Food, family, and hospitality are the cornerstones of the Hawaiian culture. Generations of my husband’s family have lived, loved, and flourished on the Hawaiian Islands, a place steeped in history and tradition. Traditional cooking is one sure way to bring all the family together. Having been raised by his grandparents on Kauai, and since moving to the mainland, he longs at times for the home-style food and memories it holds. So, in order to fill that need and to pass on the love of Hawaiian Food to our family, we have learned to create one of our favorites, Hanamaulu Chicken, here in our own home. And to quote Grandma “People gotta eat”. So why not eat well.
This recipe is one I like to call a memory revival recipe, for two reasons. Reason one, because to taste it brings back so many fond memories, and two, because my husband had to experiment with it from memory to get it just right. I have to admit there were some hits and misses for a while, but with great diligence and a heart for perfecting the true Hanamaulu Chicken recipe for our family to share, he achieved this truly delicious meal. Traditionally this chicken comes in a Box Lunch, available to order at various restaurants on the islands. It is usually accompanied by Won Tons, Char Sue, Macaroni Salad, Rice, and an Oriental Salad. I intend to post these recipes to share in the future.
Ingredients for 1 pound of chicken:
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 Medium piece Ginger Root (peeled and crushed into small pieces)
1/2 Tbs. Salt
4 Tbs. Sugar
1/2 Tbs. White Vinegar
1/2 Tbs. Sesame Oil
1 Tbs. Ground Ginger
1/2 Tbs. Oyster Sauce
1/2 Tbs. MSG
1 Tbs. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
4 Tbs. Soy Sauce
1 Lb. Chicken Thighs
Ingredients for 5 pounds of chicken:
1 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 Large piece Ginger Root (peeled and crushed into small pieces)
1 Tbs. Salt
12 Tbs. Sugar
1 Tbs. White Vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs. Sesame Oil
2 Tbs. Ground Ginger
1 1/2 Tbs. Oyster Sauce
1 1/2 Tbs. MSG
2 Tbs. Garlic Powder
12 Tbs. Soy Sauce
4-5 Lb. Chicken Thighs
I highly recommend using only chicken thighs for this recipe. They should be deboned and then cut in half width wise. And for goodness sake, leave on the skin. It may take some time for this process till you get used to it, but believe me it is worth it in the end. Once you are done deboning and cutting, take a fork and pierce each piece all over.
According to which recipe quantity you choose, combine all ingredients accept the chicken, into a large bowl. I prefer to use a Tupperware with lid. Once all ingredients are well mixed, add all the chicken pieces and coat the chicken well with the marinade. Refrigerate the marinating chicken for up to 24 hours of more, stirring and recoating the chicken several times throughout that time. The longer the chicken can marinade the better.
Note on using MSG. Many people prefer not to use MSG for supposed health concerns. MSG is a meat tenderizer and flavor enhancer. I have found that adding it to this recipe accelerates the rate of absorption of the marinade into the meat. It is just fine if you prefer not to use it, you may just need to prolong the marinating process a while.
This is the batter combination for each pound of chicken you choose to cook at a time.
1 cup Flour
1 Black Pepper
So if I was going to cook 2 pounds at a time, and save the rest for later, I would double this mixture, and so on.
Now were ready to cook.
After your chicken has marinated the appropriate amount of time, you are going to want to fry this chicken. I recommend a deep fryer, but you can also use a wok or a pan, as long as you can completely submerge each piece of chicken. Recommended oil for frying is peanut oil. It is lighter oil and has a higher heat tolerance then say vegetable oil. Set your fryer temperature at 375 or you can use a cooking thermometer to gauge the temp of your oil.
Note on frying chicken or any other meat for that matter:
When you are ready to fry, get your meat out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. Very cold meat will lower your oil temperature and cause meat to be under cooked. Basically, you want your oil to remain really hot, so this is the best way. Really hot oil will get you very crispy, very juicy meat.
OK now your chicken is marinated, at room temp, and your frying oil is hot at 375.
Coat each piece of chicken in the above batter, I recommend 4 pieces at a time to cook together, and drop chicken into the hot oil. Allow chicken to fry 4-6 minutes depending on how big each piece is, 6 min. for large pieces. When done, remove chicken from oil and allow chicken to drip dry on straining rack or paper towels. Chicken will be hot, so cool on rack before eating.
Well, I think I covered everything. This is such a pleasure sharing this family recipe with you; I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we do. Aloha!