Hawaiian luau bringing island taste to Interior Alaska

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By Gary Black gblack@newsminer.com of the Fairbanks Daily News Miner

FAIRBANKS — George Kahumoku Jr. is more than just a master of Hawaiian music. He’s also a master of Hawaiian cuisine.

Kahumoku, along with Uncle Richie Ho’opi’i and Ledward Kaapana, make up the Masters of Hawaiian music, an island ensemble bringing stories, songs and tales of island life to Interior Alaska this week with performances in Delta, Fairbanks and Healy. On Friday, Kahumoku and Ho’opi’i are acting as guest chefs at a Hawaiian luau at The Blue Loon, which serves as a fundraiser for the Fairbanks Concert Association while allowing Kahumoku and Ho’opi’i to show off those culinary skills honed in Hawaii.

It should be a pretty easy gig for Kahumoku, who’s used to cooking for lots of people. Like, hundreds of people at a time.

“We’ve done these all over,” Kahumoku said. “We did one in Napa for about 400 people and one in New York for about 2,000 people. “I come from a huge family, and I’m just used to cooking for them.”

Usually, Kahumoku wrote in an email to the News-Miner, a luau is reserved as a celebration for a right of passage, called “pa’a aina,” which loosely translates as becoming in tune with the land. Luaus are hosted when a child is born or an elder dies or for other momentous life events, but in modern times they’ve expanded to include high school graduations, marriages, house warmings or just any need to celebrate life with food.

“I grew up traditional, learning food and taking care of others and always planting enough for others,” he said.

Kahumoku pared down the recipes seen here, which usually feed much more than 12 people.

Kalua pig and cabbage

“I cooked the dressed 400 pound pig underground for 12 hours or overnight, then shredded the pork as listed. I’m bringing about 50 pounds of Kalua pork from that 400 pound pig for the Fairbanks luau that we cooked on Maui and froze a few weeks back,” Kahumoku wrote.

Enough for 12 people made in a house oven

4-5 pounds boneless pork butt

4-5 ti leaves at least 1 foot long

or one 3-foot long banana leaf or

four green husks from four ears of corn

1 tablespoon rock salt or 1 teaspoon table salt

4 tablespoons oyster sauce

1/4 teaspoon pepper, to taste

1 clove garlic crushed

1/4 head cabbage chopped

2 cups cooled boiled water

1/2 chopped onion

3 slices bacon diced

3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

We usually we allow 1/4 pound of pork per person or serving or 3 pounds of finished pork for 12 people. There will be a 10 to 20 percent shrinkage. Use 1 tablespoon rock salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt  and lightly rub salt into the meat. Wrap in ti leaves, banana leaves or corn husks. Cover the entire roast with foil in a baking pan and bake fat side up for 2 1/2 hours or 20 minutes per pound at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, then 200 degrees for the last 1 hour. Let cool covered for an additional 1 hour, then shred the pork meat and fat adding about 1 to 2 cups of cooled boiled water to keep the mixture juicy.

Return to serving pan or dish and keep warm until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, fry the diced bacon and the cooked shredded pork in 3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil. Add a crushed clove of garlic, and 1/2 diced onion. Add pepper and oyster sauce to taste and stir in 1/4 head of chopped cabbage. Don’t overcook the cabbage.

Serve hot.

Chicken long rice for 12

1 whole chicken with liver and gizzards cut into pieces

1/4 pound ginger crushed

1/2 entire bulb garlic peeled and crushed (about 4 cloves)

1 medium whole onion, chopped into 3/8 inch pieces

2-3 bay leaves

1 package bean long rice clear noodles (8 ounces, dried)

2 quarts water

1 carrot cut in 1/4 lengthwise then sliced thin

Optional: 1 4-ounce package dried shitake mushrooms

Salt, pepper, oyster sauce, shoyu sauce and fish sauce to taste

2-3 celery stalks diced

Diced green onions for garnish.

Soak dried long rice in 2 cups cold water and cut long rice into 3-inch lengths with scissors when the dried long rice becomes pliable. Soak the dried shitake mushrooms and cut into 1/4-inch pie shaped pieces, then set both long rice and the mushrooms aside soaking in cold water.

In a 2 gallon pot heat 2 quarts of water until boiling and add chicken and chicken parts, garlic, ginger, onions, bay leaf, salt, oyster sauce and fish sauce to make a broth and cook the chicken. Cook and simmer for 1/2 hour then take out the chicken parts. Cool, debone and shred the chicken meat. Dice the gizzards and liver and return the deboned meat to the chicken broth continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients, carrots, celery, including the 2 cups of water with the clear bean long rice noodles, mushrooms and add to the broth. Continue cooking for 10-15 minutes until the long rice is cooked. Gently add a bit more oyster sauce and fish sauce. Serves 3/4 to 1 cup per person.

Garnish with diced green onions.

Masters of Hawaiian Music:

From the renowned “Slack Key Show” on Maui that produced four Grammy Award-winning CDs, three masters share the delightful experience of slack key guitar — the distinctly Hawaiian style of open tunings — ukulele, Hawaiian songs and a “kolohe,” or “rascal,” sense of humor. Masters of Hawaiian Music are being brought to Interior Alaska by the Fairbanks Concert Association.

7 p.m. Thursday » Delta High School big gym. Admission by donation.

6-10 p.m. Friday » Luau at The Blue Loon, 2999 Parks Highway. Call the Fairbanks Concert Association office at 474-8081 for tickets and reservations. Space is limited to 150 guests.

8 p.m. Saturday» Hering Auditorium. Tickets are available at Grassroots Guitar,www.AlaskaTix.com and at 490-2858.

7 p.m. Sunday» Tri-Valley School Healy. Admission by donation.

On the menu:

• Kalua pig

• Chicken long rice

• Sweet potato

• Squid luau

• Lomi Salmon

• Poke fish

• Steamed brown rice with coconut milk

• Poi

• Chili pepper water

• Sliced sweet round onions

• Hawaiian sea salt

Dessert

• Kulolo (taro, coconut milk, brown sugar)

• Haupia (coconut pudding)

• Fresh Maui Gold pineapple chunks

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