Tag Archives: Hawaii

Lau Lau

18 Sep

Lau Lau’s are leaves stuffed with sweet potatoes and steamed.  This is a very typical luau dish in Hawaii.  I have made plenty of times stuffed cabbage leaves (not to self…  share these recipes on the blog), but I have never worked with collard greens, as the recipes I found on the internet called for.   I was prepared to make this recipe with large kale leaves or even cabbage.  I was so pleased to see collard greens in the supermarket. Yay!!!!

Again… this recipe is not difficult at all.  It just has a few steps to it to ensure the end result looks and tastes as good as it can be.

I don’t know how large they make these in Hawaii…  but I had to cook for at least 40 people, and we had 10+ dishes for people to choose from, so I made them small.  I used half a collard green leaf for each lau lau packet.  If the leaf was small, I used one whole leaf.  You can certainly make them as large or as small as you wish.

The folding takes a little getting used to just until you figure out the best way to keep all the delicious sweet potato mash inside the green leaf.

Recipe from KarmaFree Cooking

LAU LAU

10-12 collard greens leaves

2 medium-sized white sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch chunks

10 cremini mushrooms – chopped

2 cups frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 large onion, chopped small

1 red bell pepper, chopped small

2 cloves garlic, chopped finely

1 vegetable bouillon cube

About ½ cup coconut milk

Olive oil

Salt and Freshly cracked Black Pepper

  1. In a medium saucepan, add sweet potato pieces and salted water to a boil.  Cook until they’re cooked and can be pierced easily with a fork.  Set aside leaving them in the cooking water to maintain warm.
  2. Fill a large but shallow pot with about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil.  Salt water heavily, as if you’re cooking pasta.  Place a few collard greens leaves at a time and cook for about 1-2 minutes or until slightly soft and color gets bright green.  Transfer to a bowl filled with salted ice water for leaves to cool and stop cooking.  This will also preserve the bright green color.  When leaves are cool, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.  Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, drizzle a little olive oil and sauté onions, peppers, garlic with the vegetable bouillon cube.   Add cremini mushrooms and cook until they get a little color.  Add spinach and combine all the flavors together.  Season with salt and pepper one last time and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, add the boiled sweet potatoes and mash them with a drizzle of olive oil.  Add the cooked mushrooms, spinach and veggies to the sweet potatoes and mash it all together.  Soften the mash by adding coconut milk.  Go little by little to make a soft mash.  Try not to add too much coconut milk or it might get soupy.
  5.  Pat dry the collard greens leaves.  Cut away the stem from each leaf.  I then cut each leaf, which are generally pretty large in half, along the same line where the stem used to be.
  6. Place about ¼ cup of mash in the bottom part of the leaf, leaving about 1 inch border, and roll it like you would a burrito…  fold bottom edge   of collard green over filling, fold in sides and roll away from you, creating as tight roll as possible.  Do this until you run out of leaves and/or filling mash.

At this point… you can save them to steam later or you can steam right away.  For the Hawaiian Festival, we rolled them the night before and steamed them the morning of our lunch festival.

  1. Set up a steamer pot with boiling water.  Transfer rolls to a steamer basket, cover pot and steam for 2-3 minutes.  Increase steaming time to 5 minutes if you made these in advance and are coming cold out of the fridge.  Transfer to serving platter carefully with tongs.

The collard greens are hearty, but are already tender enough that they cut easily.  The filling is sweet and savory.  This is great new way to enjoy cooked greens that still look vibrant green.

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Eggplant Musubi

3 Sep

I can’t believe I had forgotten to share this recipe with you…

Hawaii is the number 1 consumer of SPAM in the United States…  Apparently, Hawaiians love their potted meat.  I have to admit, back in the days when I was growing up I looooved when my grandma made for us Spam sandwiches with mayo on criollo bread.  That was a treat we only ate while on vacations.

Now…  my tastes have changed.  And while I wanted to bring a traditional and authentic take of a Hawaiian Luau to my Yogi friends, I also wanted to make it accessible to everyone.  Some of us have access to good vegetarian “hams”, but I figured that eggplant is something most of you will be able to get and will not cringe when you read it on a recipe.  The teriyaki marinade is what will bring it all together in true Hawaiian musubi fashion.

This recipe is a tad long…  but there are just 3 main steps – 1. cook the rice, 2. cook the eggplant, 3. assemble the musubi.  So don’t be overwhelmed by it all.    I used two small plastic containers of the same size that can fit one inside the other to form my musubi.  There are musubi contraptions, but I could not find one for the life of me in Puerto Rico.   Once you get the hang of it… it will be a breeze.

Recipe from KarmaFree Cooking

EGGPLANT MUSUBI

2 cups short grain brown rice

3 cups water

1/3 cup plain unseasoned rice vinegar

3 tbs brown sugar

½ tsp salt

2 small eggplants, peeled and sliced thinly

1  cup soy sauce

1 cup brown sugar

4 cloves garlic, grated

1-inch piece of ginger, grated

About ¼ cup of Black Sesame Gomasio as seasoning

2 nori sheets, cut into thin strips

Olive Oil

  1. First, cook the rice…  I use a rice cooker, but you can do it on the stove top if you prefer.  The idea is to cook the rice thoroughly but that it’s a tad sticky.  Not fluffy for sure.  Although by using short grain rice you get that consistency inherently.
  2. Cook the rice without oil, just a light sprinkling of salt.  In a measuring cup mix together the rice vinegar, the 3 tbs of brown sugar and salt.  Set aside.  After the rice is cooked, transfer to a plastic or wooden bowl to cool completely.  While rice is still hot, drizzle the vinegar/brown sugar mixture over the rice to season.   Set aside for the rice to cool completely.
  3. Secondly, we season the eggplant…  Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice eggplant in thin, ¼ inch slices.  In a large flat container mix together the marinade for the eggplant – soy sauce, brown sugar, grated garlic and ginger.  Mix together well to make sure the sugar dissolves well in the soy sauce.  Add the eggplant slices to the marinade, making sure all sides of eggplant are coated with the marinade.  Marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet or griddle and pan-fry the marinated eggplant slices until caramelized, about 2 minutes on each side.  As you cook the eggplant slices, set aside on a baking sheet.
  5. So now…  we assemble the musubi.  Moisten your hands with water.  It will help with the rice not sticking as much to your fingers while you’re assembling.  Take about 2 tbs or rice into the bottom of the plastic container.  Sprinkle lightly some black sesame gomasio as seasoning over the rice.  Place a piece of eggplant over the rice.  Fold the eggplant slice if it’s necessary to fit into the small plastic container.  With the secong plastic container press the eggplant/rice tower to form a compact package.  Using a sharp knife separate the rice/eggplant for the edges and flip over and tap on a cutting board for the rice/eggplant to release from the container.
  6. Wrap with a thin strip of nori.  The nori sheets come scored in strips, we cut each of those strips in half, to make them yiled more strips for sheet.

Musubi tastes best the same day it is made.  Never refrigerate because the cold makes the rice hardens and it’s not very nice to eat.

As you can see, the recipe has a few steps, but it’s not very difficult to make.  And when you get the hang of making the musubi, it becomes kinda like an assembly line.   I want to thank Jesús Omar for being my musubi assistant the day we had to make 50+ musubis for the Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival.  The crowd was surprised they were eating “vegetarian sushi”  for the first time.

Next time, I will definitely try to make this with what they call “sham spam”…  my version, of course.  Stay tuned.

Tofu Mushroom Poke

15 May

Poke is not something you used to do on Facebook…  it’s a salad served raw in Hawaii.  From the looks of it, it’s the Hawaiian ceviche and the correct pronunciation is Poke /poʊˈkeɪ/.

When I traveled to Peru, I had delicious tofu ceviche and white mushroom ceviche.  Both vegan, and both tasted as authentic as ceviche made with fish.  So I decided our Hawaiian ceviche, or poke, would include both tofu and mushrooms. To add more interest, color and crunch, I thought I would include some broccoli florets into the mix.

This is a simple dish with many components coming together.  Feel free to make some parts the night before you’re serving this and finish it off the day of with the broccoli and tossing it all together in the marinade.  This way the tofu marinates overnight and the broccoli is served fresh – the best of both worlds.

 

Typical Hawaiian Dish from KarmaFree Cooking

TOFU MUSHROOM POKE

2 blocks of extra-firm tofu

1 pint of cremini mushrooms, quartered

1 bunch of broccoli, florets only cut in half or thirds

2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded

2 shallots, finely minced

4-6 scallions, thinly sliced

About ¼ cup Garlic and Herb Seasonings

3 garlic cloves, grated

2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup tamari

2 tbs toasted sesame oil

The juice of 2 limes

Salt to taste

 

  1. Slice each tofu block in 4 slices.  Place slices in a baking sheet lined with 2-3 paper towels.  Cover with 2-3 additional paper towels, top with an additional baking sheet and weigh with something heavy.  Drain weighed tofu slices for about 30-60 minutes.
  2. After tofu slices are drained, season liberally with Garlic and Herbs seasoning.   Cook tofu slices in a dry non-stick skillet.  After you’ve placed them on the skillet, leave them for a while without touching them.  The crust they will develop will prevent them from sticking to the skillet and make it easier to turn them.  Sear them on both sides.  Set aside to cool off.
  3. Cut each slice of tofu in 12 pieces – cut into 3 pieces on the long side.  Cut those 3 strips in half and then those halves in half again.   Set aside.
  4. Mix the marinate in a container with a lid that you can cover and marinate tofu for a while – tamari, olive oil, sesame oil, shallots, scallions, grated garlic, grated ginger, lime juice.  Add tofu slices to marinate.  Add shredded carrots.  Marinate for about 4 hours or even overnight in the fridge.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Blanch broccoli florets for about 1 minute, until they turn bright green.  Scoop them out of the boiling water and shock them in a bowl filled with salted ice water.  This will stop the cooking and set the bright green color.  Working in batches will help you control the blanching process and avoid any over cooking.   When broccoli is cooled, transfer to a colander for the florets to drain well and dry.
  6. About 2 hours before serving, combine marinated tofu/carrots mix with quartered mushrooms, cooked broccoli florets and sliced scallions.  Toss well to combine and allow marinate all together.  Toss every 20 minutes to make sure all components are marinated.

Serve at room temperature.

 

If you enjoyed this recipe…  you can check out the other dishes we served at the Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival here in a previous post serving as anchor for all the recipes.

Recipe from KarmaFree Cooking

Hawaiian Haupia Coconut Custard

11 May

It was tempting to make a Hawaiian-inspired dessert using pineapples… but as I mentioned to you originally, we were instructed by our Guruji to only make one dish with pineapple for the Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival a few weeks ago.

To be honest…  I liked the idea and the challenge, because as I have learned, Hawaiian cooking is much more than about the pineapple.  And just by adding pineapple to something, doesn’t make it Hawaiian, right??  This was a Hawaiian Festival, not a pineapple festival.

A typical Hawaiian dessert is haupia…  very similar to a Puerto Rican tembleque.  To make sure the locals didn’t confuse this Hawaiian dessert with its local “braddah”, as they say in the islands, we added a nice little twist, of lime rind that is and a drizzle of carob syrup.

 

Coconut Custard Dessert from Hawaii

HAWAIIAN HAUPIA COCONUT CUSTARD

2 cans of coconut milk or one 25oz can

1 cup of water

6 tbs cornstarch

2/3 cups brown sugar

¼ tsp salt

2 pieces of lime rind

 

  1. In a large saucepan or small pot at medium high heat, add the coconut milk.  Feel free to use a larger pot than you think you might need so you’ll have enough space to stir the mix.
  2. Add the sugar, salt and lime rinds and stir well with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add 1 cup of water to the cans to “wash them” from any leftover coconut milk.  Add the cornstarch to this water to create a slurry.  Mix well with a small whisk and add to the pot on the stove.
  4. Stir the mixture kinda constantly to avoid the cornstarch to fall to the bottom of the pot and create lumps.  When the mixture feels it’s starting to thicken, lower the heat so the bottom doesn’t scorch.  Continue stirring making a figure 8 until the mixture coats the back of the spoon and when you run your finger thru the coating the side do not come together again.
  5. Transfer individual plastic cups for individual servings.   Make sure you remove the lime rinds.
  6. Allow to slightly cool for about 20 minutes on top of the kitchen counter.  After that, transfer to the fridge to cool and set for about 2 hours.  The final product will set but still be “jiggly” when you shake the mold or cup.
  7. Garnish with a drizzle of carob syrup and a paper umbrella…

 

Recipe from KarmaFree Cooking

Lomi Tomato

9 May

Lomi Tomato is the vegetarian version of Lomi Salmon, without the salmon.  This reminded me so much of when I used to order in Chinese restaurants Chicken with Cashew Nuts, without the Chicken.  Somehow people would understand it better when explained like that.

This was the salad portion of our Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival at the Devanand Yoga Center a few weeks ago.  To me it’s really important to include in a menu a salad, but I couldn’t find a typical salad in all the searches I did on Hawaiian cuisine.  So I adapted a version of this very popular dish and made it vegetarian.

I have never tasted the original… to me it sounded very similar to a tartar or a ceviche, both of which I’ve had.  But I thought that by adding macadamia nuts it could be made very interesting.  The audience agreed…  and you??

 

Hawaiian Tomato Salad

LOMI TOMATO

4 cups grape tomatoes, halved

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

½ cup fresh Italian leaf parsley, chopped finely

½ cup olive oil

1 tbs toasted sesame oil

The juice of 2 limes

Salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper

 A pinch of red pepper flakes, optional

 

  1. Just place tomatoes, scallions, macadamias and parsley in a large bowl.
  2. In a measuring cup combine the ingredients for the dressing – olive oil, sesame oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Whisk well to combine.  Add over the tomato salad and toss to combine.
  3. Allow flavors to marinate tomatoes for about 30 minutes before serving.

 

We served it over a bad of mixed greens…  somehow, a salad is more of an salad when lettuces and something leafy is involved, no?

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