Are you building yourself a new home in Maui, or simply renovating? Are you considering a kitchen makeover, or a complete remodel?
Whether you’re happy with your current kitchen or considering a refresh, “cooking Hawaiian” may be something you’d like to do and doing it in a beautiful and efficient kitchen makes cooking Hawaiian even more enjoyable! If you’ve been here for many years, you’ve probably made at least a few local recipes. But if you’re relocating from the mainland, or elsewhere in the world, it’s a fun idea to learn and explore local cuisine.
Local Hawaii cuisine can sometimes be described as, “quirky.” While fine food is widely available made by some of the finest chefs in the world, there are also revered local recipes that might not be familiar on the mainland. Believe it or not, Spam is considered a “delicacy” here and features quite prominently in some of the cuisine. Also historically as new groups of people came to Hawaii from different countries, their style of cooking influenced recipes and became incorporated into Native Hawaiian cuisine.
Because Maui and all of Hawaii has a considerable agriculture industry, many of the recipes familiar to Islanders utilize traditional local ingredients. Since much of Hawaii’s foodstuffs are shipped in from elsewhere, it makes sense to become familiar with locally available foods as well as how to use them. Here are two of Hawaii’s best recipes that people in Hawaii enjoy year-round.
The Poke Bowl
You’ve probably seen poke bowls on recipe sites, Pinterest, and even in some cookbooks. It’s one of the new popular foodie trends that’s easy to make and easy to enjoy since it’s “bowl food.”
But poke bowls aren’t anything new. They originated in Hawaii among fishermen who were just trying to have some lunch. They simply cut up their fish and veg, added salt or other spices, and enjoyed it.
The word “poke’” (pronounced “poh-KAY”) is literally translated into “cut into pieces.” An authentic poke bowl consists simply of cubes of raw seafood sliced up, with added sauces, spices, and assorted bits of vegetables, onions, and other additions like sesame seeds. Most bowls include fresh Ahi tuna, but it’s not unusual to find salmon or something more exotic, such as octopus.
Although there is a wide range of recipes for poke bowls, there isn’t one right or wrong way to make one. Some of Hawaii’s best recipes for poke bowls come from creativity using local produce, seafood and spices. Recipes are widely available on websites and on YouTube. But poke’ shops are now showing up throughout Hawaii, and throughout the US mainland as well, so it’s easy to try one before committing to making them for dinner.
You may not know this, but there’s a reason why banana bread is one of the most popular recipes in all of Hawaii. In fact, it’s considered a local delicacy and taken very seriously. Wherever you go on Maui, especially on the Road to Hana, you should try locally baked banana bread at least once.
Bananas thrive here as a crop, especially in Maui. But during the Great Depression, growers were faced with loads of overripe bananas. To avoid wasting them, Hawaiians began making banana bread. The creation of chemical leaveners like baking powder made yeast irrelevant, allowing cooks to make easy quick bread with brown bananas. The innovation led to a new Maui tradition that keeps everyone coming back for more of this delicious baked good.
Now, banana bread on Maui leads to a competition for the best. Even the BBC agrees that Maui has the best banana bread anywhere in the world. The apple banana is the most popularly grown banana in Maui and has a distinctive taste that works well in banana bread. Many local bakers also use locally harvested organic sugar for their recipes. This results in a delicious confection bread that not only celebrates bananas on Maui but is available nowhere else in the world.
Ready to make your own banana bread at home? Here’s one of Hawaii’s best recipes for banana bread to get you started:
Maui Banana Bread
3 ripe, freckled bananas
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup raw organic sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 chopped/crushed macadamia nuts
1/2 chocolate chips or flaked coconut (or include both)
- Mash the bananas in a large bowl. Add the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and chocolate chips/coconut.
- In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients; add to the mix; stir in the nuts.
- Pour the batter into a loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes.
You can find more of Hawaii’s best recipes by doing a simple Google search. Honolulu-based blogger Kathy of Onolicious Hawai’i offers a complete list of recipes and information on food that’s made and enjoyed throughout the Islands. Aloha!
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