In most Asian cultures, food is how you show love. Growing up, my parents expressed their affections by giving me food. Lots of food. And when there were guests over, it was important to always have a loooooot of dishes on the table. The more dishes meant we cared about the people visiting. Everything is always done family style with over-abundance and over-indulgence.
That’s why it’s not surprising that Hawaiian food is the same way. It’s not uncommon for there to be many sides to a Hawaiian dish. If you’ve had a traditional Hawaiian lunch plate, you’ll know that it comes with a large portion of meat, two scoops of rice, scoop of mac salad, and then you can add on some vegetables, salmon lomi lomi, chicken long rice, or poi.
My two favorite sides are mac salad and squid luau. Mac salad is easier to find in the Bay Area, but it’s never quite the same as the ones from the island. When making the mac salad at home for my own taste, I double up the apple cider vinegar. But Chris thinks it’s too tart for general masses so I lowered the amount in the recipe below. But feel free to add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar if you’re a tart person like I am. You can eat the mac salad once it’s made, but I guarantee you it’s not going to taste that great. Letting it sit overnight really melds the flavors together so have some patience with this one.
Squid luau is a totally different story. It’s a kind of stewed/creamed taro leaves that’s super delicious. One thing though, if you can’t find taro leaves, you can make this with spinach – it’s not 100% the same but it’s the closest vegetable I can think of. If you’re using spinach, simply blanche the greens quickly and squeeze out the water. You wouldn’t need to stew for an hour. About 30 minutes will be more than enough.
- 2 1/2 pounds taro leaves
- 1 1/2 pounds squid, cleaned and sliced into rings
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 can coconut milk (13.5 fluid ounces)
- 2 gloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Dash of paprika
- Fish sauce
- Step 1 Clean taro leaves and remove large veins. Shred the leaves into long strips.
- Step 2 In a large pot of boiling water, add the leaves and cook at a simmer for an hour. Drain and squeeze out water thoroughly.
- Step 3 In a dutch oven, add butter, onions, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add taro leaves and stir.
- Step 4 Turn to low and add coconut milk, salt, and pepper. Simmer for about 45 minutes with the lid on. Stir occasionally.
- Step 5 Add the squid and cook for 15 minutes without the lid.
- Step 6 Add paprika and fish sauce to taste.
- Step 7 Add salt and pepper if necessary.
- 1 box dried macaroni
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (more if you prefer tart)
- 3 cups mayonnaise (I use Best Foods Avocado Oil Mayonnaise)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon yuzu kosho, optional
- Step 1 Cook macaroni per box instructions for al dente. Drain well and allow to cool.
- Step 2 In a medium bowl, mix mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and yuzu kosho in a bowl.
- Step 3 In a large bowl, mix cooled macaroni, grated carrots, and dressing with a spatula until well mixed.
- Step 4 Chill for at least 24 hours before serving.