Sunday, April 14

'Ono kine grinds of Maui

Good food of Maui

Every time I  come back to Hawaii, this time Maui, I pick up where I left off, which is not difficult with these easy going people, sun, more sun and eternal positive energy felt around every corner and beach. And each time you feel more that you never left, that you are becoming a real kama'aina.

 From beaches and picturesque towns to volcano - all on Maui
Living and lifestyle 

Heron caught a gecko right beside me on the beach 

Anywhere you are, on Hawaiian islands you can easily find yourself in the middle of the wild life that is tamed and mellow like the people that live on these islands. Everything work so close together or how they say here "Laulima"- plants and animals work together and need each others for survival.

You're always surrounded here with beauty and colour: small cheerful birds on the beaches and even more colourful Pacific fishes in the water that you can easily see anywhere, while snorkeling, even the most famous Hawaiian fish - humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa  

Red Jays love beaches

It doesn't matter where you stay on Maui, you can always enjoy, for free, easy life on beaches and watch sunsets with whales and dolphins, swim in cave pools or jump from rocks, like popular Black Rock on Ka'anapali beach.
Great surprise of Hawaii and Maui is that you can also quickly change habitats and weather zones in just a short time, and switch hot beach for a freezing high mountain.

Jumping from the Black Rock

My favourite town - Lahaina
Cave pool in Wai'anapanapa State Park

It's quite exciting when, within an hour, after traveling trough the clouds (real ones), weather zones and different nature habitats you climb Haleakala National Park and find yourself at over 10000 ft on freezing conditions, surrounded by red soil of the Haleakala volcano, looking down at the coast of the Maui island, like from the top of the world.

Look at the volcano from the plane
 (black ring in the middle of clouds)
History and philosophy of Haleakala

Living high at the volcano

Eating on Maui

Hawaiian eats are pure enjoyment, as many other things in Polynesian life. This time I got more sense of the roots and influences that created today's Maui's and Hawaiian food staples and specialties.
It's a mix of Polynesian, Japanese and more recent, American food influence, as you'll see in next recipes.

Kulolo desert

Fabulous and light, yet refreshing and healthy, I recommend you to try this dessert on the original locations at Hawaii or prepare it at home!
Kulolo was originally prepared with grated taro and shredded coconut. It was wrapped in Ti plant leaves and baked in the imu (underground oven).

Method 1


1 large taro root, grated
3 fresh coconuts, grated
1 cup water
2 cups coconut water
2 tsp brown sugar

Ti leaves (optional)

Cook the taro shortly, before grating it. Cut in chunks and boil slightly. Do not overcook. Mix taro with coconut meat. Add water, coconut water, and brown sugar. Put the mixture in baking pan or Ti leaves(if you happened to have them). Cover the pan with aluminum foil and remove the foil in the last 15 minutes. Bake for about 1 hour in moderate oven (350 F/ 200 C).

Method 2


4 cups taro root, grated
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup good organic unsweetened coconut milk
2 Ti leaves (optional)

Mix all ingredients together. Cover loaf pan with foil and place the ti leaves (optional) on the foil to fit the pan. Pour the mixture into the pan and cover top with foil. Bake for about 2 hours in the oven on 400F/230C.
Take off the foil during last half hour to allow pudding to brown.

Tako (octopus) salad

Inspired by Maui’s food and authentic poke, I created this salad while I was on Maui. The variety of seafood is available at local markets and stores. If you’re not that lucky and don’t have already prepared and sliced octopus available in your stores, you’ll have to prepare and cook octopus yourself prior making this salad.


1 lb. tako (octopus), blanched and finely sliced

½ cup white vine
½ jalapeño pepper finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic
½ bunch of chopped parsley,
Salt, pepper

Other salad ingredients:

1/4 cup sliced onions
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 cups of arugula leafs
2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
½ cubed avocado
juice from 1 lemon or lime
2 tbsp olive oil

Slice the cooked tako sideways. In heated and oiled pan, saute garlic, parsley and jalapeno for a short time. Ad wine and cook for about ten minutes more. Add octopus and cook for about ten minutes more so octopus absorbs the wine sauce, add juice of 1/2 lemon. Set aside and prepare remaining ingredients in a bowl. Mix lightly and add chilled octopus. Season to taste. Serve.

Ono or Mahi mahi in lemon caper sauce

Okazuya's mahi mahi in this sauce and mushrooms

This recipe is inspired by the dish I tried in “Okazuya”-Japanese type of express gourmet restaurant.

Opakapaka is one of the best Hawaiian fish
Whole Foods Market in Kahului

Ingredients for the sauce:
2 teaspoon capers, drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons butter
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest


Chop the capers finely. In a small skillet, melt butter; add garlic, lemon juice, zest, and capers. Simmer over low heat for about 30 seconds. Stir in parsley. Remove from heat.

Meantime, in another pan, cook your fish (possibly ono or mahimahi) and serve with lemon caper sauce.

Kalua pork sandwich

Kalua pork is one of the staple food of Hawaii and although the style of preparation could be improvised in the regular oven instead of underground, real kalua pork has no comparison with any other. It’s tender, tasty and hard to resist. It’s basically pulled pork from the pig cooked in the ground, covered with ti and banana leafs and hot rocks, for whole day and in the evening enjoyed at “Luau” events on the beaches.
If you want more than tasting it at Luaus, you can now buy kalua pork in supermarkets on Hawaii (and nowhere else in US and world!).
For a day at the beach, I would prepare this sandwich for my kids, because they were almost addicted to it. One of the main ingredients is also Maui onion mustard, with its tangy, yet a bit sweet aroma.

Here is the idea:

Kalua pulled pork
Quality cooked ham
Sliced onions
Roasted peppers (roasted, jarred in oil could work)
Spicy soft cheese (pepper jack style)
optional: lettuce, cucumber
Maui onion mustard
Panini buns

Bake paninis and cut them in half. Place slices of cheese in still hot panini and close for two minutes so that cheese can melt. Add other ingredients: ham, mustard, onions, peppers and warm pork at the other end so that bread can absorb the juices from the pork.

The best is to eat it immediately!

There is one great local place to buy healthy food on Honokowai area at Maui - "Farmers market", with friendly and cool staff and amazing selection of whole and prepared food. It's a great place to get bowl of soup or great dip and dessert or early morning to go for one of a kind oatmeal or granola prepared with local fresh and dry fruits and nuts. 
That’s where I found out about this simple but tasty pudding and coconut cake. 

Coconut tapioca pudding


1/3 cup small pearl tapioca
1 cup of coconut milk
1 cup coconut cream
2 tbsp tapioca
1/4 pulp from fresh coconut or finely shredded coconut
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3/4 cup unsweetened large-flake coconut, toasted
1/2 cup chopped fresh tropical fruits for topping (optional)

In a medium saucepan, cook tapioca in 4 cups of boiling water, until only slightly chewy, 5 minutes. Drain. Meanwhile, in another saucepan over medium heat, warm the coconut milk, cream, tapioca, sugar, and seeds from vanilla bean for 5 minutes. Transfer tapioca into vanilla mixture. Cook, stirring often, until tapioca pearls are tender. Let pudding cool, then chill, stirring occasionally, at least 1 hour. Stir in more milk if pudding is thick.
Pour pudding into tall glasses. Top with toasted coconut and fresh fruit.
Chill pudding overnight.

Coconut cake with mango sauce

This easy, low-fat cake recipe is light and moist with the flavor of coconut and tropical sauce.


5 eggs, separated, with yolks and whites in separate mixing bowls
1/3 cup coconut sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup coconut oil or softened butter
1/2 cup coconut cream
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp dry shredded coconut, unsweetened
optional: 1 tsp. coconut extract


2 ripe mangoes, cut into small cubes (or 1 1/2 cups frozen cubed mango)
1/2 can coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
optional: 1 tsp. coconut extract


1/2 cup dry shredded coconut, sweetened

Grease an angel food cake pan (or two round cake pans) and preheat the oven to 350F/175C.
Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer at high speed until they whipped (about 3 minutes). Set aside. Add the sugar, salt, oil or butter, coconut milk, and shredded coconut to the whipped yolks. Mix well. Add the flour and baking powder. Stir until you get a good consistency. You can add the coconut extract, if using. Fold in the egg whites. Mix lightly and evenly so the egg whites don't lose the fluffiness.
Bake at 350F/175C until the top of the cake is golden brown and an inserted fork comes out clean.

Sauce: Place all sauce ingredients in a blender. Process well, until sauce is smooth. Cook this sauce in a sauce pan, until sauce thickens, but not too long.

To make toasted coconut: Place coconut in a dry frying pan. Turn heat on high or medium-high on the stove or in the oven on 350F/175C. Stir coconut constantly, until it has toasted to a light golden brown and smells fragrant. Cool.

Serve with a sauce and coconut at a top.

Spam misubi

Hawaiian people not just love, but looove Spam. Although, my household does not consume this processed meat, I had to add it to the list of the recipes of Maui, because it is just so authentic and is one of the examples of the influences of the fast American food to the Hawaiian cooking!
Misubi can be find stores on Hawaii but is also so easy to prepare at home. It’s  basically simple version of sushi rolls, with only three ingredients : cooked rice (sushi-meshi rice) and seaweed, and of course slice of Spam.

I wonder how it would work with a real piece of roasted meat…


2 slices Spam
½ cup cooked sushi (or other ) rice , seasoned with furikake and toasted sesame seeds, if desired
as explained in my post “How to make sushi”
1 whole sheet nori

You'll also need misubi mold or small rectangular molds.

In large skillet, cook Spam until lightly browned and crisp. Place 1/2 of rice into musubi (small rectangular molds) press or small can. Place Spam on rice; drizzle with grill sauce or some cooking sauce, press down. Remove Spam and rice from musubi press so that you get compact cube. Lay nori shiny-side-down on the board and wrap up prepared cube. Cut each musubi in half. Serve immediately.

Lemon grown on Alii Kula Lavender Park close to Haleakala 

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