A gourmet Hawaiian dinner you can cook yourself
By Linda Tagliaferro
When the sun sets on Hawaii's Big Island, the sky turns a brilliant pink, palm trees sway in the balmy breeze, and it's time for a luau. Corey Waite, executive chef at the luxurious Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on the island's stunning Kohala Coast, is preparing gourmet delicacies for the guests.
If you can't afford to fly your closest friends to the Big Island, the next best thing is to cook up a Hawaiian dinner party of your own. Chef Corey promises that even the average cook can prepare these sumptuous dishes successfully.
Today's Hawaiian fare is nothing like the dishes served when your parents attended Hawaiian Night at the Elks Club. Chef Corey explains, "There are many ethnic backgrounds here, like Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese and Thai. So there's a strong Asian influence in modern Hawaiian cuisine." He adds that this new cuisine combines traditional Hawaiian flavors with the best of a wide variety of delectable tastes.
Chef Corey has created a Hawaiian luau for four that will dazzle your guests. Mai tais will get everyone in the mood for the feast that follows. Delight your friends with a Salad of Tossed Greens with Papaya Seed Dressing, followed by Lomi Lomi Salmon. Then serve a mixed luau plate of Kailua Pork, Chicken Luau, Opah Baked in a Pistachio Crust with Ginger Essence, and Baked Sweet Potatoes. Serve these delicacies with side dishes of steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables (Chef Corey suggests using julienne carrots, onions, peppers, celery, bok choy and Shiitake mushrooms.) Then finish off the meal with Haupia, or coconut dessert squares.
Chef Corey suggests a visit to the local florist for a bouquet of anthuriums or delicate purple orchids to use as a dazzling dinner table centerpiece. After dinner, you can serve tropical fruits like mangos, litchis, star fruit or exotic rambutans, available at gourmet food stores. Finish up your meal with some steaming hot Kona coffee. This gourmet brew is grown in the sunshine on the Big Island and is available at specialty coffee emporiums.
So invite your friends, shop for those savory ingredients, and cook up a tropical storm in the kitchen. Then put on some CDs with the haunting notes of a Hawaiian ukulele melody. After one whiff of these island delicacies, your guests will be dancing all the way to the dinner table.
- 4 oz. light rum
- 2 oz. dark rum
- 6 oz. pineapple juice
- 6 oz. orange juice
- 6 oz. lemon juice
- 2 oz. Grand Marnier
Combine and mix all ingredients together. Serve in tall glasses over ice. Garnish with small paper "umbrellas" and orchids.
Lomi Lomi Salmon
- 1-1/4 lbs. canned, diced salted salmon
- 1-1/4 lbs. tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup green onion, finely sliced
- 1/2 cup Maui onion, finely diced (or other white or sweet onion)
- 4 whole tomatoes (for decorative "petals")
Combine all ingredients. To make tomato petals, cut each tomato almost into quarters, but don't cut all the way through. Separate the quarters so they fall back into a flower petal shape. Place a mound of the mixture into the center of each tomato.
Papaya Seed Dressing
- 6 egg yolks
- 1-1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1 papaya, peeled
- Salt to taste
- 2 teaspoons black pepper, preferably freshly ground
- 1 teaspoon Coleman's Mustard (or other good quality yellow mustard)
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 cup honey
- 1-1/4 cup Sterling Oil (or other good quality vegetable oil)
Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve over mixed greens.
- 1 lb. boneless pork butt
- 5 quarts chicken stock
- 1-1/2 tablespoons Hawaiian or Kosher salt
- 2 oz. Liquid Smoke
In a large pot, combine all ingredients, cover and simmer slowly for 3 to 3-1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Shred meat. Keep warm until serving time. (This dish can be made one day in advance and reheated by steaming in a double boiler.)
Baked Sweet Potatoes
- 1 lb. sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons coconut syrup
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Peel, then boil or steam potatoes until tender. Cool, slice and place potatoes in a greased baking pan. Lightly drizzle coconut syrup over potatoes. Place chunks of butter on potatoes and sprinkle with brown sugar. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees until hot.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 cups spinach, chopped
- 1-1/2 cups coconut milk
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 8 oz. chicken thighs, saut»ed or steamed, shredded
Melt butter in a medium pan over medium heat, then add spinach, coconut milk and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and add chicken. Heat to a slow boil and remove from heat immediately.
Opah (Moonfish) Baked in a Pistachio Crust with Ginger Essence
- 4 filets (6 oz. each) of Opah (Moonfish) or other firm white fish
- 8 pieces lotus root (find in larger grocery stores' Asian foods section)
- 1 cup pistachio nuts, finely chopped
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 6 tomatoes (preferably vine-ripened), seeded and diced
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- Salt to taste
- White pepper to taste
Dredge the lotus root in the flour and deep-fry until crisp. In a small mixing bowl, combine the pistachio nuts and bread crumbs. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes and green onions. In a saut» pan, saut» the ginger and then add the tomato and green onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and keep at room temperature.
Season the fish filets with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Dip the filets in the beaten eggs, then into the nut mixture, making sure the fish is evenly coated. In a small saut» pan, heat oil and saut» and brown both sides of filets. Place the filets into a casserole and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees. Cook 10-15 minutes or until tender.
For presentation, place the fish on top of the tomato mixture. Garnish the fish with the lotus chips. To add color on the edge of the plate, buy furikake, a condiment mix made from seaweed, sesame seeds and spices (in the Asian food section of your grocery store.)
Haupia (Hawaiian Coconut Dessert Squares)
- 1-1/2 quarts coconut milk
- 3/4 lb. sugar
- 1 quart water
- 1/2 quart water
- 1/2 lb. cornstarch
Dissolve cornstarch into one quart of water. Mix in remaining ingredients and cook in a medium saucepan over medium heat about ten minutes, or until well boiled and shiny. Pour into a sheet pan lined with parchment or waxed paper. After completely chilled, cut into squares and serve on a platter.
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