Hawaiian Night: Making Lau Lau and Malasadas

Last weekend, Jonathan and I had some friends over, so we decided to make some Hawaiian food! Even though Jonathan is from Hawaii, he’s never actually cooked Hawaiian before…

I had thought about making Lau Lau a while back, but couldn’t find taro leaves in Boston, so at some point, I had flown home to LA to pick up the closest thing I could find: dry lotus leaves. I packed them back in a hanging suit case just to keep them flat… so finally putting them to good use was not a bad idea at all.

Jonathan tackled making the Lau Lau, which is pork and butterfish steamed in taro leaves (in this case lotus leaves), the Lomi Lomi Salmon, and tuna poke, while I handled the MALASADAS!

As you recall, I had made malasadas once before, and I was not prepared. But this time, I knew exactly what I was getting myself in to, and lo and behold, they turned out to be beautiful, golden, round donuts!

We’re booked to return to Hawaii this coming January, and I will have a chance to go back to Leonard’s again. One day, I will become a malasada master just like him, but for now, I gotta learn how he injects that coconut cream…

Korean Dinner Night: Japchae Recipe

There is a family-run Korean market that is a ten-minute walk from my house. And whenever I shop there, I am always reminded of the awesome Japchae my friend’s mom made for us. So when Jonathan suggested making Korean barbecue for a dinner party, I saw an opportunity to learn how to make Japchae.

Of all the recipes I found online, the one from Maangchi (link to recipe) seemed the most authentic. The directions were slightly confusing, so I had to reference a few other recipes to make sure I was doing it right. Since I have the legwork done already, here’s some simplified/aggregated tips for the recipe:

  • When cooking your vegetables, you can cook them all in one skillet. Just be mindful of how long it takes certain vegetables to cook. For example, if you are using carrots, make sure to add them to the pan first because it takes longer from them to soften.
  • Lots of the recipes call for different amounts of sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Instead of measuring the ingredients, I recommend adding to your taste preference. The soy sauce serves as the salt; sugar for the nice balance of sweet and salty; and the sesame oil provides the umami. Stir fry the vegetables with a little bit of the soy sauce and sugar so the vegetables can absorb some flavor, but add the sesame oil when mixing the noodles with the vegetables. If you decide to cook the ingredients with the sauces initially, you will find that you will be adding more of the ingredients to mix in at the end.
  • You can also serve it cold. When cold, the Japchae works really well like a noodle salad. Great when eaten with warm rice!

We finally had a nice day in Boston, so we decided to grill the Korean barbecue outside and eat on the backyard picnic table.

It was a perfect evening with good company and good food. Definitely looking forward to more delicious outdoor meals!