Apr 27, 2014

KECAP MANIS... Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce

Island-Style... Roasted Turkey Tails
with Kecap Manis Sauce (recipe below)

Click on photo to view larger
Kecap manis (pronounced ketchup MAH-nees) is a dark brown Indonesian soy sauce typically sweetened with palm sugar and seasoned with ingredients such as garlic and star anise. It has a sweeter flavor as compared to normal soy sauce, and is much thicker. This sauce is perfect for the Hawaii barbecue. Its sweet and savory caramelize sugar flavor makes the perfect grilling glaze or marinade for chicken, pork, beef, octopus, even turkey tails (see recipe below).

There are many Asian sauces that are staples in my kitchen; soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, mirin (Japanese sweet cooking rice wine), Sriracha hot chili sauce, Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce, and keycap manis, are my favorite sauces. 

Many meals in Indonesia are incomplete without the addition of kecap manis. They also use it in a spicy-sweet dipping sauce, mixed with chilies, sliced shallot and drizzled with a bit of lime or calamansi juice. There are many brands of keycap manis out there, the problem is finding it here on Moloka'i, however it can be purchased online for a price. I prefer the "Bango" brand which can be found in Asian markets and is the Indonesian favorite, or you can easily make something similar all by yourself, it's very simple (recipe below).

Kecap Manis Sauce 
(homemade)
Ingredients:
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 piece star anise
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1-2 teaspoons of molasses for a richer flavor

Procedure:
Put the sugar in a small saucepan and place it over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar begins to clump together and then melt. Continue stirring until the sugar is completely melted, but do not allow to burn. Remove from heat–the sugar will continue to cook for a while–and allow it to cool slightly. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. CAUTION! The sugar is still hot, and the liquid may splatter.

Return the saucepan to medium heat, bring it to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar and reduce the liquid to a syrupy consistency. Strain and let it cool. Store in the refrigerator. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Island-Style... Roasted Turkey Tails
Roasted turkey tails are little nubs of golden goodness. They are popular in many places around the world. Most people like them smoked, boiled, roasted or barbecued. I've even heard of turkey tail sashimi (recipe). Here in Hawaii, turkey tails are common, thank goodness. They are cheap, $2.09 a pound at Friendly Market here on Moloka'i, which is twice as much as they pay on the Mainland. Ask any Samoan living in Hawaii about turkey tails and their eyes will cross as they begin to drool... they are an island delicacy!!! Here's one way we prepare them in Hawaii, island-style:

Ingredients:
4 fresh turkey tails
3 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup kecap manis (recipe above), hoisin garlic sauce, or teriyaki sauce

Procedure:
Clean turkey tails in water. Place turkey tails in a pot and cover with chicken stock. Bring stock to a simmer for 3 hours with the cover on. Remove the tails from the pot, and save the stock for another use. Cool the tails then coat the with sauce. Let them marinate in the refrigerator, covered, anywhere from 1 hour to overnight. Remove any quills on the tails if there are any, then place the tails on an aluminum foil covered roasting pan for easy cleanup, and roast in a 370˚F oven for about 30 minutes. You might want to turn then halfway through cooking and baste them with a little more sauce. To eat the tails, you need to remove the tail bone that runs down the middle of the tail with a knife. Serve with rice garnished with black sesame seeds. Makes 2 servings.

Note: Turkey tails are also delicious barbecued, after cooking them in the stock, coat with more sauce and grill until slightly charred and smoky. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve. Another way to prepare them is the filipino way, adobo-style (recipe here), or here is a Hawaii recipe for "Turkey Tail Laulau".  I've even heard of marinating turkey tails in Jack Daniels whiskey infused with fresh rosemary and cayenne pepper, but I could never bring myself to waisting the whiskey. Cheers!

Glazed Salmon
Ingredients:
2 salmon fillets, big enough for 2 people
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 slices fresh ginger
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
1/4 cup kecap manis

Procedure:
Remove any pin bones from the salmon (press against the salmon fillet and if you feel a bone, use fingers or tweezers to remove the bones). Heat a frypan on medium heat. Add the oil and the ginger and garlic to the pan and fry for about a minute until it starts to soften and become fragrant. Add the salmon fillets, skin side down and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Turn salmon over and add the kecap manis and cook with the lid on for about 3-5 minutes (depending on whether you like your salmon cooked all the way through). During this time, occasionally baste the sides and non skin side with the sauce until nicely lacquered. Serve over jasmine rice sprinkled with sliced scallions, and sugar snap peas sautéed in butter and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Makes 2 servings.

Indonesian Chicken Skewers 
with Peanut Sauce 
(Chicken Sate)
Chicken ingredients:
1 pound chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground white pepper
1 tablespoon sunflower seed oil
24 bamboo skewers

Basting Sauce:
1/2 cup kecap manis
1 teaspoon of fish sauce
1 clove of thinly sliced shallot
1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice

Peanut sauce ingredients:
1 cup water
5 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons kecap manis (sweet soy sauce, recipe above)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lime juice

wedges of fresh lime for garnish

Procedure:
Soak bamboo skewers in water for several hours to prevent them from burning during cooking.

Combine chicken thighs, 3/4 teaspoon salt, white pepper, and canola oil in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Bring peanut sauce ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan; stir to combine. Remove from heat and add lime juice. Heat a charcoal grill. Thread marinated chicken onto soaked skewers. Mix together the ingredients for the basting sauce and brush the sauce over the chicken skewers. Arrange chicken skewers in batches on grill and cook until chicken is no longer pink in the center, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Continue basting the chicken until it is beautifully caramelized. Serve with peanut sauce, and garnish with lime wedges. Makes 4 servings. This dish is normally served with a simple cucumber/carrot pickle in Indonesia called Acar Timun. See recipe below.

Acar Timun
Acar Timun is the name of a simple Indonesian cucumber/carrot pickle that is usually served with barbecued chicken sate.

Ingredients:
2 Japanese cucumbers
1 teaspoon salt for cucumbers
2 carrots
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 thin slices ginger, julienned
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

Procedure:
Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise, leaving skin on and remove soft core. Cut into 1/4 inch thick sticks about 2 inches long. Mix 1 teaspoon salt into cucumbers, set aside for 15 minutes, then gently squeeze the cucumbers to extract as much juice as possible. Peel then cut carrots the same size and set aside. Heat oil in a deep pan or wok and saute ginger and mustard seeds until mustard seeds pop. Stir in turmeric and chili powder, then add in cucumbers, carrots, sugar and salt and saute for 2 minutes more. Take care not to overcook. Turn off heat, add vinegar and mix well. Chill pickles in the refrigerator overnight until ready to serve. Makes 4 servings.

Apr 23, 2014

The Golden Lime

The Golden Lime
These Golden Limes came from the Moloka'i Saturday farmers market
Click on photo to view larger
The Golden Lime is a Philippine lime that has several other aliases, Calamondin, Calamansi, Acid Orange, Chinese Orange, or Panama Orange. Its cultivation has spread throughout Southeast Asia, India, the West Indies, Central and North America, and even here in Hawaii. However the fruit is indigenous and widely cultivated in the Philippines, where it is available year-round. This small citrus is actually a cross between mandarin oranges and kumquats. The center pulp and juice is the orange color of a tangerine with a very thin peel. We can buy these limes at our farmers market here on Moloka'i. I have seen them in a variety of sizes, from the size of a marble to the size of a ping pong ball. Also you can buy them with green skin or orange skin. The orange skinned ones are riper and a little sweeter. I prefer the larger ones because they give me the most juice, and are easier to zest.

The Golden Lime is used in recipes much the same way as lemons, Tahitian limes, and oranges are, but it does have a much dryer, almost bitter after taste, that's why I use its juice in my vodka tonics, they work well together. You can even cut the Golden Lime into slices, wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them for 4 hours and up to 8 hours. Then use them as ice cubes in your drinks, like the Moloka'i Golden Whiskey Sour (recipe below).

Golden Lime Recipes:
Golden Lime Ceviche
(Kinilaw)
If you have been to Mexico, then you know about ceviche. Actually this dish is believed to have originated in Peru. Raw seafood cooked by the acid in lime juice. The Filipino style of ceviche is called "Kinilaw", and uses Golden Limes with tuna. You can use almost any type of raw fish, such as sea bass, as long as it's really fresh. The exception are certain types of fishes in the mackerel family, such as mackerel, or sardines. Other oily fishes like bluefish or jack don't make the best ceviche either, nor do freshwater fish like trout or catfish. Personally I like a combination of raw shrimp and squid or octopus. Normally ceviche is made with Mexican key limes, but the Peruvians used bitter orange or lime juice similar to the Golden Lime, which adds even more acid and a nice golden color. Pucker-up, this tart, bright, and refreshing appetizer makes a wonderful addition to any tropical meal.

Ingredients:
1/2 pound of fresh shrimp, peeled and chopped into small bite-sized pieces
1/2 pound of fresh squid or octopus, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
10 to 15 Golden Limes
2 roma tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
5 green onions, minced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, minced
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeño peppers, or to taste, seeds and ribs removed

Procedure:
Place the chopped shrimp and squid in a medium sized bowl. Pour Golden Lime juice over the raw fish so that the fish is fully immersed in the lime juice. Chill the mixture anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, no longer! Then mix in the rest of the ingredients and immediately serve in chilled martini glasses garnished with slices of lime. Makes 6 servings.

Note: See two other recipes for ceviche on this site. Chick here.

Ahi Tuna Sushi with Golden Lime
Ingredients for sushi rice:
2 cups sushi white
2 1/4 cups water

Ingredients for seasoning sushi rice:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for dipping sauce:
1 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup Tamari sauce*, or soy sauce
1/3 cup Golden Lime juice (about 10 limes)
1 teaspoons sesame oil

Ingredients for sushi:
1 pound block of sushi grade ahi tuna, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
6 Golden Limes, pulp removed and separated. Discard seeds and peel
wasabi paste

Procedure:
For sushi rice: Place rice in a strainer and rinse under cold water for a few minutes, or until the water runs clear. Let the rice drain and dry about 1 half hour. Place dried rice and water in a heavy bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid. Bring rice to boil, turn down heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Turn rice off and let it sit 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine rice vinegar, sugar and salt. After the ten minutes, spread rice on a baking tray, pour over seasoning vinegar and fluff rice with a fork to make sure all the pieces are covered.

For the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the shallot, ginger, a few grinds of pepper, Tamari sauce, Golden Lime juice and sesame oil. Set aside. When ready to serve, whisk the dipping sauce thoroughly to recombine the ingredients.

Once rice has cooled, press together a small handful of rice and form into oblong balls, top with a smear of wasabi paste and a slice of tuna and a teaspoon of the pulp of the Golden Lime. Repeat to make 8 servings. Serve with dipping sauce. Makes 8 servings.

Note: Tamari sauce is normally used in dipping sauce recipes for sushi. It is stronger than soy sauce and is available in small bottles in the Asian section of your grocery store.

Sour Salmon Soup
This recipe is adapted from the Filipino recipe "paksiw na usda", however, instead of vinegar, the juice of Golden Limes are used to make the broth sour while poaching the fish. I used salmon in this recipe, but milkfish is the national fish of the Philippines, and is commonly found here in Hawaii.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup freshly squeezed Golden Lime juice
1 cup water
3 tablespoons fish sauce (found in the Asian section of your grocery store)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, sliced
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound of salmon fillets cut into bit-sized, 1 1/2 inch, chunks
3/4 cup Japanese eggplant, sliced into bite-sized pieces
2 bay leaves
1/2 pound string beans, or Sitaw (long beans) cut into 2 inch pieces
1 large tomato, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced

Procedure:
In a pot mix together the fresh Golden Lime juice, water, fish sauce, garlic, ginger and black pepper. Bring to a boil. While boiling, add the fish, eggplant, bay leaves, beans, tomato, and onion. Cover pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with rice. Makes 2 servings.

Golden Lime Chicken Sauté
Ingredients:
2 boneless skinless chicken breast, butterflied and then cut in half
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine or chicken stock
1/4 cup Golden Lime juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons capers for garnish
8 Golden Lime wedges for garnish

Procedure:
Place each chicken breast half in plastic wrap and flatten with the bottom of a pan to 1/2 inch thickness. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, brown chicken in butter and olive oil over medium-high heat, 3 minutes on each side. Add the remaining ingredients, except the capers and lime wedges. Cook, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Just before the chicken is cooked, place 1 tablespoon of capers on top of each piece of chicken with a little caper juice. Serve each serving of chicken with the sauce from the pan, garnished with 2 lime wedges. Serve with brown rice and buttered snow peas. Makes 4 servings.

Golden Lime Salad
Ingredients:
1/4 cup Golden Lime juice
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 of a red onion, thinly sliced
8 ripe roma tomatoes chopped

Procedure:
In a blender or food processor, blend the lime juice, cilantro, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Taste the dressing for seasoning. Pour dressing into a bowl and add onions and tomatoes. Give the mixture a gentle toss, then let stand for about 5 minutes. Serve with a rare steak, barbecued chicken, or fried fish. Makes 4 servings.

Golden Lime Bars
These bars are like lemon bars, except much more intense because of the acid in the Golden Limes.

Ingredients for the crust:
3/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar

Ingredients for the filling:
3 whole eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon sifted baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sifted all purpose flour
1/3 cup Golden Lime juice mixed with 1 teaspoon grated rind of the Golden Lime

Ingredients for the topping:
3 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8 by 12 inches (2-inches high) rectangular baking pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.

Combine ingredients for the base in a mixing bowl. Press the mixture against the bottom of the prepared baking pan, covering it evenly and completely. Bake for 15 minutes to dry up a bit.

In another mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs until frothy. Then add remaining ingredients. Continue to beat until somewhat thick. Pour mixture over the baked crust. Continue to bake for 35 to 40 minutes more or until edges are light golden brown.

Allow to cool completely. Dust the top with 3 tablespoons powdered sugar and slice into bars. Makes 32 Golden Lime Bars.

Golden Lime Cookies
Ingredients:
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, plus 2 cups more for rolling
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup fresh golden lime juice (regular lime juice is ok)
1 tablespoon lime zest using a microplane

Procedure:
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the egg yolk, lime juice, and zest until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients, mixing on low speed just until combined. The dough will be very crumbly. Using your hands, knead the dough gently until it comes together and forms a ball. Roll the dough into 1" sized balls and place 1" apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350˚F for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.

Place the baking sheet on a wire rack. While the cookies are still warm, roll them in the reserved 2 cups of powdered sugar, and place back on the baking sheet to cool completely. Sift the remaining powdered sugar over the tops of the cookies. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Makes 3 to 4 dozen cookies.

Golden Lime Pie
This pie is similar to a key lime pie but with Golden Limes. Instead of being pale green, it's golden, with a wonderful tart flavor.

Ingredients for the graham cracker crust:
1 1/4 cup crushed graham crackers
7 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground ginger

Ingredients for the filling:
4 egg yolks
1 3/4 cup / 396 g / 14 oz condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh calamansi juice
2 tablespoons grated calamansi zest* (optional)

Ingredients or the toppings:
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 325ºF

Make your filling. Whisk lime zest* and egg yolks in a bowl until frothy. Whisk in condensed milk and lime juice. Set aside.

Make your crust. Stir graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar. While stirring, gradually drizzle in melted butter. Mix until all dry ingredients are moistened. Transfer the crumbs to a 9-inch pie plate. Press the crumbs in the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until crust is fragrant. Cool to room temperature.

Put your pie together. Pour the filling into the crust once crust has cooled. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until center is set (but still slightly jiggly in the middle in the center). Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until well-chilled (3 hours or more).

Whip the cream (electric mixer, medium speed). Add sugar gradually as you whip. Continue until stiff peaks form. Decorate the pie around the edges. Makes 6 servings.

*Note: Because the skin of a Golden Lime is much thinner than other kinds of citrus, it doesn't grate well. Instead simply remove the peeling with a knife and cut it into tiny pieces.

Golden Lime Curd
Golden Lime Curd is sweet yet packed with fresh tart lime flavor. It's perfect for pie fillings, or as a topping for cheesecake, pound cake, scones, or even Greek yogurt. You can mix it with sweeten whipped cream and serve it with fresh strawberries. One of my favorites is to make a gingerbread cake and serve a slice with Golden Lime Curd on top.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup fresh Golden Lime juice (regular limes will also work)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 1/2 tablespoons lime zest made with a microplane zester

Procedure:
Whisk together the granulated sugar, eggs, and lime juice in a stainless steel or heat proof bowl. Place over the top of a pan of simmering water and cook, whisking constantly so the egg doesn't curdle, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of sour cream, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour the curd through a fine mesh strainer placed over a medium bowl, using a spoon to help it through. Add the butter, and stir until completely melted. Stir in the lemon zest. Let the curd stand at room temperature. The curd will thicken as it cools.

Once the curd has cooled, place plastic wrap over the surface of the curd to keep a skin from forming, and store in the refrigerator. Serve chilled. The curd will keep in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes about 3 cups.

Golden Lime Marmalade
This is probably the best marmalade I have ever had, with a beautiful orange color, and wonderful flavor. Make sure the fruit is ripe before you use them, in other words the outside is golden orange in color, not green. There is a level of pectin (indicated by the sourness of the fruits) that is what makes this recipe jell. Golden Lime peels are quite strong, not sweet at all.

Ingredients:
4 cups thinly sliced, seeded Golden Limes (about one and a half quarts whole fruit)
3 cups water (or 3/4 cups water for each cup of sliced fruit)
4 cups sugar (or one cup sugar for each cup of cooked fruit)

Procedure:
Thinly slice the Golden Limes, or pulse in a food processor. Measure fruit and mix with 3/4 cup of water for each cup of sliced limes in large kettle. Bring to a boil and boil 15 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Skim off the seeds that float to the top of the liquid. Cool and refrigerate overnight. The next day, measure cooked fruit, adding a cup of sugar for each cup of cooked fruit.

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, and continue boiling vigorously until the mixture reaches 220˚F on a candy thermometer. Remove kettle from heat. Ladle marmalade into clean, sterilized, hot jars and seal. Store in refrigerator. Makes about six jars.

Moloka'i Golden Whiskey Sour
Hard liquor seems to have gone out of favor in some circles, but not in mine. Most things in moderation I always say. This is a delicious cocktail with a marvelous history. The Golden Lime adds a spark to this cocktail... give it a try, everyone needs a little spark in life.

Ingredients:
6 ounces of whiskey (I use Maker's Mark bourbon)
juice of 2-3 Golden Limes
1 tablespoon honey
frozen Golden Lime slices
2 maraschino cherries

Procedure:
For the ice cubes, cut a couple of Golden lime into thick slices, removing seeds, and freeze for 4 hours, wrapped in plastic wrap. Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker (minus the frozen Golden Lime slices) and stir to dissolve the honey. Add the frozen Golden Lime slices, shake and pour into martini glasses with the frozen limes and garnished with a cherry. Makes 2 servings.

Golden Lime Mojito
Ingredients for sugar syrup:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water

Ingredients for mojito:
40 mint leaves
8 Golden Limes, cut in half
8 jiggers of white rum
ice
soda water

For sugar syrup: Place sugar and water in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and cool. Mixture may be made a ahead and kept in the fridge.

For the mojito: Place 10 mint leaves and the juice from 2 Golden Limes (strained to remove seeds) in each of 4 glasses. Use a muddler to crush the mint. In each glass stir in 2 tablespoons sugar syrup, 1 jigger rum and top with ice and soda water. Makes 4 servings.

Apr 17, 2014

OYSTER SAUCE

Oyster sauce is a popular ingredient in Vietnamese, Thai, and Cantonese cuisine. Almost as popular as ketchup is here in the U.S. Traditionally, oyster sauce was made by slowly simmering oysters in water until the juices caramelize into a thick, brown, intensely flavorful sauce, but it didn't have a fishy flavor. 

Lee Kum Kee brand
Premium Oyster Flavored Sauce
18 ounce bottle for $6.29
at Friendly Market on Moloka'i
Oyster sauces today are usually made with a base of sugar and salt and thickened with corn starch. Oyster extracts or essences are then used to give flavor to the base sauce. Other ingredients, such as soy sauce and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), may also be added to deepen the flavor and add color. MSG has been used for more than 100 years to season food. During this period, many studies have been conducted on the safety of MSG. At this point, international and national bodies for the safety of food additives consider MSG safe for human consumption as a flavor enhancer. If you are worried about MSG in oyster sauce, there are brands like Choy Sun Oyster Flavored Sauce and Panda Brand Green Label Oyster Flavored Sauce, made by Lee Kum Kee, that do not contain added MSG, however trace amounts of MSG are naturally found in the ingredients of oyster flavored sauces.

The quality of the oyster sauce will greatly affect the flavor. Lower quality and less expensive oyster sauce may use artificial oyster flavoring, while the best oyster sauce brands use only real oyster reductions for flavoring. There is a brand of oyster sauce that is a product of Thailand called "Dragonfly Super Premium" that is said to be the best because it is less salty, and has a more pronounced oyster flavor. It is made without preservatives or MSG. Dragonfly Super Premium is a best seller on Amazon.com, but they are sometimes sold out. Another Thai oyster sauce that has high marks is the Maekrua brand. It can also be purchased on Amazon along with many other brands. 
Remember, it's all a matter of personal preference.

Oyster sauce is a very important cooking ingredient here in Hawaii, probably because of the large Asian population that have settled here. I always have a bottle handy in my refrigerator. You can use oyster sauce for lots of things. For example this thick brown sauce can be used instead of or with soy sauce. It's great as a meat marinade, in stir-fries, on lo mein or chow mein, and to season rice in fried rice. Everyone loves chicken, but have you ever marinated chicken breast or legs with oyster sauce and then just grill or bake them in the oven. You can add garlic, honey, sake, red pepper flakes, or what ever you like to oyster sauce, I always use the recipe below "Thai BBQ Sauce" for my grilled pork ribs or chicken. It's also great on rice and oven roasted potatoes wedges.

There is a vegetarian version of oyster sauce that is sometimes called mushroom sauce, and is usually available in the same section of your grocery store. It is made using mushrooms to provide the deep, earthy flavor
. Mushrooms, especially the oyster mushroom, have a high level of umami flavor, similar to that of real oysters.

With the increasing popularity of Asian cuisine in the United States, oyster sauce can be found in most major grocery stores, in the international aisle, with the other Asian sauces and condiments. After opening, oyster sauce should be kept refrigerated in an airtight container. When stored properly, oyster sauce should stay good for three to six months.


Oyster Sauce Recipes:

Poached Eggs with Oyster Sauce
Ingredients:
4 eggs
4 slices wheat bread
20 fresh spinach leaves, stems removed
3 to 4 teaspoons oyster sauce at room temperature
4 dashes of cayenne pepper or paprika
2 spring onions, thinly sliced

Procedure:
Half fill a fry pan with water and place over medium heat until just simmering. Crack one egg at a time onto a plate and slide off the plate into the water. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until done to your liking. Carefully remove the eggs with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile toast the bread until golden and top each slice with five spinach leaves and one poached egg, and then drizzle the eggs with the oyster sauce and sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper and spring onions. Makes 4 servings.

Sugar Snap Pea Salad
Ingredients for dressing:
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for salad:
1 pound sugar snap pea, trimmed
1/2 cup carrot (julienne cut)
1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts (drained and sliced)
1/2 cup red bell pepper (julienne cut)
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

Procedure:
To prepare dressing, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger; sauté 2 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook 1 minute. Stir in oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and salt, bring to a simmer. Remove from heat; cool.

To prepare salad, cook peas in boiling water 30 seconds. Drain and rinse with cold water. Combine peas and remaining ingredients except sesame seeds. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Makes 4-6 servings.

Crispy Shrimp Egg Rolls
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 ounces shrimp, cooked and minced
4 scallions, chopped fine
2 cups Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
2 carrots, shredded
8 water chestnuts, cut into small, thin strips
2 stalks celery, minced
1 cup bean sprouts
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 -2 tablespoon soy sauce, to taste
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
3/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)
6 egg roll wraps
1 egg, beaten
canola oil, for deep frying

Procedure:
First heat your 2 tablespoons of oil in either a wok or is a deeper skillet, and stir fry your shrimp, cabbage, carrots, water chestnuts, and celery for 3-4 minutes. Then put into the pan the bean sprouts, scallions, salt, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar, and stir thoroughly.

Place 3-4 tablespoons of the shrimp mixture into a egg roll wrapper, lengthwise in a thin line down the longer side of the wrapper nearest to you. Fold the two shorter sides of the wrapper in completely over the mixture. Then start rolling it tightly to make a cylinder. Brush the closing edge of the wrapper with beaten egg. Make sure that when you come to the end of the last edge, that it is sealed tightly. Cover rolls with a damp towel while you finish rolling all of them.

Heat oil in your deep pan to 375˚F. I usually use about 1 inch of oil in my pan. Fry egg rolls, a few at a time, until skins are crisp and golden brown, turning them as they brown. Drain egg rolls on paper towels to get rid of excess oil and serve them at once with a dipping sauce. Makes 6 egg rolls.

Thai Beef with Broccoli in Oyster Sauce
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound boneless beef roast, thinly sliced crosswise into 2-inch strips
1/4 pound broccoli floret, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
1/2 cup water

Procedure:
Heat oil in deep, heavy skillet or wok over medium-high heat; add garlic and cook until a bit of garlic sizzles at once. Toss well. Add beef and toss until it changes color. Add broccoli florets and toss for about 1 min., until they turn shiny and bright green. Add oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, pepper, and water and cook 3-4 min., tossing often, until broccoli is tender and beef is cooked. Transfer to small serving platter and serve hot or warm. Makes 4 servings.

Steak with Oyster Sauce
Ingredients:
4 (12 ounce) New York strip steaks
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Procedure:
Press the black pepper into the top of each steak. Melt 1/2 tablespoon of the butter in a large nonstick skillet. Cook the steaks over high heat on each side until lightly caramelized. Remove the steaks and keep warm.

Add the oyster sauce to the pan. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining butter, cut into small pieces. The sauce will get creamy. Slice the steaks thickly on the bias, or leave whole. Pour the sauce over the top. Makes 4 servings.

Sweet and Savory Roast Pork Tenderloin
Ingredients:
2 pork tenderloin
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Ingredients for sauce:
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth (optional)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (or enough as needed) (optional)

Procedure:
Pat the pork dry and arrange in a shallow baking dish. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a bowl, and pour over pork. Place in refrigerator and marinate at least 8 hours, but 24 is better. Turn at least twice during this time.

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Remove pork, placing in a clean shallow baking dish sprayed with non-stick oil. Reserve marinade if you wish to make a sauce with it. Bake about 35 minutes, or until meat thermometer registers 155˚F. Remove from oven, let rest 5 minutes and slice thinly.

For sauce: Strain reserved marinade into a sauce pan. Add chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Cook down to about half original quantity. Add cornstarch as needed to thicken. Makes 6 servings.

Oyster Sauce Baked Chicken
Ingredients:
8 chicken thighs
onion powder
1(10 ounce) bottle oyster sauce
3 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup white sugar (or more to taste)
1/4 cup water

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 400°F (oven rack set to lowest position). Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season both sides of each piece of chicken with a small amount of onion powder, then pace the chicken into the baking dish facing skin side up. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile in a bowl combine the oyster sauce with garlic, 1/2 cup sugar and water (taste the sauce and if it is not sweet enough for your taste then add in more sugar until you have achieved your desired sweetness taste). After the chicken has cooked for 25 minutes remove from oven and spoon off any fat that has accumulated in the bottom of the dish. Pour the oyster sauce over the chicken and turn the chicken to coat with the sauce (the chicken should remain skin-side facing up). Return the chicken to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes. Serve with rice and snow peas. Makes 4 servings.

Lemongrass Chicken with Turmeric Rice
Ingredients for lemongrass chicken:
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
5 tablespoons fish sauce, divided
2 tablespoons palm sugar, divided
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 or 3 fresh lemongrass stalks
1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 3-pound chicken, quartered
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Ingredients for turmeric rice:
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 1/2 cups jasmine rice, well rinsed
2 1/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
3 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish

Procedure:
Bruise the lemongrass by hitting it with the back edge of a chef's knife several times (this releases flavor). Clean the lemongrass stalks by removing the outer layers, then remove about 1/2" from the tip, and cut up 4" from there. Discard the rest. If the lemongrass is thin you can use three of these 4" pieces, otherwise use two pieces. Slice the lemongrass into thin slices (circles). Whisk 1/4 cup oil, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon palm sugar, and next 6 ingredients in large bowl. Add chicken; turn to coat. Marinate at room temperature 1 hour.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch overproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, to skillet (reserve marinade in bowl). Cook 4 minutes. Turn chicken, add reserved marinade to skillet, and transfer to oven. Roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175˚F, about 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate.

Add 1/2 cup water, lime juice, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, and 1 tablespoon palm sugar to skillet. Bring to boil. Remove from heat, spoon fat from surface, and strain pan juices into small pitcher. Serve chicken with pan juices.

For the rice: heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic; saute until just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add rice, broth, salt, and turmeric. Bring rice to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 18 minutes. Serve rice garnished with sliced green onions. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Braised Chicken Gizzards 
in Oyster Sauce
Ingredients:
1 pound chicken gizzard
1 cup chicken stock
2 scallions, 1 whole, 1 minced
1 slice ginger plus 1/2 tsp. ginger, minced
2 teaspoons oil
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Procedure:
Trim gizzards and cut in half. In a saucepan, combine gizzards with stock, whole scallion, and ginger slice. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer until gizzards are tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat. In a wok, heat oil until just smoking. Add minced scallion and minced ginger. Stir fry over high heat until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add oyster sauce, sugar, gizzards, and any stock remaining in pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until gizzards have absorbed flavor and sauce has reduced slightly, about 15 minutes. Drizzle with sesame oil and serve with rice and bok chou. Makes 4-6 servings

Thai Chicken Fried Rice
Ingredients:
4 cups cooked cold jasmine rice (cold rice is essential so the grains will not stick together when stir frying)
3 tablespoons canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups boneless skinless chicken thighs sliced thin
2 eggs
4 green onions, sliced thin
2 teaspoons palm sugar (table sugar is fine if you can't find palm sugar)
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (no substitutes)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 cucumber, sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges

Procedure:
Heat peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over medium high heat. While pan is warming, toss the cold rice with your hands, making sure to separate the grains from any clumps. Add the garlic to the heated wok, and toss until fragrant and slightly golden. Add chicken and stir fry for about 1 minute. Push the meat and garlic up the sides making a well in the middle and add eggs. Scramble eggs for 1 minute in middle of pan then, add green onions and peas and incorporate all ingredients together, stir frying for another minute. Add rice, turning over rice with pan ingredients several times to coat and stir frying for 2-3 minutes. You want the rice to begin to have a toasted smell, making sure that all the ingredients are constantly being moved around the pan for even cooking. If your pan seems to have cooled down to the point where the ingredients are no longer sizzling, you may need to turn the heat up slightly. Sprinkle in the sugar and add the fish sauce and oyster sauce. Stir fry all ingredients together for one minute more or until sauces are absorbed and mixture is completely combined. Transfer to serving platter. Garnish plate edge with sliced cucumber, lime wedges, and additional whole green onions if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Spam Fried Rice
Ingredients for fried rice:
4 1/2 cups dry rice, cooked and cooled (preferably day old)
6 -7 eggs, with a splash water, scrambled
1 (11 ounce) can spam lite, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
12 ounces frozen peas and carrots, thawed

Ingredients for sauce:
1 cup aloha shoyu soy sauce
4 -5 tablespoons sugar
4 -5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Procedure:
Scramble eggs in about 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok on medium high heat. When done, set aside in a bowl. Place another tablespoon of oil in wok and sauté onions and Spam on medium high heat. When golden & starting to crisp on the outsides add the thawed peas and carrots.

Combine ingredients for the sauce and stir until sugar is dissolved, tasting along the way to be sure it is sweet enough for you. Add to the vegetables and boil on high until the sauce reduces to a glaze. Slowly add the cooled rice and eggs to the vegetable mixture, being sure to break up any clumps of rice and so the coloring is even. Warm the rice through and serve. Makes 8 servings.

Chicken Chow Mein
Ingredients:
12 ounces chinese noodles (I use the fresh ones found in the produce department)
8 ounces boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 ounces snow peas, trimmed
2 ounces ham, finely sliced
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
4 green onions, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Procedure:
You'llwant to get your prep work done first, because this will cook up very quickly. Cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse under cold water, and set aside. After you slice the chicken, place it in a bowl with 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, the rice vinegar and sesame oil. Toss to coat.

Heat half the olive oil in a wok or large frying pan over high heat. When the oil is nice and hot, add the chicken mixture. Stir fry for 2 minutes, then transfer the chicken to a plate and keep warm. Wipe the pan out and heat the remaining olive oil. Stir in the garlic, snow peas, and ham. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the drained noodles to the pan, and continue to stir fry till the noodles are heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining soy, the oyster sauce, and season with salt and pepper to taste. You may find you don't need salt. Add the chicken and any juices back to the pan, then add the green onions. Give a final stir and serve immediately. Makes 3-4 servings.

Baby Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons chicken stock
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch, mixed with
1 tablespoon chicken stock
1 bunch baby bok choy, bottoms trimmed but stalks left whole with some still 'stuck together, washed (about 3/4 lb.)

Procedure:
In a small saucepan, combine oyster sauce, stock, soy sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sauce bubbles and thickens; remove from heat. Blanch bok choy in a saucepan of boiling water for 1 1/2 minutes; remove from pan with a slotted spoon and place on a serving plate. Pour oyster sauce over it and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Long Beans with Oyster Sauce
Ingredients:
3/4 pound long beans rinsed, ends removed and cut into 3 inch pieces
1 knob, peeled and grated fresh ginger
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon chili paste, or to taste
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil

Procedure:
Heat the oil in a wok or fry pan over medium-high heat. Add the grated ginger, garlic and chili paste and cook for about 2 minutes. Don't let the garlic burn. Add the cut long beans to the wok, turn up the heat to high and also add the oyster sauce. Stir-fry for 3-5 minutes until the beans are crisp-tender and slightly charred. deglaze the wok with a bit of water, then serve with rice. Makes 2 servings.

Curly Kale with Oyster Sauce
Ingredients:
tablespoon canola oil
1-2 large garlic clove, sliced
7 ounces curly kale, rinsed with stems removed
3 fluid ounces boiling water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce

Procedure:
Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan. Add the garlic and cook for a few seconds. Now add the kale and toss around the pan to coat in the garlicky oil. Pour over boiling water and cook for 7 minutes more until the kale has just wilted and is cooked through. Stir in the soy and oyster sauces and heat and to serve. Makes 2-3 servings.

Thai BBQ Sauce
Ingredients:
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon fish sauce or 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb-size piece ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1-2 teaspoons chili sauce

Procedure:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring until well blended.

Taste-test your bbq sauce, adding more honey if not sweet enough, or more lime juice if too sweet or too salty for your taste. Also add more chili if desired.

Use the sauce as a marinade for your meats, fish, or seafood, and brush it on while grilling. Great with steak, ribs, burgers, salmon, shrimp, and more!

Note: I like to double this recipe and then drizzle a little more over the entree before serving. This great sauce will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Apr 12, 2014

Treat Yourself to a Vietnamese Spring Roll

Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Photo by Helen Le
Website: danangcuisine.com/author/helen/
I have been making this Southern Vietnam dish for years and it is still one of my favorite appetizers, they are even listed as number 30 on the World's 50 most delicious foods compiled by CNN Go in 2011. If you haven't tried them, then you are in for a treat. They are very easy to make, and worth the effort. 

So what is a Vietnamese Spring Roll (Goi cuốn in Vietnamese)? Goi cuốn is traditionally made with ingredients consisting of pork, prawn, vegetables, and rice vermicelli (thin noodles made from rice, and are sometimes referred to as rice sticks, but they should not be confused with cellophane noodles, which is an Asian type of vermicelli not made from rice). Everything is wrapped up like a burrito in a Vietnamese bánh tráng (commonly known as rice paper). They are served at room temperature (or cooled) and are not deep fried or cooked on the outside, therefore they are low in fat and very good for you, not to mention delicious. 

So now you are asking yourself where can I find these ingredients? Because of its popularity, the Asian ingredients are usually found in the Asian section of your grocery store. We can even find these ingredients on our small island of Moloka'i, here in Hawaii, at Friendly Market.

To see what some of the ingredients look like, or to order them online, visit this site. To watch a Vietnamese chef, Helen Le, make a similar recipe watch this video. The ingredients for this dish are easy to find. There are many, many stuffing variations you can play around with depending on your taste, from tofu, to imitation crab, pork belly, etc. For a Hawaii twist on the spring roll check out a previous story I wrote "Fresh Spam Spring Roll". Here is the basic recipe that I use for Vietnamese spring rolls with two different sauces:

Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls
Ingredients for shrimp spring rolls:
8, 5-inch round rice paper wraps
8 Bibb or leaf lettuce leaves torn or chopped
1 cup cooked rice vermicelli
1/2 cup shredded peeled carrots
1/2 cup julienned, almost ripe, mango
1/4 - 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves (or Italian basil if you can't find Thai)
1/4 - 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
12-18 shrimp
salt and black pepper
lime wedges for garnish (optional)

Ingredients for (nước chấm) dipping sauce:
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 cup water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1-2 Thai chili (or I use a drop or two of "hot chili oil" because Thai chili are not found on Moloka'i, careful it's HOT!)

Ingredients for hoisin peanut sauce:
3/4 cup natural-style creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1 1/2 medium limes)
4 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons chile-garlic paste
1 medium garlic clove, mashed to a paste
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Procedure:
Cook the rice vermicelli according to the package instructions (basically cooked in boiling water for 2 minutes). When done remove the vermicelli and strain. It'll save some time later if you save the bowl of hot water.

Meanwhile grill the shrimp, seasoning with salt and pepper (or poach or broil, whatever). When they cool slightly, cut them in half length-wise.

While they're cooking, julienne the mango with a mandolin if you have one, otherwise cut into strips with a knife. Shred the carrots.

Now place a damp towel on a flat surface. Dip a sheet of rice paper into the bowl of hot water you saved from cooking the vermicelli. Otherwise fill a bowl, or skillet large enough to dip the rice paper with hot water. Keep the rice paper in the water for 3 or 4 seconds, then remove and lay on the damp towel. The rice paper will get pretty soft so be careful.

Spread a lettuce leaf, carrots, mango, Thai basil and cilantro leaves, rice vermicelli, and shrimp on the bottom 1/3 to 1/2 of the rice paper. Fold up the bottom edge over the fillings and then fold in the sides like you're making a burrito. Then roll tightly over. Don't over stuff!

To make the nước chấm dipping sauce, mince the garlic and Thai chilis. In a medium-sized bowl, add the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar or lemon juice, and water, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the garlic and chilis and stir gently to combine.

To make the hoisin peanut sauce, simply mix all of the ingredients together.

Cut each roll into 2 or 3 pieces and serve with lime wedges and your choice of dipping sauce. Makes 8 rolls.

Apr 11, 2014

The HUGE Hawaiian Raspberry

Rubus hawaiensis
Fruit at Puu Kole, Hawaii  
Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr - Plants of Hawaii
- Image licensed under a Creative Commons 
Attribution 3.0 License, permitting sharing 
and adaptation with attribution.
Hawaii has been eating raspberries for a long time. Early Hawaiians grew a variety known as Rubus hawaiensis also called ʻākala, which is the Hawaiian word for pink, referring to the color of the juice of this native raspberry. These plants grow up to 10 feet high, and bloom from April to July. Early Hawaiians used the ʻākala berries from this plant to produce a pink to rose-colored dye for kappa cloth. They also ate the huge tart berries, said to be the size of a small child's fist, and ranged in colors of salmon, pink, red, dark purple, yellow and white. These plants, endemic to Hawaii, are still found on the islands of Kaua'i, Moloka'i, Maui, and Hawai'i, in wet forests at high elevations from 1,970 feet to 10,070 feet. It is reported that this plant is still thriving in the upper Ko'olau Gap in Haleakala and Laupahoehoe Natural Area Reserve where it is a dominant member of the understory vegetation. This native Hawaiian raspberry plant is among the largest fruiting species in the world. The tasty fruits of the Rubus hawaiensis are still used in jams and pies today. To see more photographs of this huge Hawaiian raspberry, visit this site.

There are many introduced varieties of raspberries now growing in Hawaii. One of which is the Mysore raspberry, which grows in the tropics and is being harvested on the Big Island here in Hawaii. It has been in great demand by hotel chefs for decorative toppings on desserts and for producing sauces or glazes. This variety is not the typical red raspberry, but looks more like a blackberry. The fruit turns from red to purple and black when ripe. Fresh raspberries are also imported from the Mainland to Hawaii, and can also be purchased frozen as well. Raspberries are packed with vitamin C, folate, iron, and potassium. They are a very versatile fruit and can be used in a variety of ways. Here are a few recipes for you to try.

Raspberry Recipes:

Coconut Raspberry Energy Bars
Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup toasted unsweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 large egg whites
1 package (6 ounce or 1 1/3 cups) raspberries (fresh or frozen)

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, allowing an overhang on sides of pan.

Stir together whole wheat flour, oats, all-purpose flour, flaked coconut, sugar, nutmeg and salt until blended. Stir in coconut oil and egg whites until moist dough forms. Reserve 3/4 cup of dough. Press remaining dough into pan until evenly spread.

Mash raspberries in a separate bowl and spread over dough in pan. Crumble remaining dough and sprinkle on top of raspberry layer.

Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely before cutting. Makes 12 servings.

Raspberry Summer Fruit Salad
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, divided
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 cups mixed salad greens
1 ripe mango, diced
1 ripe avocado, diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds or macadamia nuts

Procedure:
For the dressing, puree 1/2 cup raspberries, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender until combined.

For the salad, toast the nuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes and set aside to cool. Next, combine greens, mango, avocado and onion in a large bowl. Pour the dressing on top and gently toss to coat. Divide the salad among 4 salad plates. Top each with the remaining raspberries and sprinkle with toasted nuts. Makes 4 servings.

Fish Tacos with Raspberry-Chipotle Mayonnaise
Ingredients:
6 ounces frozen raspberries
1 cup mayonnaise
1 to 2 chipotle chiles, chopped with seeds removed
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 avocado peeled and diced
2 large tomatoes diced
1/2 red onion sliced thin
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 - 4 ounces pieces maui-mahi, or opakapaka, bones removed
salt and pepper
8 corn tortillas, steamed in dampened paper towels in your microwave oven for 2 minutes

Procedure:
Puree raspberries in a blender until smooth. Stir together raspberry puree, mayonnaise, chiles and salt. Gently combine diced avocado, tomatoes, and onion, seasoned with salt and pepper, then and set aside. Mix olive oil with minced garlic. Place fish on a lightly oiled foil lined sheet pan and brush with olive oil/garlic mixture and seasoned with salt and pepper to your taste. Broil on high heat on the middle shelf of your oven until fish is cooked through (about 2 to 3 minutes per side). Break apart the fish with a fork into bite sized chunks. Spread some raspberry-chipotle mayonnaise on the inside of each steamed tortilla. Top with avocado mixture, and fish. Serve warm. Makes 4 servings of 2 tacos each.

Grilled Hoisin Chicken with Raspberry Sauce
Ingredients:
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
3/4 cup hoisin sauce (found in the Asian section of your supermarket)
5 tablespoons rice vinegar, divided
1 clove garlic
1 strip (2-by-1/2-inch) orange zest
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, each cut into 3 crosswise strips
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup long- or medium-grain brown rice
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallion greens, divided

Procedure:
Combine raspberries, hoisin sauce, 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, garlic, orange zest, ginger, pepper and crushed red pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside 1/4 cup for a dipping sauce.

Transfer the remaining marinade to a medium bowl and add chicken; stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Combine water and rice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, until ready to serve.

Preheat grill to medium-high or preheat the broiler to high.

Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the marinade, scrape off excess (discard marinade), and thread onto 4 skewers, distributing equally.

Grill the chicken until browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. If using the broiler, place the chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray and broil 4 inches from the heat source until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

Just before serving, sprinkle the rice with the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1/4 cup scallions; fluff with a fork. Sprinkle the chicken and rice with the remaining scallions. Serve with the reserved dipping sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Raspberry Corn Muffins with Raspberry Cream
Ingredients for corn muffins:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/3 cup thawed, frozen unsweetened apple juice concentrate
1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries

Ingredients for raspberry cream:
2/3 cup reduced-fat whipped cream cheese
2 tablespoons raspberry preserves

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 12 (2 1/2-inch) muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Whisk together egg, sour cream and apple juice concentrate. Add flour mixture into egg mixture. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix. Gently stir in raspberries.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each cup three-fourths full. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan; cool slightly.

Combine cream cheese and preserves in a small serving bowl. Serve with warm muffins. Makes 12 servings.

Mango-Raspberry Pie
Ingredients for the crust:
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (see Note)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3 tablespoons canola oil
4 tablespoons ice water

Ingredients for filling:
6 cups sliced peeled fresh or frozen mango
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
2/3 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon for sprinkling
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 large egg white, lightly beaten, for brushing

Procedure:
To prepare crust: Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and, with your fingers, quickly rub them into the dry ingredients until the pieces are smaller but still visible. Add sour cream and oil; toss with a fork to combine with the dry ingredients. Sprinkle water over the mixture. Toss with a fork until evenly moist. Knead the dough with your hands in the bowl a few times—the mixture will still be a little crumbly. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead a few more times, until the dough just holds together. Divide the dough in half and shape into 5-inch-wide disks. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare filling: Combine mango, raspberries, 2/3 cup sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl; toss well to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer the fruit mixture to a colander set over a medium bowl and let drain for 30 minutes. Pour the collected juice into a small saucepan. Return the fruit to the large bowl. Bring the juice to a boil over high heat and cook, gently swirling the pan, until reduced, syrupy and slightly darkened in color, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the syrup to the fruit along with cornstarch; gently toss until the cornstarch is completely dissolved.

To assemble & bake pie: Position a rack in the center of the oven and place a foil-lined baking sheet on the rack below; preheat to 375°F.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator; let stand for 5 minutes to warm slightly. Roll one portion between sheets of parchment or wax paper into a 12-inch circle. Peel off the top sheet and invert the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Peel off the remaining paper. Trim the crust with kitchen shears or a butter knife so it overhangs the edge of the pan by 1 inch. Scrape the filling into the crust. Roll the remaining portion of dough between sheets of parchment or wax paper into another 12-inch circle. Peel off the top sheet of paper and invert the dough onto the fruit. Trim the top crust so it overhangs evenly. Tuck the top crust under the bottom crust, sealing the two together and making a plump edge. Flute the edge with your fingers. Brush the top and edge with egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Cut 6 steam vents in the top crust.

Bake the pie on the center rack until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 1 1/2 hours. Makes 10 servings.

Note: You can make the crust ahead of time (up to 2 days, if wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated). The dough can be frozen for up to 6 months. Also, whole-wheat pastry flour is lower in protein than regular whole-wheat flour, has less gluten-forming potential, making it a better choice for tender baked goods. You can find it in the natural-foods section of large super markets and natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.

Creamy Frozen Raspberry Pie
with Chocolate Wafer Crust
Ingredients:
32 chocolate wafer cookies, (about 6 1/2 ounces; see Note), plus 1 for garnish
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons skim milk
1 tablespoon butter

Ingredients for filling:
3 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites, at room temperature (see Tip)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.

To prepare crust: Process 32 wafers, confectioners' sugar, oil, milk and butter in a food processor until finely ground. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan, creating an even, dense crust. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour, pressing any puffed parts of the crust back into the pan.

To prepare filling: Meanwhile, puree raspberries, lemon juice and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing with a rubber spatula to extract the juice; discard seeds.

Bring 1 inch of water to a slow simmer in a large saucepan. Combine egg whites, granulated sugar and cream of tartar in a 3-quart stainless-steel bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy. Set the bowl over the simmering water and continue to beat on medium speed, moving the mixer around, until the mixture is glossy and thick, about 3 1/2 minutes. Increase the speed to high, and continue beating over the simmering water until very stiff and glossy, about 3 1/2 minutes more (the eggs will be at a safe temperature, 160°F, at this point). Remove from the heat (be careful of the escaping steam) and continue beating on medium speed until room temperature, 3 to 5 minutes.
Fold the raspberry puree into the meringue until combined. Pour the raspberry filling into the pie crust; crumble the remaining chocolate wafer over the top. Place the pie on a level surface in your freezer and freeze until solid, at least 6 hours. To serve, let the pie stand at room temperature until softened slightly, about 10 minutes, before slicing. Makes 8 servings. 

Note: Look for Newman's Own Organics "Tops & Bottoms" or "Chocolate Alphabet Cookies" for your chocolate wafer cookies.

Raspberry-Tahitian Lime Pie
Ingredients:
1 package (10 ounces) shortbread cookies
2 tablespoons chopped crystalized ginger
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 package (1/4 ounce packet) unflavored gelatin
1/4 cups cold water
1 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (not coconut milk)
1/3 cups plain yogurt
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/4 cups fresh Tahitian lime juice (a variety of lime found in Hawaii)
24 ounces (5 1/3 cups) fresh raspberries
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons honey

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Process cookies and ginger in a food processer until finely ground. Blend in butter. Press into a 9 or 10-inch pie pan. Bake about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Sprinkle gelatin over water in a medium metal bowl. Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Place bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and stir until gelatin is dissolved.

Combine cream of coconut, yogurt, lime zest and juice in a large bowl and stir until smooth. Stir in dissolved gelatin until thoroughly blended. Fold raspberries into lime-coconut filling. Pour into pie crust. Refrigerate 4 hours or until set.

Pulse remaining raspberries in blender or food processor until coarsely chopped. Pour through a strainer set over a bowl. Press hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard seeds
Whip cream with confectioners' sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold in half of raspberry purée.

Stir remaining raspberry purée, and honey together in a small bowl.

Serve wedges of pie drizzled with raspberry sauce and a dollop of raspberry whipped cream. 
Makes one 9 or 10 inch pie.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake 
with Raspberry Sauce
This is a rich decadent chocolate cake with the background flavor of red wine. Chocolate and red wine are wonderful together. The wine gives the cake an intensity and is best served thin. The final cake is only about 1 inch tall, and it bakes quickly. This is an adult cake, not for kids. It won't make you tipsy, but it will taste like there's wine in it. It's a beautiful cake to finish off a special meal, served with a tart raspberry sauce.

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (179 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) white granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup (177 ml) red wine, I use a burgundy
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 tablespoon (133 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (41 grams) Dutch cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

fresh raspberries (optional) and powdered sugar for garnish

Ingredients for raspberry sauce:
2- 12 ounce bags (340 grams) frozen raspberries, thawed, drained and juice reserved
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar, or to taste
4 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons orange flavored liqueur (I use Grand Marnier, a small airline bottle)
1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Procedure:
Make the raspberry sauce first. Add enough water to reserved raspberry juice to measure 2 cups. In a saucepan, mix sugar and the cornstarch. Stir in juice and thawed raspberries. Heat to boiling over medium heat. Boil and stir 1 minute. Place a strainer over a bowl. Pour mixture through strainer, pressing with the back of a spoon, to remove seeds; discard seeds. Stir liqueur and lemon juice into mixture. Cover the sauce with plastic wrap, refrigerate until ready to serve.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment, and either butter and lightly flour the parchment and exposed sides of the pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and yolk and beat well, then the red wine and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, right over your wet ingredients. Mix until 3/4 combined, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester (toothpick) inserted into the center comes out clean. The top of the cake should be shiny and smooth, like a puddle of chocolate. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack. This cake keeps well at room temperature or in the fridge.

For serving, place a generous amount of sauce on each plate. Place one slice of cake in the middle of the sauce. Garnish the cake with fresh raspberries (optional) and dust the top with powdered sugar. Serve with coffee, or brandy. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Note: Left over raspberry sauce (if there is any) can be used over ice cream, raspberry sherbet, or frozen yogurt, or in milkshakes. You can fold it into whipped cream for a topping over fresh fruit. It can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to one week, of freeze up to a year.

Berry Pudding with Yogurt Cream
Ingredients:
6 cups (about 6 half-pints) fresh or frozen (not thawed) raspberries
5 cups (about 1 1/2 quarts) fresh or frozen (not thawed) strawberries, trimmed
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Procedure:
Process raspberries and strawberries in batches in a food processor or blender until smooth. Transfer to a food mill or push through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup or bowl. Add enough water to the strained berries to equal 5 cups liquid.

Whisk cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Whisk the cornstarch mixture and granulated sugar into the strained berries and transfer to a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly (make sure to whisk the bottom well), until the mixture is very hot and beginning to bubble. Cook for 1 minute more, whisking constantly.

Transfer the pudding to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (it will continue to thicken as it chills).

Whip cream in a small bowl until soft peaks form. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla; continue whipping until firm peaks form. Fold in yogurt. Serve the pudding with a dollop of cream on top. Makes 8, 1/2 cup servings.

Hot Spiced Raspberry Rum Cider
Ingredients:
12 ounces (2 2/3 cups) frozen raspberries
4 cups apple cider
4 dashes ground cinnamon
1/2 cup spiced rum (optional)
lemon twists for garnish

Procedure:
Set aside 8 to 12 raspberries for garnish. Place apple cider, remaining raspberries and ground cinnamon in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Heat until boiling, then let cool. Strain. Stir in spiced rum, if using.

Pour Raspberry Cider into coffee mugs. Drop in a lemon twist and garnish with 2 to 4 raspberries per mug. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Apr 8, 2014

BEER... love drinking It and cooking with it.

According to local Hawaii brewers, Hawaii is the biggest beer drinking state per capita in the country, but according to the lady who drives the Budweiser beer truck here on Moloka'i, you can narrow it down to Moloka'i being the biggest beer drinking island in the state per capita, and my golfing buddies up at Ironwood Golf Course may be the ones holding that honor. There are some terrific  brewers in Hawaii that produce great beer, Maui Brewing Company, Kona Brewing Company, and Mehana Brewing company are three of my favorites. 

Most people love a cold glass of beer, but you can also cook with it. Beer is like any seasoning, it adds complexity and depth to recipes. There are literally hundreds of recipes from beer pizza to tipsy chicken. The truth is that all of the alcohol in beer is cooked off leaving only the flavor of the beer, so choosing the right beer to cook with does matter. Naturally the more flavor the beer has the more flavor your recipe will have. If you like a certain kind of beer then try that, but I find that American Pale Ale works great in most recipes, there are lots of brands to choose from out there. I happen to be a big fan of the Sierra Nevada brand, but like wine, beer is very personal.
Kona Brewing Company "Castaway IPA"

Hawaii has a new India Pale Ale (IPA) being released by Kona Brewing Company called Castaway IPA. It should not only be great for drinking, but for cooking with. The citrus, tropical and mango influences combine to create a beer with island flavor. It should be available on the islands April 14, just in time for my birthday. 

Here is a link to where to find good beer in Hawaii. That includes bars and restaurants, breweries and brewpubs, and stores. You will notice on the map that Moloka'i is not listed, but I happen to know that Moloka'i Wines and Spirits has a nice selection of beers to choose from in Kaunakakai.

Check out these delicious beer recipes from my collection:

"Pot of Love" Tripe Stew
This low and slow recipe takes about 4 hours of cooking time, plus 1 hour of prep time, but it makes a "pot of love" to remember, sometimes known as comfort food.

Ingredients:
3 pounds cleaned white honeycomb tripe, fat cut out and cut into small bite sized pieces
6 large fresh pigs feet, cleaned and cut in halves by the butcher
1 pound dried garbanzo beans, rinsed and soaked overnight in water
2 large sweet Maui onions diced small
1 1/2 large green bell peppers diced small
2 small cans tomato sauce
6 cloves fresh garlic minced
1/4 cup fresh diced parsley
1/4 cup fresh diced cilantro
2 large dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin powder
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 small (little box) dark raisins
4 to 5 large red potatoes peeled and quartered
8 ounces good white wine
4 ounces water
6 ounces beer
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1- 8 ounce jar of green olives stuffed with pimento
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons corn starch

Procedure:
The night before rinse and soak the garbanzo beans in cold water. Next day drain and put aside to cook with the tripe. Next cut out any fatty deposits the tripe may have on the underside. make sure your tripe is cleaned and it should be nice and white. Cut into small bite sized pieces, soak in some salt water over night next to the garbanzo beans. Next morning drain and rinse and set aside. The pigs feet should also be rinsed and cut in halves. Set aside.

In a large deep heavy pot add the olive oil, heat until shimmering then add diced onions, fresh garlic, green peppers, diced parsley, diced cilantro, raisins, the (2) two ounces of the white wine, all of the olives, capers, bay leaves, oregano, cumin, salt, black pepper, vinegar, paprika, and the tomato sauce. Over a medium heat, saute all of these ingredients for about 10 minutes.

Next add the the rest of the wine, beer, and water, mix well add the cut tripe pieces, garbanzo beans and the pigs feet. Mix well, cover with a tight lid and on a medium low flame and simmer for four hours. Check every hour to make sure the stew has enough liquid. If the water goes down, add more wine or water and continue to cook on a low flame until the tripe and garbazos are almost fork tender. After 3 hours of cooking, add the quartered potatoes, mixing well in the sauce, cover and continue to cook for another hour until they are fork tender.

By the time the potatoes are done the stew should be a little thick. if it is still watery, remove some of the liquid from the pot (about a half cup). Now add about 2 tablespoons of corn starch to a half cup of cold water or beer and mix well with a fork. Add this mixture to the hot liquid in the cup and mix well again and then add to the pot, mix gently so as not to break up the potaotes. Simmer on low for 10 minutes until the stew liquid has thickened. Taste for extra seasoning if needed. Serve on top of white rice with a nice crispy salad on the side, with a really cold beer and crusty bread. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Pork Ribs with Beer
I love pork ribs, and this is an excellent recipe that can be finished off on the grill for added flavor.

Ingredients:
1- 3 pound package of pork spare ribs, or extra meaty baby backs

Ingredients for spice rub:
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar

2-12-oz. bottles of beer
A bottle of your favorite brand of BBQ sauce, or homemade (see my recipe for "Tropical BBQ Sauce").

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 200-225˚F. Blend spice rub together in a small bowl.

Prep the ribs by rinsing and then drying them well with paper towels. Remove the silver skin from backside of the ribs. Rub both sides of ribs generously with the spice rub, then place meat side up in a foil-lined roasting pan.

Pour both bottles of beer over the ribs, cover pan tightly with foil, and place in the oven. Roast 3 hours or until ribs are done. Serve with your favorite BBQ sauce.

Alternatively, you can brush ribs with BBQ sauce when they are done, then finish them on the grill for about 5-10 minutes to give them that charcoal-grilled flavor.  Serve with fried onion rings (recipe below) and a nice potato salad on the side (see recipe index for recipes). Makes 2-3 servings.

Beer Battered Onion Rings
Ingredients:
4 pounds large yellow onions, peeled
2 eggs, beaten
1 quart whole milk
1 bottle cold beer
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons baking powder
canola oil for frying

Procedure:
Preheat the oven to 250˚F. Crosscut onions into 1/2-inch rings, discarding onion hearts for another use. In a separate container combine eggs, milk, and beer. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper thoroughly in a separate container. Soak onions in milk mixture then coat onions in flour. This step is repeated a second time, and may be done a third time to insure that the entire onion is coated with mixture. Fry onion rings in a 12 inch frying pan with 1 inch of canola oil heated to just before smoking, approximately 360˚F. Fry until golden brown. Transfer rings as browned to a lightly oiled, shallow (1-inch deep) baking pan. Sprinkle with salt to you taste, then put in a 250˚F oven. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Island Beer Battered Fish
Everybody loves fried fish. This simple recipe makes a delicious, thick island beer batter for your next island fish fry.

Ingredients:
canola oil, for frying, about 2 to 3 cups
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons seafood seasoning (I use Old Bay seasoning)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bottle cold beer
2 pounds opakapaka fillets or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt for sprinkling

Procedure:
Skin fish fillets and cut diagonally into 1-inch wide strips, about 5 inches long, and season with 1 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning. This is true of shrimp as well, just leave the tails on.

Heat the oil in a large deep pot or wok over medium heat. Bring the oil to 375˚F. Regulate the temperature with a candy thermometer. Preheat the oven to 250˚F to hold the cooked fish while frying in batches. 

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, seafood seasoning, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and gently stir in the cold beer. Mix until just combined. When the oil is preheated to the correct temperature, dip the fish fillets in the batter mixture. Coat the fish generously. 

When adding the fish to the oil, dip about 1/3 to 1/2 of the fillet into the oil and allow the batter to start puffing and then gently slide it into the oil. Fry the fish until they are golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes turning the fish over during the cooking time. 

When the fish are done, remove from the oil and put immediately on paper towels to blot the excess oil. Sprinkle with salt to your taste. Arrange the fish on a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack. Hold the fish in the preheated oven until serving. Work in batches and be sure not to crowd the oil. Serve with cole slaw. Make 4 servings.

Note: Old Bay seasoning contains a huge amount of different seasonings, and is highly recommended. You can make something similar yourself, but it's much easier to buy it already made. Here's an online recipe. Also note that this batter will work as a tempura batter for vegetables.

Beer Shrimp & Bread
Ingredients:
3 to 4 pounds shrimp, with tails on
2 French or Italian baguettes
2 cups butter
6 ounces pale ale
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lemon or lime, halved
2 tablespoons spice (any combination of 2 parts garlic, smoked paprika, sea salt, black pepper, and 1 part chili powder and onion powder)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

Procedure:
Season shrimp with 1 tablespoon of spice; set aside.
Melt 1 cup of butter in a large, deep skillet or cast iron pan.
Add onion and saute for 3 minutes.
Add garlic and saute 1 minute.
Add beer, Worcestershire sauce, remainder of spice, lemon zest, and juice, and stir.
Add shrimp to mixture and cook 3 to 4 minutes, flipping shrimp once, until shrimp are pink and sauce thickens. Remove shrimp and set aside.
Add 1 cup of butter and shake pan until butter is fully melted and blended with the mixture. Add shrimp back to pan.
Serve hot from pan with sliced baguettes. Makes 8 servings.

Easy Beer Beef Stew
Ingredients:
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound stew meat, 1-inch pieces
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 beer, 12 ounces (I use a dark beer like Sierra Nevada Torpedo)
1 can beef stock
1 cup water
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups baby carrots, cut into bite-sized chunks
4 large yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks

Procedure:
Heat oil and butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown meat the remove from pot and set aside on a plate when brown.

Add diced onions to the pot. Stir and cook for two or three minutes until softened, then add garlic for another minute.

Pour in beer and beef stock, then add Worcestershire, tomato paste, paprika, salt, pepper. Add beef back into the pot. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The gravy will thicken as it cooks. If it gets too thick, add additional water as needed.

Add carrots and potatoes, then cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve in bowls along with warm crusty French bread and a cold beer. Makes 4 servings.