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September 2005

Meals-On-Wheels, Local Style

From Elaine Shikuma

 Elaine Shikuma resides in Hilo on the island of Hawai`i , up in Kaumana where my mother also lives. Every week, she delivers `ono stuffs not just to Mom, but to other seniors around the neighborhood. And we ain’t talking no macaroni-and-cheese warm ups heck no! Elaine shows up with warabi rice, salmon patties, stuffed bittermelon, a couple slices of George Meat Market prime rib roast and includes from her backyard cherry tomatoes and white pineapple that arrives cut-up in bite size pieces. My mother fondly refers to her as her special meals-on-wheels and we all feel lucky and thankful. Mahalo Elaine! Below is her recipe for an island favorite, spicy eggplant. ~RdC


Spicy Eggplant


¼ c. shoyu 1Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 red chili peppers (or sweet Thai chili sauce)
2 slices ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lb. eggplant cut into 2-3” strips
½ lb. pork, sliced (or substitute with chicken thighs or ground pork)
Vegetable oil

Make sauce by combining first seven ingredients. Set aside. I boil my eggplant (if long type is huge, cut in half, lengthwise. This way you won’t use a lot of oil. Also, you can parboil and freeze!)

Add pork/chicken etc. to oil and fry until pink color disappears. Add eggplant. Add reserved sauce and cook 1 minute or until done.

A never-fail recipe. All you need is rice – go for it!

Elaine is a retired secretary from the University of Hawai`i system. She is a self-avowed golf nut with a 10 handicap but confesses that she’s still working on “being a focused golfer.” She sews feather hat lei, creates origami notecards, concocts her own Hawaiian salt mix and crochets hot pads. Elaine is also a fighter and a cancer survivor.


So I like imu da pig...but where am I gonna find ROCKS?!#%&*&?

Here’s a question that arrived via email:

 My name is Bano Manubi. Transplant from Hawaii over twenty years now. Need some help in preparation for imu...Wife's work wanna do da pig in da ground and make authentic and all.

If you know anyone that can help me out as far as advice and tips would be deeply appreciated. Main problem is da right kind of rocks to use. Been told by several locals to use rocks with holes which is vesicular basalt rocks, but no can find da bugga!!

Anyways if you know anybody up here dat does da pig in da ground, would like to get hold of that party. Any contacts would be appreciated!

 Confused  Mahalo! Bano.  P.S Love da Northwest Hawaii Times...keep up da good work!  

And here are answers from some seasoned cooks in the Northwest:

What I have done in the past, the river beds that flow from Mount Rainier or any volcano up here in the NW you can find imu rocks. They are close to what you would find in Hawaii . I know the Puyallup or Nisqually rivers are a good source. I am not aware of any other rivers. Instead of the usual banana, ti leaves, he can use cabbage or wild watercrest if he can find it in the local streams. All the other articles are basically the same like cooking in Hawaii . One thing, depending on the wood he is using to heat the rocks, some of the pinewood does not burn hot and would take more than usual, madrona if he can find some burns hot and will heat the rocks quicker. Don't forget to the fire permit from the local fire department. Just tell them, it is for a culture ceremony, practicing my heritage. Don't forget to include the salmon, sweet potatoes, corn (in the husk), and chicken/turkey......

from  Lambert Nahulu


Oh boy!   Best if he can get rocks from ocean side or along a river or creek....gotta look for basalt or lava type rock that has some puka pukas....for a pig about 100-150 lb size or 75-100 lbs of pork butts will need at least 1/2 pickup truck load....rock should be rounded from rolling in the water...no sharp edges.

Make sure no use any pine type wood....best if can get apple or cherry wood for the fire....some of the mainland type wood have stuff that will give an off taste.

We have used head cabbage in place of banana stump and ti-leaf.....chop the stem end off, separate the leaves and soak them in a tub till ready to use....

Best if can get burlap bags to cover over the leaves after everything in the imu....otherwise get old clean sheets, at least 4 layers....will do the job....NO USE PLASTIC TARP!

How's that!  Hope it will help him

Aloha, Kimo Ahia


Mahalo gengi!

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