Mar 9, 2013

Hawaiian "AKULE"

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The akule (from the mackerel family) is an oceanic fish that is abundant in Hawaii's shallow coastal waters, and around the globe in tropical regions where they travel in large schools. This small fish only grows to about 15 inches (38 cm) long. Other common names for akule include bango, chicharro, charrito ojon, purse-eye scad, coulirou, and goggle-eyed scad.

The young akule swim close to shore into protected bays and harbors providing great sport to shore anglers fishing with light spinning tackle. Adult fish are found offshore where they are netted or hand-lined in season by commercial fishermen.

They are an oily fish with lots of bones and small scales, and are excellent to eat raw, sliced for sashimi, fried, baked, grilled, steamed, smoked, or dried. 

The akule is culturally important to native Hawaiians who have fished and eaten them for generations. We are fortunate to be able to buy these tasty little fish here on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i, when local fishermen sell them out of the back of their pickup trucks.


Pan Fried Akule
Pan Fried Akule
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4 akule, about 1 1/2 pounds each
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Hawaiian sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup canola oil for frying
1/8 teaspoon Hawaiian sea salt

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup soy sauce (shoyu), or Tamari sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 limes, cut into wedges for garnish

Clean fish, gut, scale, but leave head and tail on. Split the fish in half from head to tail, leaving the head on one side. Next, season the fish on both sides with a mixture of dried dill, garlic powder, salt and pepper, then dust the fish with a combination of flour and cornmeal that has been seasoned with salt. Heat a large skillet on medium high, and pour in about a quarter inch of canola oil, and a pinch of sea salt. Just as the oil starts to ripple, but not smoke, lay the fish skin side down in the hot oil and fry on both sides. This should take only a few minutes, or until the fish is golden brown. While the fish is frying, make a hot butter sauce with melted butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, fresh grated ginger, and some chopped green onions. Serve immediately with steamed white rice and lime wedges. Makes 4 servings.

Steamed Black Bean Akule
1, 2 pound fresh akule
fresh ginger
black bean sauce
green onions
peanut oil
soy sauce (shoyu)

Clean fish, gut, scale, but leave head and tail on. Cut slits in sides of fish and fill with plenty of fresh ginger and black bean sauce. Steam fish in a wok. When done steaming (15 minutes), top with plenty of julienned ginger, cilantro, julienned green onion. Pour super hot peanut oil on top of fish and toppings, it will sizzle. Then pour about 3/4 cup of shoyu/water (2:1 ratio) over fish. Serve immediately with steamed white rice. Makes 2 servings.

Foil Baked Akule
4, 1 1/2 pound akule, cleaned, gutted, remove head, put 3 slits into each side
seasonings (see below)
julienned vegetables, like carrots, bell pepper, whatever you like

Pre-heat the oven to 450˚F. Place each cleaned akule into the center of a piece of foil large enough to wrap around each fish. Season the fish. Typical seasonings include sesame oil, Tamari sauce, chopped green onions, minced ginger, minced garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper. Place vegetables and herbs on top of each seasoned fish and sprinkle with salt. Fold the edges of the foil over the fish. Pinch and seal the foil to enclose the fish and vegetables into a foil packet. Place the foil packets at the center of the oven on a baking sheet, and bake them for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the fish flesh is opaque and moist. Serve with rice and a tropical salad. Makes 4 servings.

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