Category Archives: ASIAN CUISINE

HAWAIIAN COMFORT FOOD. The Hawaiian Plate Lunch. 

Aloha readers and friends!!! Blogging from the road for the next few weeks on the Big Island of Hawaii. Flew out on Friday morning which after our Kayak found cheapest flights meant 2 stops (remember. Cheap means you have to eventually pay for it somehow. Lol ) we landed in Kona at 6:45pm. Translate that to our real East coast time of 11:45pm. Basically a very long day as we left our home at 4:30am. Too tired this morning to do the math. Lol.  However my food centric sites were determined to find spot to eat after we settled in.  There’s no late night eating here so we were crunched for time.  About 15 minutes from hotel by shuttle is a  shopping and eating complex.  We decided on the Food court because it made sense. Ippy’s Hawaiian Barbecue caught my eye. Perfect!! The first item on the menu was the Hawaiian Plate. This is a traditional island food that’s more popular as a lunch usually known as the Plate Lunch.  I fell in love with it during previous visits to Hawaii. What’s not to love???  A Hawaiian meat or fish choice always served with 2 scoops of steamed rice and a scoop of American macaroni salad (the elbow macaroni and Mayo style). Here at Ippy’s they make their plates with 2 choices.  What to do??  Here’s my thinking process. In my head what do I think is most Hawaiian. Best answered by a Hawaiian but this mainlanders decided the Kalua Pork Is going to be my “most Hawaiian” choice.  This is the pork that’s traditional slow cooked and then shredded. The smoke from the cooking process and some Hawaiian salt are the general ingredients. Forvmy other choice I went with the beef teriyaki.  Superb. Thin shaved beef cooked with Teriyaki. BOOM. They were served in a bed of shredded cabbage. Topped with green onions. Aloha. This type of Plate is also known as a Mixed Plate since it has more than one entree. Now what do I really love about this Plate besides its components and that I’m on vacations???  Surely that makes everything taste better.  There’s an amazing story behind the origins of the dish. You know me. I love immigrant stories. It is said that in Order to cheaply feed the immigrant Japanese girls workers families devises this sort of Bento box meal that could be eaten in the fields and was heavy on the carbs to keep the works full of energy. As Hawaii became more of a melting pot various groups like the Chinese, Filipinos, Portuguese, Koreans All added their touches to the plate’s cast of characters. It’s evolved into the one of Hawaii’s iconic dishes. Now for all you who are horrified by that carbload in the dish that should make you understand why it is the way it is.  It reflects historical economics and ethnicity.  Fantastic.  Try making a Plate Lunch at home.  Grilled teriyaki fish. Chicken. Pork. Beef. Shredded pork. Shrimp. Linguica. Kalbi. Just some of the entree choices. But the 2 scoops of steamed white rice and American Macaroni Salad are constant. Enjoy a taste of Hawaii in your kitchen.  Download that Don Ho on your Spotify app. Mahalo!!!

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GRILLED SAMBAL CHICKEN KEBABS WITH SRIRACHA AND MINT

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Sweet, Salty, Smoky…all flavors I just love in a dish.  It’s what makes the food of Asia so appealing to me.  Last year BON APPETIT had a kebab on it’s cover and i almost ate the page itself.  The picture hits EVERY one of my senses and propelled me to pick up a pack of chicken thighs to make the dish myself.  What’s not to love?? SAMBAL!!  Do you use that sauce?  You don’t?? March right out to the store and get a jar, you’ll thank me for it.  It’s a ground chile sauce that’s popular in many Southeast Asian cuisines, SAMBAL OELEK is a popular version and is found in many Asian or mainstream markets:006  The variations on Sambal are very diverse, all starting with the ground local chiles then some have shrimp paste, or garlic, or lemon grass, or fish sauce, you get it..there are many regional nuances which make it a very special culinary treat and a great addition to your condimenets.  Think Sriracha if it were a paste and not a “sauce”.  There’s some texture here.  It’s wonderful !  When I looked at this recipe I said..WOW..AND it contains SRIRACHA too! Yes, yes,  there are tons of “Best in show” and favorites in the hot sauce world. These are A FOOD OBSESSION’s favorite, no debating it, i stand by my decision!

Let’s discuss the meat used in this recipe.  It’s Chicken THIGHS,  trimmed, boneless, skinless and before you can say..CAN I SUBSTITUTE, let me stop you there.  Of course you can substitute this with Chicken breast BUT it’s different.  Not even a like or dislike reason here, the reason is Chicken Thigh meat holds this marinate and cooking better, it’s just a better meat (poultry) cut to use and it stays juicier than white meat does, no disrespect to the breast meat.

The recipe speaks for itself, from the July 2013 issue of BON APPETIT, a great cooking and food magazine, A FOOD OBSESSION recommends it highly.  While the recipe belongs to Bon Appetit, the picture at top is 100% A FOOD OBSESSION’S and I enjoyed EVERY MINUTE of eating it too…delicious and pretty as a picture!

Here’s the recipe adapted from the magazine, serves 4:

  • 1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha
  • 2 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lime
  • mint leaves and lime wedges for garnish
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch–2-inch piece
  • 8 bamboo skewers soaked in water at least 1 hour
    • Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Whisk brown sugar, vinegar, chili paste, fish sauce, Sriracha, and ginger in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Marinade for 2 hours. Thread 4 or 5 chicken pieces onto each skewer.
    • Transfer marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce  simmer until reduced by half , takes about 10 minutes
    • Grill chicken, turning and basting often with reduced marinade, until cooked through, 8–10 minutes.
    • garnish with chopped mint leaves and lime wedges…a squeeze of lime over the chicken right after it’s off the grill really wakes up the flavors.

HOWEVER in true make it your own style..i felt it needed a little sumpin sumpin, so, i garnished the grilled skewers with fresh chopped mint leaves..i highly suggest it.

This recipe was/is a keeper!