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Loving Island Life

        Island Recipes
Just the way Tutu (Grandma) made them.

Hawaii is a melting pot of cultures, and the food reflects its diversity. Seeking work on pineapple and sugar plantations in the 1800s, people from Japan, China, Tahiti, Portugal, the Philippines, and others came to the islands and brought their cuisine. Plantation workers shared lunches. Mixed plate or plate lunch was born.

Huli-Huli Chicken

Huli-Huli Chicken is one of my favorite Hawaiian recipes. Huli-Huli means Turn-Turn. After marinating the chicken, cook on an outdoor grill. Locals grill over kiawe wood, a type of mesquite, which grows like a weed in dry areas. Flip the chicken often, hence the name.  

Here’s my marinade recipe, enough for about two chickens, split in half or into parts.  Marinate the chicken for at least an hour. Overnight is better. Boil down leftover marinade and brush over chicken as it grills.

1/3 cup ketchup

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons oil

2 pieces ginger root, crushed

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Sriracha

1 tablespoon lemon


Serve with white rice.

Grilled Chicken

Maui Mac Salad

This macaroni salad is served with a scoop or two of sticky rice, and a protein as a plate lunch.


12 oz pkg salad macaroni, cooked and drained

1 cup buttermilk 

1 ½ cup mayonnaise

1 ½ tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoon vinegar

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

¼ teaspoon onion powder

2 green onions, chopped

¼ c sweet maui onion, chopped

1 cup green sweet peas, blanched

1 cup grated carrots, blanched

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together, refrigerate at least 4 hours. Squeeze on fresh lemon juice right before serving. 

Portuguese Sausage Soup Hawaii Style

Hambone or ham hocks, cooked in two quarts of water for several hours ahead to make a savory broth.

1-pound dried navy beans, cooked in water according to directions.

8 oz bacon, cooked, and crumbled. Reserve 2 tablespoons of grease.

12 oz Portuguese sausage, cut into ¼ inch coin size

2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut in bite-sized pieces *

2 carrots, cut in bite-sized pieces

2 stalks celery, cut in bite-sized pieces

1 small head yellow cabbage, chopped

1 large yellow onion chopped

5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

¼ cup tomato paste

1 can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 bay leaves


In a large soup pot fry sausage until golden in the reserved bacon grease. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside. To grease add onion and garlic, cook until softened, add potatoes, cabbage, celery and carrots and fry a bit longer. Stir in tomato paste, fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return the sausage and add rest of the ingredients and cook for 2 hours. 

*Yukon Gold potatoes hold up to long cook time.

Serve soup as it is or with a scoop of sticky rice or cooked macaroni.  

Fern leaf
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