My Hawaii: Huli-Huli Chicken Inspired

Huli Style Cornish hen

During my visits, I prefer eating food that is unique to the islands. Typically, I concentrate on seafood and tropical fruit. Four years ago, I saw Huli-Huli chicken on Maku’u Farmers Market and decided I have to try it next time. Since it is a signature dish for Hawaii, I assumed it should be served on every corner on the Big Island. I was wrong. During my recent hunt for Huli-Huli chicken, I found only two highly recommended businesses and both of them were open for a few hours one or two days a week. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance being at the right place at the right time to taste their food. Oh well, I had to make my Huli-style chicken at home in Texas then!

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Beggar’s Chicken

Beggar's Chicken

In Hangzhou, I visited Qinghefang Ancient Street food market a few times. I saw Beggar’s chicken during the first visit and decided it’s a must to try! The next day, four of us brave enough to eat street food came there for lunch. We enjoyed every bite! The funniest part of that experience was that the same day, after a few hours of walking around the West Lake when it was time to join the rest of the group for dinner, all four of us unanimously decided to come back and eat Beggar’s chicken instead!

I suppose only people who tasted Beggar’s chicken at least once and crave for it since then, would cook it at home. This recipe is for those who would like to recreate their experience without traveling to China.

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My Hawaii: Poke-tini

Poke/Poketini

Poke-tini is a popular appetizer in eclectic/modern Polynesian/Japanese restaurants. It’s a salad made of fresh raw fish (mostly ahi tuna) cut into 1/4″ cubes and mixed with diced onion, and seaweed. It is usually seasoned with soy sauce, fresh ginger, vinegar (rice, black rice, or balsamic) or lime/key lime juice, and sesame oil. Sometimes avocado and sesame seeds are added. It is served cold in martini glasses. Tiny peaces of perfectly seasoned fish will melt in your mouth!

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Miso-Braised Shishito Peppers

Miso-Braise Shishito Peppers

There is no Japanese cooking class I teach or tasting event I host without mentioning Asahi Imports store. Besides having the best selection of sake and Japanese beer in Austin, they now make really good fresh snacks in store. Every time I shop there, I treat myself with their onigiri, and they are always amazing. Last time I’ve got onigiri with miso-braised shishito — to die for! Today I’ve made my own at home using the recipe below.

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Falafel

Falafel

Chef J got us one of authentic recipes for the class. We made it, and the whole school came to taste our falafel — the best I ever had. I remember other chef-instructors couldn’t believe it was truly vegan and gluten-free, with no wheat flour added to the mix.

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The Most Popular Thai Soups: Tom Yam

Vegetarian Tom Yam

Tom Yam Kung (prawns or seafood combo) and Tom Yam Gai (chicken) are the most popular variations of Tom Yam outside of Thailand. They are made with fresh readily-available ingredients, they are easy to make, and they are beautiful, low-calorie soups. Vegans can use recipes where the shrimp paste and fish sauce are substituted with plant-based ingredients. The best way to substitute is to make your own Thai chili and curry pastes, stir-fry sauces, and salad dressings. Once you make your own vegetarian Nam Prik Pao, it’s only a matter of minutes to cook a vegetarian Tom Yam.

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