Broke Da Mout, Volume II
By Janet “Pinki” Culbertson
A few years ago, my friend decided to put a cookbook together of local favorite recipes from our fellow flight attendants and ground staff at United Airlines in Honolulu. The cookbook was aptly named, Broke Da Mout. The first edition was so popular that she arranged a Broke Da Mout, Volume II. One of my favorite recipes follows. All the ingredients are readily available, you can vary it with different meats and it is so easy and soooo ono!
2 lbs. chicken, pork or beef
6 Tbls. shoyu
2 Tbls. wine
2 Tbls. sugar
4 slices ginger
2 cups water
Simmer until done, about 30 to 45 minutes. For variation, I sometimes substitute broth for some of the water. And I like to add some of Doug Fairchild's sauce from the Teriyaki Grill in Selah just before I serve it.
By Rochelle delaCruz
When Pinki sent in her recipe for Shoyu Chicken, I was reminded how much we depend on shoyu in the Islands. Of course this is also true for Asian groups everywhere, but in Hawai`i, on the table or in the cupboard of every kitchen, you will find a shapely little bottle with the jaunty red top, filled with that culinary and dining necessity, SHO-YU… “Hey, I’ll show you!” we kids used to say, waving that bottle by its delicate neck firmly scissored between two fingers.
Of course the Chinese, the Koreans and the Filipinos have always used soy sauce in their cooking, but I’ll give extra credit here to the Japanese, since shoyu is the Japanese word for this unbeatable, delectable sauce and that is what we call it in the Islands.
We grew up in Hawai`i not only with shoyu as a staple, but also tofu, miso and soybeans. And just by looking at their color, texture and taste, who would know they were so closely related? There’s the smooth, bland tofu block that looks like white custard, so refreshing when eaten cold, uncooked and plain, but also delicious when added to a sauce or deep fried. Then there’s the rich and black shoyu and its cousin miso, a beige grainy paste. Both enhance the flavor of food but must be used sparingly as they are very salty. Who would think they all come from the same green bean we love to snack on in Hawai`i – the soybean - that looks like a small lima and comes in a fuzzy pod, is native to East Asia and an important source of protein there for over five thousand years?
All of these soy products used to be considered “ethnic food” and not exactly warmly embraced by the mainstream. But sometime over the last few decades, they became very popular and now, all who are health-conscious extol the virtues of tofu, causing it to show up in unlikely concoctions such as tofu meatloaf, tofu burrito, tofu chocolate mousse. A popular TV sitcom even had an episode with tofu turkey for Thanksgiving! And while I have been eating tofu all my life, I look at these rather odd creations with suspicion. Why gotta get so dressed up? I prefer that plain white block cubed and grated over with some fresh ginger, a dash of sesame oil and shoyu and topped with a sprinkling of green onion. No need to get fancy – I take my tofu straight up. But what I’ve also noticed is that some converted tofu eaters are rather sanctimonious, eating tofu products solemnly as if taking communion at church. Look. It’s tofu and yes, it’s good for you. Some of us have known this since the beginning of time but we still like it anyway so let’s move on. It’s just tofu for heaven sake!
With the popularity of sushi bars and Japanese restaurants, soybeans have also become popular but I think only people from Hawai`i call it “soybean.” Everyone else glamorizes it as edamame – an appetizer long enjoyed in Japan but only recently arrived on the continental U.S. A few days ago, I was strolling by the deli counter at a big chain supermarket in Seattle and did a double take when I saw between the Cole Slaw and Pickled Beets, Edamame Salad! Sooo it looks like the lowly soybean has finally arrived. (and at $5.99 a pound, you better believe it.)
But you have to go to your frozen section to find them and can’t get fresh beans here in the Northwest. Whenever I’ve asked about it, I’ve been told “Oh, that gets fed to the cattle.” But on the Big Island , (home to the second largest ranch in the U.S. ), I can go to the Hilo farmers’ market to buy a couple of pounds of my favorite pods, at $1.25 a pound. I wash them a couple of times, boil them in water with some Hawaiian salt and…`ono! When I get ready to return to Seattle, they’re always high on the family list of food to bring back: Laulau, Portuguese sausage and soybeans please. Be advised however, that you must cook them before getting on the plane because if you don’t, you’ll have to give them up to the agriculture inspector at the airport. Auwē… pohō for you, but lucky for him.
Mahalo Pinki for your Shoyu Chicken! It made me think: OK, I’ll sho yu.
It is usually cooked with chicken and various vegetables like green onions and bamboo shoots flavored with sugar, sake, and shoyu. Typical Japanese charcoal stove is used in this type of cooking. Hekka is the most popular meal among the other nationalities.
4 tbsp oleo or butter
1 can bamboo shoots (2 ½ size)
2 ½ lb. chicken, chopped in pieces
1 block tofu (soybean curd)
6 tbsp shoyu
2 tbsp sake (liquor)
4 tbsp sugar
½ bunch watercress, cut in 2” length
½ lb mushroom (canned)
8 stalks green onions, cut in 1 ½” length
Heat skilled – add oleo or butter. Add cut-up chicken pieces and brown. Add sugar and shoyu – let simmer. Add vegetables and toss lightly in pan until all vegetables are partially cooked and soaked in gravy. Lastly add tofu – cook until firm. Serve hot with rice.
Kauai Cookbook, prepared by Kekaha Parent-Teachers’ Association, 1954
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