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March 2006

A Hot Stop in Cool Waimea

By Max Pereña


We occasionally visit the Big Island and during one of our visits to Hāwī, we stopped at one of the Max Pereña with one of his lovely daughters, Jochellerestaurants near Waimea for dinner. We had some very delicious curried seafood and vegetables. What impressed me the most, aside from the food, was the small kitchen garden just outside the restaurant where the chef gathered the ingredients for the food we ordered. (Max couldn’t recall the name of the restaurant, but remembered that it was a small building, simple on the outside but elegant inside. When we compared notes, we concluded that it must have been Merriman’s, well-known in the Islands and beyond for, among other things, its use of fresh Waimea produce. ~RdC)

Max’s Version of Curried Seafood with Vegetables from Waimea


4 Tbs Olive Oil
6 cardamon pods
1 cinnamon stick, 2 inches long
1 tsp dried fennel
8 fresh curry leaves (available at Uwajimaya)
1 inch long fresh ginger-minced
6 cloves of garlic-crushed
4 Tbs mild curry paste
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp five spice powder

1/2 lb. medium size prawns- peeled and deveined
1/2 lb large scallops
1 can (13.5 fl.oz) coconut milk
½ lb green beans
½ kabocha squash
2 small oriental eggplants

Fresh cilantro-chopped
Fresh basil -chopped

  • Pre-cook the beans, squash and eggplant separately by boiling each with chicken broth until done. Do not overcook, especially the squash as it may become too soft.
  • In a wok or deep pan, heat the olive oil until it is very hot. Fry the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon stick,
    fennel and curry leaves until the leaves are almost burnt. Add ginger and garlic until the garlic is almost brown. Add the curry paste, turmeric, and 5 spice powder. Mix well for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the prawns and scallops. Mix well, cook for about 3-4 minutes, then add ½ can of coconut milk. Simmer gently. Do not allow to boil.
  • Add the pre-cooked beans, eggplant and squash. Mix well. Add the remaining ½ can of coconut milk, mix one more time. Add salt to taste.
  • Serve garnished with chopped cilantro and basil.

Max Pereña
Max C. Pereña is a recently retired physician and long time resident of Vashon Island, now living in
Seattle. He and a cousin own agricultural property together in Wai`anae where he hopes to micropropagate orchids. He now spends his time reading, gardening, sailing in beautiful Puget Sound, camping and dreaming of the day when he has his vacation home in Hawai`i.


Twelve Trees Project

The Twelve Trees Project funded by Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE) planted twelve types of fruit at a demonstration orchard at the Kona Pacific Farmers Cooperative in Napo`opo`o. The project then asked students at UH-West Hawaii Center Community College Culinary School and guest celebrity chefs to develop recipes which use the fruit, one of which is the Kona rangpur lime. Below is a recipe from Rob Love, chef at Merriman’s Restaurant in Waimea.


Lime-Tequila Cheviche

3 Kona limes, juiced
1 1/2c. high-end tequila
Handful mint leaves
24 oz ono in small cubes
5 tomatillos, diced very small
4 tomato skins, diced very small
1 large Maui onion, diced very small
2 jalapeño peppers, diced small

Heat lime and tequila to simmer, then turn off.
Add mint and cool; let steep 1 hour
Drain mint and mix with ono and let sit for 1 hour
Drain liquid and mix with diced vegetables
Divide into portions, garnish and serve with: chopped mint and cilantro leaves, lime wheel and greens.

For more information and recipes, go to www.hawaiifruit.net.

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