Sunday, December 03, 2006

Thanksgiving in Kauai

God what an awesome vacation! I traded in two of our twelve timeshare weeks for a couple of condos in Princeville, Kauai, on the north shore over Thanksgiving. Jay and I decided to create a Hawaiian Thanksgiving meal. It was fully grindable, bra…

Kalua Turkey

I’ll never make Kalua Pork again, nor ever cook my Thanksgiving turkey by roasting. This came out so tender and juicy and wonderful with all of the flavors of Kalua Pork and none of the grease.

  • 1 Turkey
  • Liquid Smoke (unless you can dig an imu pit)
  • Hawaiian Sea Salt (we used Alaea Red Salt)
  • Ti Leaves
  • Taro Leaves
  • Aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 500f degrees.

Remove neck & giblets from turkey. Place in sauce pan with 4c water, 2 stalks of celery, a handful of fresh parsley, 1/2 an onion, salt, and pepper. Simmer for several hours.

Completely defrost and rinse the turkey, then pat dry. Rub with Liquid Smoke (about ¼ to ½ bottle) on the inside cavity, under the skin, and outside skin (wear gloves if you don’t want to smell of liquid smoke for the next week). Rub again with the salt, inside cavity, under skin, outside skin.

Line a roasting pan with oversized sheets of aluminum foil, at least 2 sheets thick. Put two layers of Ti Leaves on the foil, then two layers of the Taro Leaves on the Ti Leaves (if you’re in Kauai and you try to buy the taro and ti leaves at the Safeway in Kapa’a, the locals will laugh at you. Instead, just stop by the side of the road and pick a bunch).

Set the bird on the layers of leaves, then repeat the process in reverse to cover the bird. Wrap it completely with Taro Leaves, then Ti Leaves, then seal with foil.

Place roasting pan with bird in oven, and reduce heat to 280f degrees. Roast for 40 minutes per pound (about 8 to 10 hours for a 14lb bird).

Hours and hours later, the bird will be glorious, tender, and falling off the bone. Fabulous juices will fill the bottom of your roasting pan. Drain the juice and reserve for gravy. Carefully unwrap the foil, and remove & discard the Ti Leaves. Pick the Taro Leaves off and reserve. Discard turkey skin. Pull the meat off of the carcass and serve.

Kalua Turkey Gravy

  • 2c reserved liquid from Turkey
  • 2c liquid from giblet stock
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp corn starch, to desired thickness

Bring the liquid ingredients to a slow simmer. Dissolve cornstarch in water, and slowly add to liquid, stirring constantly. Thicken to desired consistency.

Taro Leaves

Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the reserved Taro Leaves and serve.


While the Turkey is cooking, you’ll need to whip up some pupus to keep folks occupied

Crab Dip

  • 1lb crab, shredded (I used 1/2lb imitation, 1/2lb snow crab)
  • 16oz shredded cheese (I used ‘Mexican Blend’)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2c finely chopped green onion
  • 8oz cream cheese
  • 2c mayonnaise

Squeeze the water out of the crab (otherwise, your dip will end up watery). Mix together everything but the cream cheese and mayo. Stir in the cream cheese until it’s well blended. Add in mayo to taste—if you want to dip with tortilla chips, you’ll want it a bit thinner. If you want to spread on crackers, add less mayo for a thicker mixture.

If you’re really ambitious, spoon the dip into wonton sheets and fry for really ‘ono’ crab wontons.


Originally I thought we’d buy this ready-made, but Jay only bought the wraps. Here’s how we filled them.


  • 1lb ground pork
  • 1c chopped green onion
  • 1 pkg bean thread noodles (long rice), soaked and chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 sweet potato, diced and cooked
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce

Combine the filling ingredients, mashing the sweet potato into the mixture. Place 2 Tbsp of the mixture on the quarter corner of a wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the mixture, and then turn in one corner. Roll another quarter turn, and then fold in the opposite corner. Continue rolling, sealing the end with water or egg white. Fry the lumpia until golden. Serve with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce.

Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

  • 1 jar ‘Homemade Chili Sauce’
  • 1/4c brown sugar
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • Corn Starch

Combine first four ingredients in saucepan. Simmer to combine. Dissolve 1 Tbsp corn starch in 1/4c water. Add to sauce, stirring constantly, to thicken. Remove from heat and chill before serving.

Hawaiian Salt Potatoes

This is really just your basic salted roasted potatoes, but I have to include the recipe from Aloha World Ono Recipes, because it’s just so fun:


  • 4 beeg kine Baking potatoes
  • 5 Tbps Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Hawaiian salt
  • 3/4 tsp Black peppah 1 tsp Mashed gahlic
  • 1 tsp Minced ginjah oa minced parsely oa minced rosemary oa minced onion

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat da oven to 400 degrees. Scrub da spuds den try cut dem in half lentwise, den cut each half in thirds lentwise. Going have 6 wedges. One, two, chree, fouah, five, seex. K?Den, try get one cookie sheet dat get sides. Den. kâwili (mix) in one cup oa small kine bowl da ress of da ingredients. Den, pour all dis ovah da potatoes; make shuah u 'au'au yoah hands, den kâwili da oil mixchah all ovah da potatoes. Make shuah alla sides stay coated. Now, try spread da potatoes in one singo layah all ovah da cookie sheet. Bake um foah 30-35 minutes, but try turn um ovah wen pau 20 minutes. Nemmine if stick litto bit. Den bake da ress of da time. Da idea stay foah gettum crisp ona outsai an tendah ona insai. Den, sprinko wit moah Hawaiian salt an grine NOW! No wait, cuz dey stay da most ono wen dey stay hot. All dis going serve about 3-4 peeps, cuz us locals like foah grine, yeah!

Curried Pea Salad

  • 3/4c mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • Garlic
  • Hawiian salt
  • 16 oz.frozen green peas
  • 8 oz lump crab meat
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2c chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 3oz fried chow mein noodles

Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, curry powder and garlic salt in a bowl and mix well. Place the frozen peas in a colander and hold under running cold water for several minutes to thaw; drain. Squeeze water from the crab meat. Combine the peas, crab meat, and celery in a bowl and toss to mix. Add the dressing and mix well. Add cashews and noodles just before serving.

Macaroni Salad

You can’t have a meal in Hawaii without the macaroni salad. There are a million variations.

  • 1 med. pkg. macaroni, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 lb. crab, chopped (imitation works well)
  • 1/2 box frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 sm. stalks celery. chopped
  • 4 large hard boiled eggs, grated
  • 1/4c sweet pickle relish
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/2 chopped sweet onion, or 2 chopped green onion
  • 3/4 of a quart of Mayonnaise

Combine ingredients with cooled macaroni, and then add the mayo. The macaroni will absorb the mayo, so you may want to make your salad a day ahead to let the flavors combine. You might also want to add more mayo just before serving.

Garlic Asparagus

  • 1 can Chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 12 Garlic clove pealed and cut in halves lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 lbs Asparagus, trimmed
  • Hawaiian salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Grated skin of 1 lemon

In large skillet, bring broth, oil and garlic to boil. Add asparagus and return to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook just until asparagus is tender but still crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to warm serving plate. Raise heat and cook liquid and garlic in pan until syrupy and reduce to about 1/2 cup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over asparagus and sprinkle with lemon skin.

Haupia Cake

I never remember desert, but this was Hawaii!


  • 1 pkg White cake mix (for a 9X13" pan)
  • 1 C Coconut milk
  • 2/3 C Water
  • 2 Egg whites


  • 1 Tbsp Unflavored gelatin
  • 2 C Heavy cream
  • 6 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Lemon extract
  • Shredded coconut to taste

Prepare cake mix according to package directions using 2/3 cup of the coconut milk, the water, and the egg whites. Cool cake, remove from pan and split carefully into 3 layers. Reserve top layer; spread haupia filling on the remaining layers. Chill layers until filling is set.

While layers are chilling: soften gelatin in remaining 1/3 cup coconut milk; dissolve over hot water. Cool. Whip cream; fold in gelatin mixture, sugar and extract. Stack chilled cake layers; frost with whipped cream mixture. Sprinkle cake with coconut.

Haupia filling:

  • 2 C Coconut milk
  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 3 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1/2 C Water
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • Cooking Instructions:

In a sauce pan heat coconut milk (do not boil). Mix sugar, salt, and cornstarch with water; stir into hot coconut milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (cook over low heat to avoid curdling). Stir in vanilla and cool.

NOTE: It is best to chill the haupia until it is somewhat thick, but still spreadable; otherwise it kind of goops up when you try to spread it on the layers. Chill the frosting, too, before you spread it.

Kalua Turkey Loco Moco

Loco Moco is the Hawaiian Breakfast of Champions. We used our Thanksgiving leftovers for a Kalua Turkey Loco Moco that would have been the envy of Sam Choy himself.

  • 1c white rice, cooked
  • Leftover Kalua Turkey
  • Leftover Kalua Turkey Gravy
  • Spam
  • Portuguese Sausage
  • Eggs, fried ‘runny’

Place 1/2c cooked rice in center of plate. Top with shredded Kalua Turkey. Add a slice of fried spam, and 2 slices of fried Portuguese Sausage. Top with fried egg, and cover with gravy.