Jan 13, 2017


Hawaiian Papio
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The papio is the young fish of the trevally or jack family, and is a major local food fish in Hawaii. The young papio can grow up to over 100 pounds when fully mature and are then known as ulua. These fish are distributed throughout the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region stretching from South Africa in the west to Hawaii in the east.

Ulua and Papio are known as popular gamefish which makes their population a concern especially in the Hawaiian waters. There is a limit to how many you can catch a day and they have set regulations on catch and release policy depending on their weight.

The smaller papio are sized better for home cooking or restaurants. The papio in the photo above weighed in at 5.29 pounds and I was lucky enough to buy it at Kualapu'u Market for $26. In Hawaii it's hard to find papio in grocery stores. Most papio are caught and consumed by the fisherman's family and friends. Once cooked, they are a prize item on my dinner table.

Here's how I cook it:

Steamed Hawaiian Papio In Ginger Sauce
Steamed Papio in foil
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5 pound papio
1/3 pound fresh ginger
fresh lime juice
8 cloves garlic
1/4 cup canola oil
1/8 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/3 cup finely sliced green onions

Clean and filet the fish leaving the skin on. Cut fish into eight individual portions and refrigerate until ready to cook.

When ready to cook the fish, toast the sesame seeds in a dry, small skillet over medium heat until just toasted, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove seeds to a small bowl or plate. Lay portions of fish on individual pieces of aluminum foil. Wrap the foil around the fish leaving the top open.

Peel ginger and slice into very fine julienne strips and soak in lime juice. Peel and thinly slice garlic. Heat canola oil and sesame oil in the same small skillet and saute garlic until golden brown, then the ginger and lime juice. Add the toasted seeds to the ginger mixture. Stir in soy sauce & mix well.

Divide this wonderful sauce over the fish. Seal the foil around individual fish packets, crimping the edges to prevent steam from escaping. Place packets on a baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes in a 400˚F preheated oven. The fish is done when the flesh flakes off at the thickest part. After 20 minutes, remove the fish to plates and serve the sauce, strained, over the fish with a sprinkling of sliced green onions. I like to serve this fish with white rice and a side salad.

Makes 6 servings.

Note: You can use almost any fish you like for this recipe. The ginger sauce is incredible!

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