Culinary Vacations: Hawaiian Heaven

A lot of Minnesotans will enjoy a spring break this month. Is it just us or does it seem like everyone is headed somewhere sunny and warm? If you're not amongst the snowbirds flocking to the beaches, don't worry. We've got a culinary spring break planned for you. This month we're taking your taste buds on a trip to Hawaii!

Hawaiian BeachHawaiian cuisine is uniquely developed from a number of food cultures; immigrants from China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Samoa, Portugal and Puerto Rico have heavily influenced Hawaiian food traditions. As a result of these myriad influences, Hawaii has a vibrant fusion cooking scene. Asian dishes like stirfry, sushi, tempura and Korean barbeque along with flavors of sweet and sour, teriyaki and curry are particularly popular. Common ingredients in Hawaiian cuisine include coconut, jicama, pineapple, pork, rice and fish, especially tuna.

There are very few native edible plants to Hawaii. Most of the most popular crops on the island were brought there by pioneers from the Western Pacific, especially Polynesia. Taro, sweet potatoes, coconuts and sugarcane (some of the most popular foodstuffs and exports in the modern islands) are among the plants introduced by these settlers. While pineapple is now one of the main sources of revenue for the Hawaiian economy, they weren't even grown there until 1813.

Featured Recipes

These Hawaiian regional recipes will transport you to the sunny shores of Maui:

HULI HULI MARINADE OR GLAZE permalink icon

1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. ketchup
2 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari*
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp. fresh ground ginger
1 tbsp. canola oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground Kowalski's Black Peppercorns, to taste
*A note about gluten: To make this recipe gluten free, use a gluten-free tamari in place of soy sauce.

Marinade: Whisk together all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

Glaze: Whisk together all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once mixture comes to a bubble, cook until sauce coats the back of a spoon (about 5 min.). Cool slightly before using to baste chicken while it cooks or to glaze cooked chicken. You can also use this mixture warm or cool as a dipping sauce.

Makes enough for 2 lbs. chicken.

COLORFUL PINEAPPLE SALAD permalink icon

2 tbsp. Kowalski's Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp. pineapple juice
2 tsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
- pinch ground ginger or 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1 tsp. brown sugar
- freshly ground Kowalski's Sea Salt and Black Peppercorns, to taste
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
2/3 cup jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2/3 cup frozen edamame, thawed
2/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cubed
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil, juices, ginger and sugar; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add remaining ingredients; toss. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Chill until ready to serve.

Serves 4.

PINEAPPLE CHICKEN STIRFRY permalink icon

1/2 cup cold water
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari*
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tbsp. ketchup
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- crushed red pepper flakes or sriracha, to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 medium onion, chopped in 1/2" pieces
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
- chopped fresh cilantro and sliced green onions, for garnish
- prepared rice or rice noodles, for serving
*A note about gluten: To make this recipe gluten free, use a gluten-free tamari in place of soy sauce.

Add water to cornstarch in a small mixing bowl; combine mixture with the next 7 ingredients (through sriracha) in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved and sauce is slightly thickened (about 5 min.). Remove from heat and set aside. Heat the oil in an extra-large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add chicken; cook and stir until the chicken is browned and nearly cooked through (3-4 min.). Add garlic, pineapple and vegetables; cook and stir until vegetables are crisp-tender (4-5 min.). Add sauce; cook 1-2 min. until sauce thickens. Garnish with cilantro and green onions; serve immediately over rice or noodles.

Serves 4.

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