Fast Foods



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Lei Chic Alton Brown promised it was easy.

But three trips to the grocery store (what aisle is the clarified butter in?), five google searches (how do I MAKE clarified butter), and two emergency first aid stops later (grating nutmeg is hazardous work) there’s still no sign of that supposedly-simple appetizer.

Guess you’ll have to hit your go-to caterer; the frozen food aisle at Costco.

Don’t bury your head under the pigs in a blanket. We asked some of Hawaii’s top chefs for five-step pupu that are anything but cheesy  - except in a good way.

Pistachio Crusted Big Island Goat Cheese with Grapes
George Mavrothalassitis, chef/owner, Chef Mavro Restaurant

Lei Chic Yield: 2 dozen
8 oz Big Island or Maui goat cheese (available at Whole Foods Kahala)
2 tbsp. chives, chopped
½ c pistachios, chopped 
24 ea red seedless grapes
Salt and pepper to taste  

1 - Leave cheese at room temperature for 20 minutes to soften, then fold in chopped chives and season with salt and pepper to taste.
2 - While still soft but not melted, scoop cheese with a teaspoon and flatten with palm then wrap grape in cheese. If cheese is too soft, put it in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up a bit.
3 - Roll each ball in chopped pistachios.
4 - Arrange on plate, cover and chill until ready to serve.
Photo Courtesy: Paul Feng

Hamachi with Grapefruit Brulee
Executive Chef Wayne Hirabayashi, The Kahala Hotel & Resort

Lei ChicYield: 6 servings
3 oz hamachi, sliced in ½ oz portions
6  chiso leaves
6 pc grapefruit segments
6 tsp Maui Sugar in the Raw (turbinado sugar)
6 avocado slices (½ oz)
½ c tempura batter
Hawaiian sea salt and lime juice to taste

1 - Slice hamachi into ½ oz slices, sashimi style.
2 - Dry grapefruit segments as much as possible and sprinkle with sugar in the raw. Using torch, burn sugar until caramelize.
3 - Take sliced avocado, dip into tempura batter and fry until crispy.
4 - To plate, place avocado tempura first, then caramelized grapefruit, and then sliced hamachi. Season lightly with Hawaiian sea salt and lime juice.


Lahaina Grill Tequila Shrimp
Executive Chef Arnulfo Gonzalez, Lahaina Grill

Lei Chic1 lb. 13/15 shrimp, deveined
3/4 cup corn oil
1 tsp. chili paste
1 tsp. cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cumin, toasted
1/8 cup tequila
1 tsp. worcestershire
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 - Butterfly back side and thoroughly wash shrimp.
2 - Mix all other ingredients together. Layer shrimp in a container and marinate for at least one hour.
3 - Take directly from marinade and place in a single layer in a sauté pan. Cook over medium heat until the shrimp are cooked through. The shrimp can also be grilled.


Tandoori Spiced Chicken on Naan Bread with Beet Yogurt
Executive Chef Marc Anthony Freiberg, Neiman Marcus Ala Moana

Lei Chic 1 tbsp tandoori spice (mix your own or specialty store)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 package of naan bread
4 oz good greek yogurt
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 cucumber, peeled and diced small 
1 tbsp feta cheese, crumbled
1 tsp kosher salt
1 small red beet, roasted, peeled, and diced small 
1 tbsp olive oil

1 - Marinate chicken breasts with tandoori spice and olive oil for at least 2 hours; overnight is preferable.
2 - Mix yogurt in a bowl with lemon zest and juice, cucumber, feta cheese, beets, and salt.
3 - Grill chicken, let rest for 15 minutes, then slice into bite-size pieces.
4 - Grill naan bread until warm and cut into little squares.
5 - Top naan with chicken and a teaspoon of yogurt.


Charred Citrus Ceviche
Chef de Cuisine Quentin Frye, Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar

Lei Chic 2 oranges
1 lemon
2 fresh limes, juiced
5 japanese cucumbers
1 jalapeno
¼ cup red onion
1 lb. kajiki, ono, or similar fish
1 roma tomato

1 – Char and juice the oranges and lemon. Juice the lime.
2 – Seed the cucumber, then brunoise (small dice) the cucumber, jalapeno, onion, tomato, and fish.
3 – Mix together and let marinate 1-2 hours.
4 – Serve with garnish of fried tortilla strips.


Sweet Kula Corn and Shrimp Cakes w/ Avocado Sour Cream
Peter Merriman, Owner/Chef Merriman's Restaurants

3 ears of corn
¼ cup corn meal
4 pcs 16-20 shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp cilantro for garnishing
The Cakes
¼ cup milk
¼ tsp sugar
¼ tsp baking powder
Pinch chili pepper flakes
Pinch salt and pepper
½ egg
1 tbsp. vegetable oil


1 - Grill or roast corn without husk then cut kernels off the cob.
2 - Grill or roast shrimp then chop into small pieces.
3 - Saute onion, jalapeno, garlic in 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil on medium heat for three minutes, then add corn and shrimp and cook for two more minutes.
4 - Mix together cake ingredients then add vegetables and shrimp.
5 - Heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in Teflon pan. Spoon 1 tsp. of the cake mix in, brown both sides. Serve with avocado sour cream.

Avocado Sour Cream
Mix ¼ cup sour cream, 1/2 an avocado, juice from 1 lime, salt and pepper to taste in food processor until smooth.


Neiman Marcus's Chef Freiberg also offers
Prosciutto-Wrapped Papaya

Lei Chic 8 thin slices of prosciutto cut lengthwise into 16 strips
2 papayas peeled, seeded and cut into 2 inch by ½ inch pieces
4 leaves of basil and mint sliced thin
1 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil

1 - Lay prosciutto on a clean surface, place a piece of papaya on top and wrap the prosciutto around the middle.
2 - Place on a platter and sprinkle with the mint, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.




The Kahala Hotel's Chef Hirabayashi also offers
Asian Pear Gazpacho with Roasted Scallop

Lei ChicYield: 10 servings
5 pc fresh vine ripened tomatoes
1 oz Chinese parsley
¼ c ea lemon and lime juice
3 pc Asian pears
½ pc red onion
3 clove garlic
3 oz bell pepper
1 pc chilies
3 oz carrot
3 oz celery
1 c tomato juice
4 oz olive oil

For the garnish:
10 pc seared jumbo scallops
2 oz chives
1 oz ea brunoise of cucumber, pear, green and red bell peppers, tomato
2 oz virgin olive oil
1 - Blend together fresh tomatoes, asian pears, red onion, garlic, bell peppers, chilies, cilantro, carrot, celery, lemon, lime, and tomato juice.
2 - Slice one scallop to place on top. Garnish with the small diced pear, onion, cucumber and red bell peppers.
3 - Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cilantro and chives.

Brown's Beach House Ahi Poke
Chef Thepthikone "TK" Keosavang, Chef de Cuisine, Brown's Beach House at the Fairmont Orchid, Big Island

Yield: 6 servings
24 oz small diced #1 grade ahi (tuna)
8 oz small diced sweet white or Maui onion
1 oz fresh ogo or wakame seaweed
12 ea quarter cherry tomato
1 oz bias cut scallion
8 oz shredded green papaya

Poke Sauce
1 cup yamasa soy sauce
1 cup sweet chili sauce
¼ cup sesame oil
¼ cup salad oil
¼ cup chopped fresh garlic
¼ cup chopped ginger
2 oz Kim Chee
2 oz sweet chili sauce
¼ cup yuzu (Japanese citrus) or fresh squeeze of 2 lemon and 2 lime juice

1 - Toast the garlic with salad oil until golden.
2 - Combine all ingredients.

Oven-Dried Tomatoes
Kevin Hanney, Chef/Owner Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar

Lei Chic 6 Roma tomatoes
1 sprig rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
roasted garlic
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


1 - Preheat oven to 175 degrees.
2 - Cut Roma tomatoes in half and toss with other ingredients.
3 - Place on full sheet pan and cook for five hours.
4 - Serve on bruschetta or crostini.

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