Aloha, and Welcome to Whann Way Aloha
How About Some Delicious Kona Coffee and a Hawaiian Bagel?
Veronica’s Hand painted Coconut she Painted Years ago.
(6 Year Old Veronica, in the middle with the white lei around her neck and the leaf bra top, at her school performance.)
Aloha means Hello, Goodbye, and I Love You
Gordon and I had the privilege of living on the island of Oahu for 13 years during Gordon’s Naval career. We loved it and miss it to this day. Both of our children were born there. We miss the island lifestyle.
Hawaii is made up of several Polynesian, Asian, Portuguese, and American cultures.
We miss the cultures, the food, and the casualness to the lifestyle.
This post is about some of the food that we enjoyed in Hawaii during our many years there. We hope that you will enjoy and maybe try the recipes for yourself.
Julie and Gordon Whann
Brodie left, and his classmates, relaxing on Aloha Friday at pre-school.
Hawaii is a very laid back state. Proof, above. 🙂
Iolani Palace, Honolulu, Hawaii
I took these photos in the late 1980’s
Iolani Palace was home to the Hawaiian Royal Families
Dinner at Iolani Palace
February 14, 1883
I believe that I found this reproduction menu at a thrift store in Hawaii. It is a replica of a menu served back in 1883 at the palace.
This is Queen Liliuokalani
1838 – 1917
She was imprisoned for 9 months in Iolani Palace, above, during that time she wrote Aloha Oe.
I found this sheet music at a thrift store as well.
Love This Beautiful Song
Aloha ‘Oe Sung by Tia Carrere
Now that you’ve had your short little history lesson for today……
I do Love the Hawaiian Monarchy
(One of my Areca Palm baskets I made while in Hawaii, and one of my wooden carved idols. The beading is kukui nuts and carved coconut.)
Princess Kaiulani was probably my most favorite Hawaiian Royal but unfortunately she died at age 23.
What I like most about her was that she was an artist. She painted the lovely painting above, you can even see Diamond Head in the background.
Gordon and Julie on The Big Island, Hawaii, 1987, Pregnant with Veronica
I wanted to start this post with Hawaii’s ‘Street Food’ culture, also it’s ‘Flea Market’, ‘Craft Fair’, ‘Fundraiser’, foods as well.
Foods Featured on this Page:
Hawaii Plate Lunch
Portuguese Bean Soup
3 Year old Brodie with his Classmates Enjoying a Plate Lunch
Hawaii Plate Lunch
Julie’s to the left, Gordon’s to the right.
This is our recreation of a local Hawaiian favorite,
Hawaii Plate Lunch
The origins of the “plate lunch” date back to the late 1800’s in the pineapple plantation, and sugar cane fields by the workers. Hawaii is a cultural melting pot made up of immigrants from China, Japan, Portugal, Korea and the Philippines, in addition to the other Polynesian island nations. Many worked the fields and would bring their native foods to work to eat at lunch. They ended up sharing their foods with each other, combining all of their native cuisines which eventually led to the “plate lunch.”
The foods in the plate lunch needed to be heavy to sustain the workers throughout the day. They would bring their lunches with them in bento boxes or kau kau tins.
By the 1930’s lunch wagon’s started appearing selling these “plate lunches” around the island. (In my own southern ancestry my great-grandparents owned a general store and my great-grandmother Emma Keith would make sandwiches and my great-grandfather Lucius, would wheel them over to the train tracks to sell to workers. So I have a family history of this very thing myself, but in the state of Georgia.)
The photo above is of my Great-Grandparent’s store in Rome, GA. It used to say Keith above that red sign. I am standing near the railroad tracks where my Great-Grandfather would wheel the sandwiches to be sold. All businesses used to be located near train tracks in order to cater the workers as well as the travelers.
By the 1950’s the plantation era had ended but the plate lunch didn’t. They started cropping up in eating establishments across the islands. As more Polynesian, Asian, and American cultures migrated over to Hawaii, the plate lunch evolved. They are still heavy meals, you’ll find them being eaten on the beach a lot by the surfers and beach goers. You’ll also see them being sold out of food trucks across the islands.
1961, The Year I was Born
One of the first plate lunch restaurants in Hawaii.
Hawaii is known as The Rainbow State because everyday you will see a rainbow.
Really! Here is a photo that I took one day from atop Diamond Head Volcano.
Hawaii is the Rainbow State
Julie and Gordon atop Diamond Head emerging from a bunker.
Gordon and I lived in Waikiki for the first 4 months upon moving to Hawaii.
How many people can say that? 🙂
Our Plate Lunch Foods
Hawaiian Sticky Rice
Tempura Shrimp and Vegetables
(with dipping sauce)
Julie’s Sugar Free Sweet and Sour Sauce, Gordon and Brodie’s Eel Sauce
Kona Brewery Longboard and Blue Wave Beers
Pictured here is our recreation of the Hawaii Plate Lunch
Coconut Serving Utensils
(It was fun getting out some of our Hawaiiana.)
My Vintage Palm Leaf Lunch Plates, left, Nosy Monk, right
The typical Hawaii Plate Lunch consists of two scoops of white sticky rice, one scoop of macaroni salad, and a meat (main course), usually chicken katsu, shrimp tempura, fried mahi-mahi, Hawaiian bar-b-q beef or pork, etc.
I would usually always get the chicken katsu while Gordon would get either the shrimp tempura or a char siu pork. We would then share our main courses with each other.
Hawaiian Sticky Rice
(Probably the most important food in the Plate Lunch.)
It has to be Calrose Rice
Calrose Rice is a short to medium grained rice which makes perfect Hawaiian Sticky Rice.
Brodie Likes to Make the Rice
With this recipe you don’t need to measure anything!
Pour about two to three cups of rice into your rice cooker pot and rinse well. This is done by filling the pot with a good amount of water, then with your fingers move the rice washing off a good amount of starch. The starch will look white and cloudy. The locals refer to it as the ‘coating.’ Pour out the water and repeat the rinse about three times until the rinse water is clear.
Now, fill the pot with water, one index finger joint/knuckle above the height of the rice.
Next, just place the pot in the cooker, top with the lid, and turn the rice cooker on.
You can top the rice with a garnish of green onions.
TIP: For flavored rice, add a hot pepper to the rice cooker while cooking and the heat and taste of the pepper will transfer to the rice. You can also add some coconut milk and shredded coconut to the water, being sure to still only have one knuckle of liquid above the rice.
Chicken Katsu Warming in the Oven
Wet / Egg Dredge
3/4 Cup Cornstarch
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp White Pepper
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Onion Powder
1 Cup Water
1 lb Panko Breadcrumbs (We used half whole wheat and half regular)
Chicken to Cook
4 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts or Thighs
2-3 Cups Vegetable Oil
Mix all the ingredients in the wet/egg dredge well together in a med. sized bowl.
Place your dry panko breadcrumbs on a large flat plate in an even layer with a touch of pepper, garlic, and onion powder.
Gordon ka ho’omo’a
(Gordon The Cook)
In a large fry pan, pour in your oil and heat to medium temperature.
Above and below are the ingredients I used. Below you can see the difference between the regular and whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs.
Above and below I am combining the ingredients for the wet/egg dredge.
I used a whisk to mix the ingredients.
Wash your chicken with cool water to get any old blood off the meat.
Using cellophane/plastic wrap place one sheet down then lay the chicken on it, then place another sheet of cellophane on top of the chicken.
Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken flat to about 3/4 inch thick.
Below is a before and after picture of the chicken, after being pounded flat.
First dredge the chicken in the wet/egg mixture, then into the dry Panko breadcrumbs being sure to coat the chicken evenly on both sides.
Then place the chicken into the heated oil and fry on Med. heat until the chicken is golden brown… about 5 min.
While it is cooking, use this time to pound flat another breast of chicken.
Using tongs, flip the chicken and cook until the other side is also golden brown.
See how the heat is on Med? This will ensure the chicken is cooked and doesn’t burn.
When done, place the chicken on a rack and place in the oven on low heat to keep warm.
Here you can see the golden brown color of the Panko when done.
Near the end of the cooking process, your Panko which some of it falls off the chicken while you fry it, will start to adhere to the new pieces being cooked. Don’t worry, they still taste good. If they become too burnt, you will need to remove them from the pan by using a strainer.
Here they are all cooked and about to go into the oven to keep warm. Be sure to have the temp. on low.
When ready to serve, cut the chicken into 1 inch strips.
Tempura Shrimp and Vegetables
Med. Sized Shrimp
Red Bell Pepper
Mushrooms (Cremini, Shitaki, or White)
Below are some stretched shrimp!
This is done to cook them evenly and make a great presentation.
I used some shrimp from Argentina. Their shells are thicker and the meat is slightly sweet.
Peel and devein the shrimp. Peel all the shell away with the exception of the tail piece.
To devein, cut the shrimp on its top and remove the black vein by rinsing the shrimp under running water.
Here you have the shrimp ready to stretch.
Place the shrimp on its back.
Where the legs use to be down by the tail, place a small cut across the shrimp about 1/4 inch in depth in increments of about 1/2 inch down the shrimp.
Turn the shrimp over onto its belly or legs side down.
Now with your index fingers and thumbs from both hands starting at the head, slightly pinch and push down on the shrimp. Continue this motion down to the tail using less pressure as you go.
You should hear some slight cracks which is the meat separating becoming elongated.
Above you can see how much longer the stretched shrimp is compared to the un-stretched ones.
As you stretch more of these, you will become faster with the process.
The Stretched Shrimp
Next up, Gordon Preparing the Vegetables for the Tempura
Here are some of the classic vegetables we used to Tempura… Lotus Root, Sweet Potato, and a Yam.
Here is simply peeled one end of the sweet potato.
From Julie…(Yes it does look like that, doesn’t it?)
Above is some Chinese Daikon Radish
Red bell pepper which has been sliced into triangles.
Below, I used a special slicer to make wavy cuts of the Daikon.
You can also slice them flat if you don’t have one.
Mushrooms should be halved then quartered.
Here you can see the thickness of the vegetables… about 1/8 inch.
The Lotus Root will turn brown after cutting, so place them in some water until ready to cook them.
Above is the Tempura mix we used.
You can make your own batter but we had already had this in the pantry and wanted to use it up first.
Use ice water to keep the Tempura batter cold, so when it hits the hot oil, it will become crispy.
To accomplish this, I use very cold water and I keep some ice cubes in the mix.
Using your wok, place in a few cups of vegetable oil and turn the heat to Medium High.
To test the oil’s temperature, I place a piece of vegetable into the oil and see if it sizzles.
The locals will throw in a garlic clove and when it floats to the surface the oil is ready.
Using cooking chopsticks is a good way to retrieve the vegetables.
Dredge your shrimp into the Tempura batter and place into the wok. Only cook a few at time, so the oil’s temperature doesn’t lower.
Cook the shrimp until slightly browned and crispy. This should only take about 1 min.
Use cooking chopsticks to turn the shrimp.
You can use any utensil you like to turn the shrimp but we prefer to go native and do as the locals of Hawaii do.
You can also use your hand a drip in some tempura batter into the wok, then when you place the shrimp into the oil, the crunchy bits will adhere to the fresh batter and make the shrimp more crispy and more coated.
Now Gordon has switched over to a cooking strainer to remove the shrimp from the oil.
This strainer will work well with the vegetables too.
We purchased this one from the Asian store but you can find similar versions at other stores that sell cooking utensils.
Put the shrimp and other vegetables on paper towels when you remove them from the wok.
Here, I am getting ready to batter the vegetables.
Frying the Vegetables
The lotus root is beautiful to tempura. Love all the holes that show through.
Again, don’t fry too many or the oil’s temp will lower and not let the batter get crispy.
Cook the Slices Vegetables for about a minute and a half in the oil.
Here Gordon sprinkled some corn starch onto the shrimp to tempura. With many Asian fried dishes, corn starch is used because it becomes more crispy than plain flour when fried. The dry corn starch will also help the wet tempura batter adhere to the shrimp.
Always place on paper towels to drain the excess oil.
Enjoy this great way to cook shrimp and vegetables!
(This is a different way to make Fried Noodles.)
1 Can of Spam (Cut into slices then fried, then sliced into thin strips)
1 Tbsp Sea Salt
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Bags Chow Mein Noodles
thinly sliced vegetables…
Carrots, Bell Peppers, Cabbage, Cremini or Shitaki Mushrooms, Snow Peas, Daikon Radish
2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 Cup Oyster Sauce
1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp Sesame Seed Oil
2 Green Onions sliced
SPAM is a staple in a lot of the island cooking.
Slice the uncooked spam into 1/4 inch sections. I usually get 8 even pieces.
Fry in olive oil until golden brown as shown below.
We like our SPAM crispy.
Although the locals don’t cook their SPAM to crispy. Not usually, anyway.
The Ingredients for the Fried Noodles
Above is the brand of Chow Mein noodles we used.
This is the kind of cooking that we love best.
Salt the water and turn on to boil.
ALOHA Soy Sauce
We used the Aloha Brand of Soy Sauce for this recipe as it is a favorite.
In a large roasting pan, place your soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, garlic powder, sesame seeds and your sliced vegetables and mix them well.
Garlic Powder and Sesame Seeds
To clean the snow pea…
Take off the hard stem end of the snow pea and peel it back onto itself.
Below, you can see the string like piece that you get which comes off with the stem.
You are removing the tough part of the snow pea, but this is optional.
After the spam has cooled, stack them and slice them into thin strips.
We cooked this SPAM the night before in order to save a little time on this recipe.
Slice your mushrooms, carrots and daikon into thin strips as well. Doing this will ensure they get cooked evenly.
Add Everything to your Baking Pan
Using 1/4 of a cabbage, slice it thinly.
Slicing the Peppers
TIP: To remove the seeds from a small pepper cut off the top…
Then roll the pepper between your hands to remove the seeds.
You will see them start to fall out onto your cutting board. You will also be able to pull out the white part from inside.
Ready to be Sliced into Rings
Another Way to Slice a Bell Pepper
Slice the top of your bell pepper off then slice away the inner section holding your knife flat with the cutting board.
You have now cleaned out the middle of the bell pepper.
Now slice the pepper into strips.
When all of the veggies and other ingredients have been added to the baking pan……
Mix all of your ingredients well. You should have a good amount as shown below.
Since the salted water should be boiling by now, dump in one bag of your noodles and cook for about 1 minute to 90 seconds. It doesn’t take long at all.
Cook One Bag at a Time
Drain them well, then add them to your vegetables in your roasting pan.
Stir your noodles with your vegetables and then cook your other bag of noodles in the boiling water.
Nice picture Julie!
(All my pictures are nice Gordon!) 🙂
Add your other bag of cooked noodles to the roasting pan and mix well.
This in itself it perfect right here!
Add more sesame seeds if you like.
Now bake at 400’F for about 6 min.
Add more soy and oyster sauce to just coat the noodles again.
I used about 1/4 cup of each.
You will find that some of the noodles get brown and crispy.
After adding the liquid, mix well and place back in the oven for another 5 min.
This makes a good amount of noodles and is the best way to cook them that we have found.
Excellent eaten on their own, or taken into the work the following day for lunch.
We do love the leftovers!
This is not the heavy coated Macaroni Salad that they serve in the plate lunches in Hawaii. This is an Asian inspired macaroni salad that Gordon created a few years ago that we like better.
(Excellent to take for lunch the following day.)
1 Box Macaroni Noodles (we used whole wheat pasta)
3 Celery Stalks
1 Cup Sliced Carrots
1 Cup Miracle Whip (Mayonnaise)
2 Tbsp Mustard
1/4 Cup Rice Wine
2 Tbsp Splenda Sugar
2 Tbsp Chopped Pimentos
2 Tbsp Sweet Relish
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt to taste
Turn on your water to boil the noodles in a pot on the stove top.
Slice your celery into strips then into small pieces.
Chop up your pre-sliced carrots into even smaller pieces.
Add them to a large bowl.
Cook your noodles in a large pot of boiling water following the directions on the box.
Usually for about 8 min.
Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Draining the Noodles Well
Add the drained noodles to the bowl and mix well.
Now, add your other ingredients and mix.
Adding the Splenda Sugar and Some Chopped Pimientos from a Jar
Starting to look very pretty and light.
Adding Some Pickle Relish
Mix with a touch of ground pepper and some season salt if needed.
Taste, Taste, and Taste again to ensure you like it.
So, after cooking this ONO Hawaii Plate Lunch meal there was only one thing left to do, eat it out of a Styrofoam container with chopsticks on our lanai. Just like the Aloha Way!
Don’t forget my Longboard and your Blue Wave
Ahhh…. I can feel the trades blowing on my face right now. Truly ONO!!
Portuguese Bean Soup
The Portuguese migrated over to Hawaii in 1878 because the Hawaiian people were dying off in large numbers do to the diseases that sailors were bringing over with them. People were needed to work the Sugar Cane Plantations. Here is yet another example of immigrants saving the day so that a town, or city, or nation can flourish.
(Hand painted coconuts courtesy of me and a 5 year old Brodie.)
I wanted to start out with the Portuguese Bean Soup. This was a soup that Veronica and I bought at a white elephant sale in Waimaea, Hawaii. Veronica and I had met some friends in Waimea to spend the day and we stopped off at this particular bizarre. As a fundraiser, they were selling Portuguese Bean Soup to raise some money.
They also included the recipe.
I ended up buying some of the soup, was given the recipe, and Gordon and I based this recipe on the ‘white elephant sale’ recipe.
Actually, Gordon and I ended up combining about 4 different Portuguese Bean Soup recipes and created our own.
This is delicious! We also made extra for lunches as well.
Here is the ORIGINAL recipe that was given to us when we purchased the soup.
Portuguese Bean Soup (Makes 4 quarts)
1 Pound Portuguese sausage, sliced
1 Large carrot, diced
2 Potatoes, chopped
1 Quart Water
2 -8 ounce cans Tomato sauce
1 T. Salt
2- 15 ounce cans Kidney beans (drained or undrained)
1 Large head Cabbage, chopped
In a large pot, combine all ingredients except kidney beans and cabbage. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, and simmer for 1/2 hour, covered. Add kidney beans and cabbage and simmer another 1/2 hour.
That’s it! The recipe we were given.
However Gordon and I decided to expand on it and we did some research online and in some of our old Hawaiian cookbooks and we found other variations of this recipe. So we decided to combine 4 recipes that we liked and came up with this one.
Hope you will enjoy!
Gordon Ready to Start the Soup
The Recipe That This Soup is Based On
(I kept it all these years.)
2 Pots on the stove top. One will house the soup, the other will boil the pasta.
Boiling The Pasta
(Boil to al dente then drain and set aside.)
Our Portuguese Bean Soup Recipe
- 3 Cans Red Kidney Beans, we used Dark and Light Red
- 1 Pound Pasta (any you desire)
- 1 lb. Turkey Kielbasa Sausage
- 1 lb. Chicken Garlic Sausage
- 3 Cans of Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 -8 oz. Can Tomato Paste
- 4 Cans Chicken Broth
- 2 Cups Water
- 1 T. Turmeric
- 1 t. Dried Sage
- 2 Small Onions, Chopped
- 3 – 4 Stalks, Chopped Celery
- 5 – 6 Sm. to Med. Red Potatoes, chopped
- 1 Cup Chopped Carrots
- 1 t. Sindhav Powdered Salt (but you can use any salt you like.)
- Freshly Ground Pepper to Taste
- 1 Medium Sized Cabbage, chopped and shredded
- 1/4 t. Table Salt
Adding the Cans of Chopped Tomatoes
We Drained and Rinsed our Dark and Light Kidney Beans, then Added Them to the Pot.
Adding the Rinsed Kidney Beans and Rinsing the Pasta
Adding the Chicken Broth and the Tomato Paste, Below.
We Add Turmeric to as Much as we Can as it Kills Cancer Cells.
Gordon’s trick to preventing the cutting board from moving as he chops. Place a piece of plastic drawer liner underneath. It’s also great for opening tough jar lids.
Chopping the Celery, Leaves Included
Add the Celery
Adding the Water
Chopping the Onion
Chopped Two Small Onions
Adding the Onions
Time for a Cute Pug Break
Gordon decided to grill our turkey and chicken sausages. That gave the soup a unique flavor.
Gordon Grilling the Sausages
(Of course we sampled them. You know, just to make sure they tasted good.)
Slice the sausages, like so.
These Taste PERFECT!
Gordon Chopped About 5 – 6 Sm. to Med. Red Potatoes
Adding the Potatoes to the Pot
These carrots are shredded but Gordon still chopped them into more bite sized spoonful portions.
Add to the Soup
Adding Ground Sage and Freshly Ground Pepper
Adding About a Teaspoon of Sindhav Powdered Salt
(This is an exotic salt but you can use any salt you like.)
We bought a large one but we only used half of it.
Cut out the stem of the cabbage and discard.
Now you just want to chop the cabbage into shreds.
Then Add to the Pot
It was at this point that we realized we needed more chicken broth and kidney beans. We did make the adjustments to the recipe above.
When doing a taste test it needed more salt so Gordon added our “pug” table salt, about 1/4 teaspoon.
At This Point it was Spilling Over the Pot and we Had to Transfer into a Bigger Pot.
Adding the rest of the cabbage, adding the Pasta, and adding the sausages.
Now it’s ready, now it’s perfect!
Some of our Hawaiiana
The serving tray that I made years ago using old vintage Hawaiian postcards and photograph’s that I had taken. Also some paper graphics that I wish I had left out and not attached permanently. Oh well, I think it’s still lovely.
Hawaiian Boxer Shorts
These boxer shorts belonged to me actually, from our time in Hawaii. I went through this phase of wearing men’s boxer shorts with t-shirts. Comfortable, that’s island life. Well, I outgrew them so I put them around plants. Here is a red hibiscus and one of my painted coconuts.
Rarely do I ever throw anything away, I like to find a use for it.
Check out our Weekend Spamin’, an Aloha Flea Market Favorite:
Just click on the picture:
Also, Check out our Hawaiian Hum Lum Sun Prunes, an Old Hawaiian Recipe that isn’t made anymore.
Just click on the picture:
Blue Hawaiians and Huli Huli Chicken:
Just click on the picture:
Huli Huli Julie Caesar:
Just click on the picture:
Aloha and Mahalo,
Julie and Gordon