. Would be nice if someone posted a few pics and methods.
post #3 of 41

Lau Lau

Lau Lau is made different from family to family in Hawaii.
Here is how my family makes it. You can find the butter fish at Trader Joe's and Most oriental stores. The Taro Leaves and Ti Leaves may be a little harder to find. I wish I could give some idea where to find them on the mainland. I know that I order that kind of stuff for my customers all the time. Maybe your local Hawaiian fishmonger will do the same. Of course you can sub the Taro leaves with fresh spinach and the Ti leaves with Corn Husks. A little different flavor, but comes out ono just the same.

1/2 pound Salt Butterfish, rins several times to remove salt
1/2 pound Pork Butt, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 boneless Chicken Thighs
1 tablespoon Hawaiian Sea Salt
8 leaves Ti Leaves
1 pound Taro Leaves

Season fish, pork and chicken with Hawaiian sea salt. Place 2 ti leaves in an X on a flat surface for each of the 4 servings. Place 1/4 of each of the fish, pork and chicken onto the center of 3 or 4 taro leaves. Wrap securely with the taro leaves, then place each wrap on a set of ti leaves. Tie the ends of the ti leaves together with a piece of string. Place the bundles in a large steamer, and steam for 3 to 4 hours.

What ever you do. Do not put this in the slow cooker. Just not the same. Turns it all to mush!

Fishmonger Ran
Fishmonger Ran
"The health benefits of eating fish, far out-weigh any risks of eating it"
Fishmonger Ran
"The health benefits of eating fish, far out-weigh any risks of eating it"
post #4 of 41
Thread Starter 
Thanks for that! The taro leaves, to me, are essential.
post #5 of 41
Loco Moco- Fried eggs, hamburger patty, brown gravy, and two scoops of rice.

Kahlua Pig- This is my current fav and is extremely easy to make. Take a pork butt and stab it all over with a boning knife. Rub it with a good dose of sea salt and some liquid smoke. Let it rest at least overnight. Roast low and slow (think pit BBQ) it coverd with a little water in the pan. You can also wrap it with ti, taro, or banna leaf for extra aroma. I tend to leave it uncovered and turn it occasionally to get some crusty bits. It's done when it's tender. You can do this in a BBQ smoker, just leave out the liquid smoke.

After it's cooked, let it rest. Then pull it. Keep the pan drippings. It will seperate into a layer of fat and one of meat juices. Skim most of the fast and add the drippings to the pan of pulled meat.

Serve with cabbage, rice, and macaroni salad. I like to spinkle togarashi on it. The meat also makes a good filing for lumpia. Leftovers are the best since you can crisp it up in the pan.

Chicken (or pork) Katsu- Your basic every day Japanese chicken cutlet. Serve it with tonkatsu sauce (think Japanese steak sauce) or a big ladle of Japanese style curry.

Ya gotta love the plate lunch.
post #6 of 41

Aloha Yeti braddah, I didn’t know that you're a Hawaiian Foodie!  You have a better opportunity to find “local” ingredients than myself. 

I have found taro (luau) leaves at the Asian market here in Tucson, I’m sure that you could find them there.  

Now the Ti is a bite more difficult, I found that banana leaves are the best subsitute. 

My brother in law in LA grew Ti, but not enough to cook with though. 

I have not found that yet. 

I was in SoCal earlier this month but I forgot to look when I was Marukai. 

What can you find in Corvallis?  There’s plenty of kids from Hawaii at OSU…  

post #7 of 41

Check with florists for ti leaves.  They can get them and they use them in bouquets.  Often banana leaves are an acceptable substitute.  They are often sold frozen in Asian markets.  You can also do lau lau in a pressure cooker (which is how my mother made them).


Here are a couple books to consider:


The Food of Paradise by Rachel Lauden (and a good read).




The Ethnic Foods of Hawaii By Ann Kondo Corum.




The Island Plate (I and II) by Wanda Adams (also a good read) - you might also try the Honolulu Star/Advertiser and see if they sell these direct.







Local Style Boiled Peanuts

Basic recipe:

2 pounds raw peanuts
1/4 cup kosher salt
1-2 whole pods star anise

Soak peanuts over night (put a plate in the top of the pot and weight it down to make sure they soak).

Rinse and wash well.

Cover with fresh water (2 inches over the top of the peanuts). Bring to a boil and add salt and star anise. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Longer if you want them softer. Let stand in water with cover on for another hour. In Hawaii we like the peanuts cooked through, but not too soft. There should be some resistance when you bite them.  Refrigerate when cool.


Hawaiian Style Shoyu Chicken


3# Chicken thighs (boneless/skinless) cleaned and flattened

1 cup soy sauce (Yamasa or Aloha is preferable to Kikkoman)

½ cup water

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 T honey

2 T rice vinegar

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 tsp Worcestershire

3 large cloves garlic, crushed

1” piece of ginger root, peeled and crushed

1 T Xiaoshing or sherry or gin

1 star anise


  • Mix all ingredients except for chicken and bring to a boil.  Turn down and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add chicken and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Let cool in pot.
  • Strain sauce and add 2T of cornstarch mixed into 6T water to sauce.  Bring sauce to boil and simmer briefly till it thickens.
  • Pour over chicken and heat through.


Serve with rice.  Garnish with chopped cilantro, and/or green onion.



Edited by pohaku - 2/25/12 at 9:19pm
post #8 of 41



This kind of a Hawaiian jerked beef, but is not as dry and is thicker.  It can be eaten plain, sliced, or it can be sliced or chunked and briefly pan fried.  A very popular pupu (appetizer) in Hawaii.  I've put this together as a convenient oven dried recipe. 


5# flank steak
8 Tsp Morton Tender Quick or Sugar Cure (available at groceries and butcher shops – look at the salt section)
4 Tblsp Brown Sugar (reduce by 1 Tblsp if using Sugar Cure)
1 1/2 Cup Soy Sauce (I use Aloha brand - it's less salty than Kikoman, Yamasa would work too)
4 Cloves Garlic - crushed
2" Piece Peeled Ginger - crushed
3 Tsp Liquid Smoke  (I use Wrights)
3-4 Chili Peppers - minced (fresh Thai or similar red chilis - more to taste - dried are OK)
1-2 Tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper

   * Trim any fat off steak
   * Mix all other ingredients except black pepper
   * Place marinade and steak in ziplock bag and turn to coat well
   * Refrigerate for at least 48 hours turning periodically
   * Set convection oven @ 180 degrees (regular oven @ 200 degrees)
   * Sprinkle steak with fresh ground pepper to taste and place steak on cooling racks on baking pans
   * Place in oven and dry for 7 hours turning every couple hours.

Let cool and refrigerate.
Will keep for a couple weeks if it lasts that long.

Edited by pohaku - 2/25/12 at 9:23pm
post #9 of 41

Oh my, here I sit listening to Hawaiian 105FM KINE streaming on the computer and reading about boiled peanuts!! 

I love boiled peanuts, it takes me the old Honolulu Stadium with my Dad watching a football game.

I do have a question

Do I soak the raw peanuts in just water?

As for the Shoyu Chicken, I’ve always followed the Aloha Shoyu recipe,


I think that I’ll try your version next time, it sounds more complex in flavor.

Heh, wait a minute!

I didn’t see the pipikaula, that my friends is the BOMB!!!

Thank you braddah Pohaku, we’ll be making that one!!

post #10 of 41

Yes, just soak the peanuts in plain water overnight.  Weigh them down with a plate, otherwise they float to the top.  Then drain and rinse.  Cover with fresh water, bring to a boil, and add salt and star anise.


My shoyu chicken recipe has a bit more of a Chinese twist with the star anise and wine.


I've toyed with the pipikaula recipe a lot to get it to taste "right".  If your meat is thicker than about 1 1/2" you should marinate it longer.  Most flank steak is about 1" or so, so 48 hours should be fine.  I've tried to minimize the amount of Tender Quick and salt for the amount of meat, and still get it to cure all the way through.  You can tweak it as you like.  I like the black pepper coating as a finish.  I usually make 5 pounds at a time - just go to Costco and load up.  It disappears quick.biggrin.gif

post #11 of 41

Oh My Gravy!!

Loco Moco, with Fried rice, eggs over easy...


... And Kalua Pig with Cabbage (I like to add some sweet Maui Onion too), rice, Aloha Shoyu all over, and mac salad on the side...


Jez, what did we have for dinner?


kalua pig brah!

post #12 of 41

A few weeks ago I broke my Aloha Shoyu dispenser bottle and I contacted the company to try to find a replacement.  Here’s the thing, they don’t seem to make it this way anymore.  I want to try to find an original type, not what they make now.  It had the logo stamped onto the bottle, not on a plastic kryloc lable.

Anybody have some help for a homesick Hawaiian gal.



aloha shoyu

post #13 of 41

Auwe!  Da buggah wen broke?


I'll see if any of our local shops have old inventory.  Saw nothing on e-bay.

post #14 of 41

Maika’i braddah Pohaku

I tried Ebay and Amazon, no luck

A plane ticket back home is a little expensive for a Shoyu bottle and I don’t think that I’d find it there either

I have the new one, but it’s not the same

post #15 of 41

No make mention.


You'd have to hit the flea market at Aloha stadium to find one I think.

post #16 of 41

HA!! (as I sit here listening to hawaiian 105 kine streaming on the laptop)

Maybe so, but did you see how much the ticket is now to go back home?


post #17 of 41

No. I'm afraid to look.  This is the first year in about 30 years that we won't go to Hawaii this spring.  My kids have different spring breaks this year and we couldn't coordinate it, so I'm taking my older daughter to Mexico for a week and my wife is taking our younger daughter to Mexico for a week a couple weeks later.  We'll just save the time share for another year.  Of course the price of flying to Mexico now is about what it used to cost to fly to Hawaii.frown.gif

post #18 of 41

What, WAIT!! 

Time share? 

Doesn’t that mean that you need to SHARE that with ME???

post #19 of 41

An den.  Yup.  Get one time share in Kona that we actually use.  The bess part is that it stay close to one KTA market.  My family sends one da kine chaperone with me when I shop.

post #20 of 41




My Pop is from Honokaa and I lived with my Aunt & Uncle in Kona for awhile, still can't beat KANEOHE!!!


Back on topic...

I made crispy Gau Gee while visiting with my husband's family in West Virginia

We had Braddah IZ playing REALLY loud and I'm sure that his brother's neighbors must have thought we were NUTS!!

It was a blast, it snowed so hard!!

We all took Hawaii to West Virginia

My sister in law had the neighbors over for a cocktail party and the Gau Gee was gone in a heart beat

our youngest niece had to hide a plate so she could get some!!!



post #21 of 41

Yeh, gau gee, pot stickers, fried wonton, mandu - they all disappear in a big hurry at any party.  Happily, I've trained my kids to make them so we can crank them out if need be. We made a couple hundred mandu for a school potluck event (the 5th grade country project - my adopted Korean daughter picked Korea) and a couple hundred pot stickers (jiaozi) for the same event with my older daughter (who is part Chinese).  Needless to say, they were popular and there were none left at the end.


Of course, everything tastes better with Braddah IZ.

post #22 of 41

We use to live in Waikiki, this is from our lanai t the end of Kalakaua Ave, did I mention that I REALLY miss home?  You gotta' have some music with your beer and grinz brah!! 


Waikiki, Honolulu City Lights

Edited by kaneohegirlinaz - 3/4/12 at 8:05pm
post #23 of 41

My husband and I were at front washing the car today

( it was such a nice day, finally )

and this guy stops and starts to chat and

asked us some questions about different things,

anyway, he’s from Honolulu !! 

He invited us over to their place and he said he’d make me Pulehu Ribs !!!

post #24 of 41

Good deal! I wish I had strangers make those kinds of offers.


BTW, found out that my local Asian market now carries Redondo's Portuguese Sausage!  Pricey, but cheaper than a trip to Hawaii.

post #25 of 41


It took me awhile, but the “asain market” that I found here in

Tucson carries Rego’s ( the nice BIG fat one ), kinda’ expensive, $5 one. 

They also have the kalua pig, even more expensive $8, that’s why we bought a chest freezer. 

The place is not close by, so I make a day of it and take coolers with ice inside,

have lunch next door at the Vietnamese noodle place.  But, like you said, cheaper then a plane ticket.




post #26 of 41

Last night I was racking my brain what to make for dinner, with chicken, again !  So I started to poke through the cupboard to see what all I had to draw from.  Panko bread crumbs, yeah.  Chicken Katsu with scratch made dipping sauce.  My husband does not care for the sauce, but I dig it. 

So I made a quick cucumber kimchee with my trusty

NOH brand kimchee powder mix,

put on a fresh pot of rice and as we say in Hawaii,

It’s Time Four Grind, Brah !! ( no, really, that's how we say it ) 

I made extra Katsu, really everything, and that was lunch today.



Yum, this is the good kine grindz, braddah !! Enjoy !!

post #27 of 41

Tonight I made chicken Laulau!  The "asian market" in Tucson carries the pork as well as chicken.

I want to tell you my bruddahs and sistas' I am one happy camper, well so is my mister


post #28 of 41

I wanted to share this magazine article

this is from the USAir in flight magazine

that my Mother brought back for me to read





This is one of the reasons that I miss Hawaii so much

the food there is incredible

unlike the Tucson area

that's why I cook three meals a day, every day!!

post #29 of 41
Originally Posted by pohaku View Post

Local Style Boiled Peanuts

Basic recipe:

2 pounds raw peanuts
1/4 cup kosher salt
1-2 whole pods star anise

Soak peanuts over night (put a plate in the top of the pot and weight it down to make sure they soak).

Rinse and wash well.

Cover with fresh water (2 inches over the top of the peanuts). Bring to a boil and add salt and star anise. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Longer if you want them softer. Let stand in water with cover on for another hour. In Hawaii we like the peanuts cooked through, but not too soft. There should be some resistance when you bite them.  Refrigerate when cool.




I’ve been dreaming about this recipe

Today I went to Sprouts were they have Raw Peanuts in the shell

They were $3.00/lb

Is that too much? 

I didn’t buy them ‘cause I thought that was a little steep, not sure...

‘cause once I make these boiled peanuts, I won’t stop eating until they’re gone!!

post #30 of 41

I've bought them by volume in the farmer's market in season, so I don't know about weight.  At that price, though, I'd just buy a couple pounds and make a bunch.  Keep in mind that they will weigh more once they have been boiled because of the liquid they retain.  Doesn't seem that pricey.  So ono!


The commercial folks often use a pressure cooker, but I've never tried doing them with mine.


Made your quick cucumber kim chee recipe thumb.gifthumb.gif.  My daughter wacked them all down with rice and Chinese chicken pancakes.

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