A couple of days ago, on June 7th to be precise, Honolulu's two long-running, major newspapers, The Starbulletin and The Honolulu Advertiser merged and became one. Sadly, as with all of these types of "reorgs" and mergers there were casualties. And one of my favorite long running columnists Wanda Adams, who penned the "My Island Plate" column was one of them. After leaving Hawaii, the newspaper's weekly food and restaurant sections, and later blogs like Ono Kine Grindz (here's a link to Reid's older posts) were kind of my lifeline.... I was able to read about how food was changing "back home" as well as keep up on old favorites. So naturally when Wanda Adams' book, "The Island Plate: 150 Years of Recipes and Food Lore from The Honolulu Advertiser" came out, I made sure to get it. Doing a search, I can't find it available anywhere for sale except here right now. As I mentioned in the comments of another of my favorite author's, Rachel Laudan's blog post this past March announcing that The Island Plate II: More Recipes from The Honolulu Advertiser had come out, I was thrilled and made sure to order it. Both volumes have recipes of items that are near and dear to my heart. And though I may have my versions of the dishes being mentioned, like this one, it is still a wonderful read, giving you a "feel", history, and lore, of "da kine local food". And one more thing, it seems that Wanda Adams has entered the blogging world with Our Island Plate, so go check it out.
Meanwhile, I feel kinda sheepish starting this post with a paragraph like the one above, and making the following confession. For some reason, I've made this a couple times this year, but my photos really don't look all that appetizing.
Anyway, this is something you can't really find anywhere but in Hawaii. I know they used to serve it at Bob's Hawaiian Style Okazuya in Gardena (16814 S Vermont Avenue, Gardena, CA). That version made the Missus and I swell up pretty good, but was tasty. This version is basically my mochiko chicken dressed up with nori. Over the years, I've replaced the cornstarch with regular rice flour, it adds a bit more crunch, and adds to the sweetness. If making mochiko, I'll add baking soda, but I find it doesn't work as well with the nori wrapping.
Wrapping is easier than it seems.....most nori already have lines going horizontally across the sheets.... you just get those kitchen shears out and start cutting.
Nori Wrapped Chicken:
3/4 Cup rice flour
3/4 cup mochiko
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Package Nori cut lengthwise into 1" strips
- Combine dry ingredients
- Combine wet ingredients.
- Add wet to dry and mix well, you will use this as a marinade.
- Add chicken strips and mix well, until chicken is fully coated. (I use a ziplock bag for this)
- Marinate overnight.
- Bring canola oil to 350
- On a large cutting board roll the chicken in nori. When done rolling, place the chicken crease side down. This will ensure that the nori doesn't come apart during frying.
- Fry in small batches. While chicken is frying, roll more chicken.
- When chicken is dark reddish brown, floating, and bubbling has diminished it should be fully cooked. Remove to a large plate or pan lined with paper towels.
You can serve with a variety of dipping sauces if you want. My favorite is the old standby hot mustard and soy, you can do Kewpie Mayo topped with Shichimi Togarashi, Ponzu Sauce, or whatever. I'm sure yours will look much better than mine do!
And yes, I've made mochiko chicken wings.......