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Da’ Bes’ Hawaiian Local Style Beef Stew

Stepping outside my pesceterian box once again, craving some hearty summer comfort food the other night, I scoured the web searching for “The Best Hawaiian Beef Stew” and “Local Beef Stew” and “Tutu’s Ono Kine Beef Stew”, with one of the first query returns being from of all sources, Foodland. Which at first I passed on, thinking it would turn out “generic”. Yet, after watching Foodland’s excellent cooking demonstration video, I decided to “chance um”, and you know what? This Local Style Beef Stew recipe ROCKS!!

For those of you folks not from Hawaii, Foodland is Hawaii’s largest locally-owned and operated supermarket chain, founded by the Late Maurice J. Sullivan, who was an amazing man. As I mentioned in the previous post about suggesting Costco Food Court offering Saimin, Mr. Sullivan convinced Ray Kroc to put Saimin on the menu of Hawaii’s first McDonald’s location in Aina Haina back in the late 60’s.

Anyhow, if you search online for “Hawaiian Beef Stew” or “Local style Beef Stew” recipes, you’ll find a myriad of variations, especially when it comes to cooking steps, and the type of canned tomato product to use. Some use tomato paste, some don’t. Some use stewed tomatoes, while some use tomato sauce as one or the other, but not both. Also, some dredge the beef stew meat in flour, while some don’t. Some add shoyu, some add red wine, and the list goes on and on.

My grandma “mama” used to cook a kick @ss Beef Stew, and so does my mom. I also used to follow Sam Choy’s most excellent Beef Stew recipe. Still, I’m always up for trying something new, where I fortunately came across this one.

The key to this most excellent, back-to-basics “Local Style” Beef Stew recipe by Foodland Executive Chef Keoni Chang, isn’t  just the ingredients, but the methods and steps that are taken, so that you properly build the beef stew’s flavor and texture.

Speaking of texture, a personal modification I made to Chef Keoni’s recipe, is that I added a flour “slurry”, which is simply flour mixed with ice cold water, in order to thicken it more to my liking. I prefer my stew to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and stay there, which I achieve by adding the flour slurry right when the stew is all pau. Make sure when you do this that the stew is still slowly bubbling, as you need to cook out the flavor of the flour. On a side note to that, back in the day, my grandmother “mama” used to thicken her beef stew with Poi! But Poi’s too expensive and a precious commodity now, so don’t do that. ;-)

Another minor modification I made was that I added 4 cloves of minced garlic into the stew during the onion saute stage, as every other Beef Stew recipe I’ve followed uses garlic, which I can never get enough.

The final modification I made is that I cooked it in my pressure cooker instead of a conventional pot, which cut the beef tenderizing and stock flavor development stage down from 2 hours to just 20 minutes. Nice! I’m telling you, if you don’t have a pressure cooker yet, GET ONE. You not only save time and energy (= $$$), but the resulting flavor is outstanding! Note that for the final stage when the stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, carrots, celery and potatoes go in, I did it non-pressurized, as I want to monitor the veggies’ tenderness and do my flavor adjusting and thickening at that point.

Following is Chef Keoni’s recipe for the PERFECT ono ‘kine broke da’ mout’ winnahz Hawaiian Local Style Beef Stew. Give it a try!

Local Style Beef Stew by Foodland Executive Chef Keoni Chang. Cooking and photography by Pomai.

A hearty local favorite that will warm your tummy!

By Foodland Executive Chef Keoni Chang


2PoundPremium Choice Certified Angus Beef® Boneless Chuck Roast or Beef Stew Meat
1eachmedium sized round onion, chopped
2Tablespoontomato paste
1leafbay leaf
3eachmedium sized carrots, peeled and chopped
2eachmedium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped
4stalkcelery, chopped
1each15 oz. can stewed tomatoes
1each15 oz. can tomato sauce
2Tablespoonvegetable oil
 eachsalt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large stock pot.
  2. Working in small batches in a single layer, brown the beef, making sure each piece is thoroughly caramelized.
  3. When all the meat is browned, set aside in a bowl, then add 1 medium sized chopped onion and brown, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add in the flour and continue to cook 1 minute.
  6. Add the 2 pounds of browned beef to the pot.
  7. Season to taste with salt and coarse ground black pepper. Add in the bayleaf.
  8. Add water so that the browned beef is just covered. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to medium/low. Simmer covered for 2 hours.
  9. Add the carrots, potatoes, celery, diced tomato and tomato sauce and simmer until the vegetables are tender.

I highly suggest you watch the following Foodland video presentation of this recipe, as it’s a lot more informative on each step…

Finish it with some fresh crack black, serve with hot rice and/or poi and enjoy!

Late night Beef Stew & Rice (mostly the veggies) “session”…

Related link:

AroundHawaii.com: The “Ultimate” Filipino Beef Mechado

P.S. Speaking of Da’ Bes’ Beef Stew, I stay get one Podagee joke for you.

There was da’ Hawaiian, da’ Japanee, and da’ Podagee in college sharing a dorm. All they did with their money was party, so they didn’t have any food in their tiny refrigerator, except for one last remaining bowl of Beef Stew Tutu Aunty made for them, and they all wanted to eat it.

So da’ Japanee guy said, “Brah, K, I tell you what, whoever get da’ best dream tonight can eat da’ stew tomorrow morning.”. “Shoots brah, good idea!” said da’ Hawaiian and Podagee.

So they all went to bed, then when they got up the next morning, da’ Japanee guy proclaimed, “Brah, I had da’ best dream! I when dream I had one massive penthouse on top Hokua Towah (Tower) looking ovah (over) Ala Moana Beach Park, one brand new Ducati Panigale R and one supah hot asian import model girlfriend!”.

Da’ Hawaiian guy replied, “Whoah cuz, mean! But my dream stay mo’ bettah (is better)! I when dream I had one mansion on da’ top of Waialae Iki, one mean (extemely attractive) Hapa-Hawaiian (half-breed) chic (girlfriend), and one brand new Ferrari 458 Speciale!”

The Japanee and Hawaiian then noticed da’ Podagee was M.I.A. (missing in action), asking each other “Brah, where Manno stay?” They then ran out the hallway and found Manno hiding way at the end, demanding of him, “Eh Manno, we both had awesome dreams, and we stay hungry! We like grind (eat) da’ beef stew! What you when dream?” To which Manno reluctantly replied, “I when dream you both was full, so I woke up and I ate da’ Beef Stew.”


58 thoughts on “Da’ Bes’ Hawaiian Local Style Beef Stew

  • July 26, 2014 at 10:35 am

    I am a huge beef stew fan. So i say with disappointment that the beef stew sold at the Foodland deli is horrible. Which is a shame. If they know how to make it right, they should.

    I thicken my stew with mashed potato flakes. Works very well. Great taste. And real good for cutting down the salt if the stew has too much.

    • July 26, 2014 at 11:06 am


      I wouldn’t trust the beef stew at ANY supermarket deli. Whoever is making the beef stew for the Foodland Deli on Kauai isn’t following the Executive Chef’s recipe properly if it’s that bad. They probably didn’t even taste it!

      Meg’s Drive-In here on Oahu in the Kalihi area (where else?!) is known for their ono Beef Stew…

      Meg's Drive-In famous Beef Stew
      Meg’s Drive-In famous Beef Stew

      Interesting method of thickening your beef stew with mashed potato flakes. I’ll try that next time! Mahalo for the tip!

      • January 3, 2016 at 7:38 am

        Recently got to try the beef stew from the new Foodland in Wailuku. It was top notch as was the plate lunch in general. Huge serving with a choice of sides including four or five different salads.

        • January 3, 2016 at 2:29 pm


          Glad to hear Foodland deli (in Wailuku) got the beef stew right this time. Another thing I like at the Foodland deli counter is their Fried Chicken (yes, I said I like chicken this time, but only this one time! lol), as it reminds me of the one Woolworth’s used to sell. Remember Woolworth’s Fried Chicken? LOVED the smell of it, combined with the smell of coffee and scented candles at the Ala Mona location! Foodland’s seasoned steak-cut wedge fries are winnahz, too, providing if they were just made.

          Speaking of Wailuku, I’m sure  you’ve been to Takamiya Market before. That place is AWESOME! Reminds me of Alicia’s Market here on Oahu. So many ono ‘kine bentos and hot prepared foods to choose there!


          • January 3, 2016 at 6:34 pm

            Holy Crap! The Wool(s)worth Deli. My ‘stay broke’ lunch was one cone sushi and one chix breast. I loved the deli counter. The watercrest and pork, nishime, etc.

            My ‘stay broke’ lunch was about a dollar.” In the glove compartment bra, dig deeper”.

  • July 26, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I some times put leftover beef stew in a pot pie or turnover to make and take to work.

  • July 26, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    You used to follow Sam Choy’s most excellent Beef Stew recipe! I’ve got two of Sam’s cookbooks and his beef stew recipe has garlic on it, no water, no canned tomatoes and is thickened with Mochiko rice flour. In both recipe books he stresses the point of building flavor at the start. Muriel Miura and Betty Shimabukuro “What Hawaii Likes to Eat” has a good beef stew recipe; Wanda Adams “The Island Plate” 150 years of recipes from Honolulu Advertiser has a good beef stew recipe originally from former Senate President Norman Mizuguchi (D-Kalihi Valley/ Aiea) which can be altered three ways into lunch wagon style and Betty Shimabukuro “By Request” Honolulu Star Bulletin search for Hawaii’s greatest recipes has a great beef stew recipe from Queen’s Hospital which is thicken with cornstarch and has green peas in it. Then there is the beef stew paniolo style and beef stew curry style. It’s interesting that some people will use 2-3 day old poi to thicken the beef stew giving it a true Hawaiian flavor.

  • July 26, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    @ Ken – I had a feeling you were gonna’ hit me up with a ton of recipes for Beef Stew. You must drive yourself crazy trying to pick which one to use out of the tons of cook books you’ve acquired. You’re nuts. As they say, “More Makule, More Pupule”. lol

    No matter which recipe, I always use common sense cooking practices, especially if the recipe doesn’t sound totally “right”. In the case with Foodland’s recipe, the only thing it’s missing that I think it SHOULD HAVE is minced garlic. Otherwise this one’s spot-on. Next time I’m definitely going to try pat’s method of thickening the stew with mashed potato flakes. Sounds like a winnah!

    Speaking of Paniolo Beef Stew, while didn’t research it, if I were to guess what the origins of “Hawaiian” Beef Stew are, I’d say it came from the Portuguese Paniolo Ranchers (cowboys), using the beef from the cattle they raised and incorporating Portuguese stewing techniques that have a tomato base. Here’s one recipe for Carne Guisada, the Beef Stew of Portugal.

    @ Amy – Ooh, a Hawaiian Beef Stew Pot Pie sounds awesome! My mom likes putting dumplings in her beef stew. Really ono getting some “bread” right in there with the tomato-ee (is that a word?) stew “gravy”. It’s actually better without rice when there’s dumplings in it.

    • July 27, 2014 at 12:27 am

      Pomai, now you got me thinking adding rice with beef stew filling into the pot pie. Like some hot pocket.

    • July 27, 2014 at 8:12 am

      Pomai, we got the idea from Iva Kinimaka. He thickened his beef stew by putting in a diced Russet potato . The real potato was white salad, the sole russet was just for thickening. When you add the potato flakes, it takes a lot more than flour and you can add earlier. But you do not have the flour taste nor the slippery feel that corn starch sometimes imparts. If i do use flour for thickening, I always use Wondra.

  • July 26, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    I’m not that bad with cookbooks as my library is only 300 cookbooks plus the 31 I added specifically on Hawaii Islands and local cooking recipes in the last 8 years. Sorry, I missed a Sam Choy cookbook because I was looking in meat only section; I have 3 of his cookbooks not 2 as I mentioned. I don’t drive myself crazy trying to figure out which recipe to follow because I test most out over time and adapt to my cooking style the ones I like and use the rest for reference especially ones that have authentic recipes from over 122 ethnic origins. That way when I am invited to potluck I can surprise the host and other guests with something they might like plus it makes my daily meals more interesting instead of the same old thing on the plate. In my whole life I’ve never stuck to one ethnic cuisine. According to Muriel Miura and Betty Shimabukuro “What Hawaii Likes to Eat” Paniolo Stew (beef stew) the recipe calls for replacing the potatoes with taro and adding ginger and chili peppers and Audrey Wilson’s “What the Big Island Likes to Eat” recipe for Paniolo Taro Stew (beef stew) is pretty much the same with potatoes replaced with taro, Hawaiian chili pepper and ginger added and poi used as a thickener. In Betty Shimabukuro’s “By Request” Honolulu Star Bulletin search for Hawaii’s greatest recipes she indicates the recipe given to her for Paniolo Beef Stew by Hale Koa Hotel Chef Rolf Walter is Hawaiian in name only and to think of the recipe as Paniolo equals cowboy equals southwestern seasonings. In Joleen Oshiro and Betty Shimabukuro “Hawaii’s Ohana Cookbook” From our family to yours 99-year old Adelaide Ramos Rapozo’s from the Big Island recipe for Portuguese Stew submitted by her daughter Bernadette Rapozo-Mattos is your basic beef stew with Hawaiian chili pepper, a touch of raw sugar and no celery. I forgot to mention you still have beef stew made in a slow cookers and in pressure cookers.

  • July 26, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    On 99-year old Adelaide Ramos Rapozo’s from the Big Island recipe for Portuguese Stew I forgot to mention she uses ¾ cup of white vinegar in the beef stew. It is not heavily spiced like the Portuguese Stew you sent me to in New York City based up-scale Saveur Magazine. I never trust an ethnic recipe that has been New York stylized!

  • July 26, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Ken said, “I’m not that bad with cookbooks as my library is only 300 cookbooks plus the 31 I added specifically on Hawaii Islands and local cooking recipes in the last 8 years.”

    Um, 300 + 31 cook books? Packed in bookshelves in a condo-sized space? Not “that bad”? I think that takes up more cubic space than if I had three girlfriends. LOL!!!

    Anyways, all that said, of all the cook books you have, which Local Hawaii Style Beef Stew would you recommend most, after trying it yourself?

  • July 26, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    If I had to recommend one recipe then I would recommend Sam Choy’s Beef Stew! I like the way he builds flavor at the start which is carried though the whole recipe (a trick he says he learned from his dad) and I like the way he does not use water which dilutes flavors but builds the brazing liquid for the beef other ways in the recipe. Ingredients are straight forward and honest in their flavors. Adding the carrots and potatoes and then the onion chunks and celery in stages builds flavor and keeps vegetables to-the-tooth and using Mochiko rice flower to thicken adds another depth of flavor. Actually I just purchased stew beef to make a pot of beef stew comfort food using this recipe.

    Right now I’m busy mimicking Kentucky Fried Chicken regular recipe with 11 herbs and spices pressure cooked and deep fried to savory goodness!

  • July 26, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Only 1 bookcase, 2 bookcases used as room divider 1, wall bookcase and 1 rotary kitchen bookstand holding 80 cookbooks that I use all the time in daily cooking. Not that bad because when I moved from mainland to Hawaii I got rid of some books and downsized to 1 kitchen. When my wife died I cleaned out her cooking and baking books. I still have plenty of space in my office/den even to open the sleeper sofa for a guest

  • July 27, 2014 at 8:39 am

    My mother makes stew similar to the recipe posted, very heavy tomato content. I think the only difference is that she adds whole button mushrooms, whole (fresh) string beans, and (fresh) corn niblets (kernels?). I always enjoyed it as a kid, but always took the meat out. Now I dredge the mushrooms and brown them, getting that browned flavor, and then make the rest like she did. (Just in case you craved stew when going back to pescatarian)

  • July 27, 2014 at 10:15 am

    @ h – I’m not sure what your mother’s ethnic background is (besides being Jewish), however it must be heavy European if she makes this type of tomato-based dish. String Beans and Corn sounds like a pretty good addition, however the essence of this “local style” is its simplicity: just potatoes, carrots and celery. The same simplicity goes for Macaroni salad!

    Interesting with your vegetarian take on this stew, substituting the beef with mushrooms dredged in flour. I’m thinking Cremini would be an ideal choice. Sounds great! :-)

    @ Ken – Why on earth are you trying to duplicate KFC’s original “11 herbs & spices blend” Fried Chicken recipe when you can simply drive down the street to get it? Well, OK, to be fair, the same can be said for Local Style Beef Stew, especially out there in Waianae!

  • July 27, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Well, my mother makes it the way her (Estonian) mother made it, and I guess the addition of corn and string beans was a matter of using what was in season to jar for the winter. Not to mention, in poor communities (where my grandmother’s family originated), vegetables were important to stretch a meat based dish. I get that yours is based on simplicity. Just offering a different take.

    • July 27, 2014 at 12:31 pm


      Estonian, aye? Interesting. Never ever seen anyone on the Food Network or Travel Channel cover their cuisine.

      According to Wikipedia, “Historically, the cuisine of Estonia has been heavily dependent on seasons and simple peasant food, which today is influenced by many countries. Today, it includes many typical international foods.[citation needed] The most typical foods in Estonia are black bread, pork, potatoes, and dairy products.[237] Traditionally in summer and spring, Estonians like to eat everything fresh – berries, herbs, vegetables, and everything else that comes straight from the garden. Hunting and fishing have also been very common, although currently hunting and fishing are enjoyed mostly as hobbies. Today, it is also very popular to grill outside in summer.

      Traditionally in winter, jams, preserves, and pickles are brought to the table. Gathering and conserving fruits, mushrooms, and vegetables for winter has always been popular, but today gathering and conserving is becoming less common because everything can be bought from stores. However, preparing food for winter is still very popular in the countryside. Being a country with a large coastline, fish has also been very important.”


      • July 27, 2014 at 2:46 pm

        I don’t really know much about Estonian food. My grandmother was brought over in her mom’s arms when she was less than a year old. My mom learned to cook from her, and she learned from her mother. But many jewish women of my grandmother and great grandmother’s era cooked a lot of traditional eastern european Jewish foods as well, so many of my grandmother’s specialties were also my (german) grandfather’s childhood favorites. I honestly don’t know anything about regional hunting and gathering, preserving or presenting foods. Just know what I was raise with. I just know that my mom (and grandmother’s) stew is similar to yours only with the addition of a few more vegetables.

  • July 27, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Living in New England we always had green peas in my mom’s beef stew like the Queen’s hospital recipe I mentioned (New England missionaries inspired??). I also grew up eating Hormel Dinty Moore canned beef stew which has tomatoes and tomato paste in it as ingredients. I always keep a can in the kitchen pantry.

    Pomai have you eaten at KFC lately? Did you know a 3 piece meal is almost $10 in HI! Do you know how much chicken you can purchase for $10? I used the “Modernist Cuisine” KFC knock off 11 herbs and spices recipe based on Colonel Harland Sander’s 1930 recipe adapted 2010 and added a pressure cooking trick (you CANNOT pressure fry in a regular pressure cooker with a rubber gasket) when cooking delicate fried or BBQ foods you do not want to burn you pressure cook (STEAM ROAST in my case I used chicken stock to infuse the chicken) the food first for ½ the cooking time (chicken=7min and manually release pressure) so it will be cooked to the bone before you deep fry or put on a grill. That way you are only finish cooking or frying and not likely to burn the food. I fried the pressure cooked chicken in a cast iron fry pan in Crisco oil to a golden crispy brown finish (about 8 min). To my surprise it tasted and looked like the real KFC original recipe and was far cheaper! “Modernist Cuisine” KFC knock off 11 herbs and spices original fried chicken recipe is a winner!

    BTW because we live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific “Buffalo Wild Wings” adds $5.00 to the menu price of their food items in HI over mainland price. I have the take-out menus from MA and HI. So it is way cheaper to make my own buffalo wings at home verses purchasing them in a restaurant.

  • July 27, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    @ h and Pomai,

    The following is copied from “The American Ethnic Cookbook For Students” by Mark H. Zanger; Publisher Orxy Press 2001; ISBN: 1-57356-345-5; page 103.

    This book details over 122 Ethnic-Americans with sample cuisine recipes. There is a longer recipe for Estonian-Americans in the book called “Rosolje” which is a beet and potato salad that balances the flavors of salted herring and fresh roast beef.


    Only 27,000 Americans claimed Estonian ancestry on the 1990 census, although some estimate the group as high as 200,000. Estonia is one of the smallest countries in Europe, with about 1.5 million people today. The Estonian language is closest to Finnish, but the country was conquered by Germans and then was in the Swedish and Russian empires for most of modern history. Many of the first Estonians to reach the United States, in the 1880s and 1890s, came from other parts of Russia to which they had migrated to escape harsh treatment in Estonia. They were joined by political refugees after the failed Russian Revolution of 1905. Estonia was independent from 1918 to 1940, but another 15,000 Estonian refugees were admitted to the United States between 1940 and 1965; they were fleeing Nazism, Communism, or both. Estonia has been independent again since 1992, using the same constitution it wrote in the late 1930s.

    About half of all Estonian-Americans are thought to live in the Washington-Boston corridor, with many of the rest in the Midwest in Scandinavian and Lutheran communities. Traditional Estonian foods emphasize seafood, dairy products, and salt, and are surprisingly devoid of seasonings like pepper or even onions. Many Lithuanian-American, Latvian-American, and Russian-American dishes will be familiar to Estonian-Americans. Another typical Estonian dish is sult, jellied cold veal or pork.

    Estonian pancakes are thin, like Scandinavian and French pancakes (and unlike German or Russian pancakes). This recipe is from the personal web page of Madis Rehepapp, a graduate assistant at Bentley College. The Estonian name for these is “pannkoogid.”
    4 eggs
    1 quart milk
    About 2 cups wheat flour
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 ounces cooking oil or melted butter (and a
    little more to fry pancakes)

    Equipment: Skillet, baking pan

    1. Beat eggs.
    2. Add milk, sugar, salt, and flour while stirring.
    3. Mix in the oil or butter. Let the mix stand for a half hour.
    4. Melt a little butter or flour in a skillet.
    5. Pour mix into hot pan, making thin cakes.
    6. Turn to brown on both sides.
    Serve with jam, ice cream, honey, or whipped cream.”

    • July 27, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      Thanks for that information!! Really interesting. I think Ill try those pancakes, they sound delicious.

  • July 27, 2014 at 6:27 pm


    Ditto on the Estonian info’. Very interesting. Imagine, Estonia’s entire country’s population is about same as just the state of Hawaii (1.4 million).

    I’ll give those Estonian Pancakes a try. I dig the name, “Pangoogid”. Sounds totally marketable! “Pangoogid Cafe”. Everyone would be like “what the heck is Pangoogid”? lol

  • July 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Now that is one ono-licious lookin’ bowl of stew! I dare not cook this because I might end up gobbling it all – and there goes my girlish figure…

    • July 27, 2014 at 7:49 pm


      I’m going to try the suggestion by reader “h” of doing a “Meatless Local Style Beef Stew”, substituting the beef with mushrooms — in my case, Cremini, a.k.a. “Baby Portobello”. Reason I’m not calling it “Vegetarian Local Style Beef Stew”, is that I’m still going to use Beef Stock for the savory flavor boost, just no pieces of beef meat in it.

      “Meatless” Local Style “Beef” Stew coming soon!

  • July 27, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    @ h and Pomai,

    @ h “The American Ethnic Cookbook For Students” by Mark H. Zanger has dedicated almost 4 pages to the Jewish-Americans, which I quote; “ The 5.8 million Jewish Americans are perhaps the clearest example of how immigrants who were ethnically divided elsewhere became a single ethnic group in the United States.”, of history and 4 great recipes; Matzo Kloese, Matza Brie, Huevos Haminadoes and Carrot-Sweet Potato Tzimmes. I was raised in a Jewish neighborhood with a temple across the street from my house and dated 4 Jewish young ladies over the growing up years of my life and my father worked for the first Jewish elected state governor. I almost converted. I make a mean latke!

    @ Pomai, I would say your better choice would be King Trumpet Mushrooms Tumura Super Market sells organic Hokto brand or Foodland sells organic Big Island Hamakua Alii King Oyster Mushrooms. They are very big and very meaty. They almost taste like steak and you can cut them into steaks or large chunks. I use them in a anytime Jewish dish I was taught of scrambled eggs, onions and mushrooms. I sauté them in a dry non-stick fry pan till they release water and start to brown then hit the pan with a little unsalted butter and they caramelize nicely.

    • July 28, 2014 at 2:29 am

      Ken – I’d love your latke recipe! I make a pretty good one too, and an awesome potato kugel! I’ll try to find that cookbook to read those pages (I love cookbooks). An interesting thing is that it states that the American Jews are a single ethnic group, but we’re not. We’re split between Ashkanazi (the largest group, coming from Eastern Europe, the Yiddish speakers), and Sephardic (coming from the Mediterranean, with its own patois language). There’s also smaller groups like Mizrahi, coming from the Levant and Iraqi jews, but usually they just fall into “Sephardic”. The two groups have different customs and different foods. For instance, an Ashkenzai would have no idea who Huevos Hamminados is, that’s a Sephardic. I think the Ashkenazi equivalent would just be “cholent eggs”. I’m half Ashkenazi, half Sephardic. As for the recipes you mentioned, I’ve never heard of a Matzo ball called a Kloese!! I’m going to ask around and see if anyone else is familiar. It’s kind of nice, in a weird way, to know the real name. Matzoh Brie is NOT for me, and Tzimmes… also not my thing unless it’s strictly savory. But usually honey and prunes find their way into it! I don’t know if I’m remembering correctly, are you from Rhode Island? I seem to remember you coming from somewhere in that area. The oldest standing Jewish house of worship is there, in Newport!

      • July 28, 2014 at 7:43 am


        Interesting that there are Iraqi Jews. Upon looking that up, there are also Palestinian Jews…


        I also had to look up Cholent Eggs.

        What I’m still cloudy about is the difference between Jews as a race vs. religion. I don’t get it. That’s like someone asking me what ethnicity I am, and I say I’m Buddhist (which I am), when I’m actually a mixture of Portuguese (50%), German (12.5%), English (12.5%) and Hawaiian (25%). Can you please explain that to me?

        All I know, is I LOVE Jewish cuisine! :-)

        • July 28, 2014 at 1:29 pm

          There are indian jews, chinese jews, and (very fascinating to me) Ethiopian Jews. Of course there were Palestinian Jews, Jews who lived in today’s israel before 1948 were Palestinians… In Palestine. :)

          As for the race thing, I’m no expert by any means, but here goes: for many groups of Jews, DNA studies will set them apart. This doesn’t happen with, say, Christians or Buddhists. Jews, or hebrews, were a people before there was the religion. Tests can match people with some degree of certainty to regional clans for which there is historical (rather than biblical) evidence. Though, till DNA studies become better and more conclusive, these can’t really be relied on 100% What these studies will show, however, is that many jews who otherwise seem white are not actually white. Maybe not 100% other, And maybe it comes down to the same questions as the Polynesians/Pacific Islanders. Race or Ethniciy? Whatever it is, they aren’t just white. Back to Jews, I think the issue becomes more relevant for the Sephardi, Mizrahi and other Levant/North African subgroups. For them, their race and ethnicity are tied tightly an it’s hard to separate out one from the other. At least that’s my assumption. For me, personally, I feel most comfortable considering it an ethnicity, since that is where my ties feel strongest (as it is not my chosen belief system).

          As for the cuisine… eh, I like the sephardic/mizrahi food, but mid-eastern food is my favorite regardless. As for Ashkenazi (the more common/popular/eastern european ethnicity (which is ironically the most prevalent in Israel due to the relocation of eastern european jews afer the war)), I’m all about the bread (challah, bagel, pletzel, aka “onion board”), potato stuff (kugel, knish, latke) and cookies (only apricot hamantashcen – if you’ve never tried it, find a recipe. I think you’ll like it, Pomai, since the dough is not sweet and the filling is tart instead of sweet). Everything else is gross to me, but then everything else involves meat, or animal fat, or both. I used to stay at my maternal grandparents house an my grandfather would make something called gribbones (sp?) and it was made from rendering the fat from chicken skin into schmaltz (chicken fat) and then frying the crispy bits of skin an onions till dark in the schmaltz.. When I was a kid, I was just like “burnt crispy things, what could be bad?” ugh. You can see some pictures here. My grandfather also used to be obsessed with the unhatched eggs mentioned here. Yuck, yuck, yuck. http://forward.com/articles/135781/jewish-dishes-we-miss/

          • July 28, 2014 at 3:09 pm


            Wow, huge mahalos for that very detailed answer!

            So if you’re born Jewish, even if you change your religion to say, Buddhist or Christian, you’d still consider yourself Jewish as your race/ethnicity? What if you’re an Athiest? Then can you still be Jew? My observation is that Jews have a lot of self pride in being Jewish as not just their religion, but their social identity. No matter what religion or race, it’s one thing to have self pride and social identity, but that they not become fanatical to the point of becoming racist.

            That is fascinating that there are Ethiopian Jews. I’d never expect someone of African heritage to say they’re Jew. Same for Chinese Jews. I have a cousin who recently converted to Judaism from Catholicism, and he’s almost fanatical about his practice, going as far as setting up plans to build a synagogue on his ranch. He even goes on Jewish sabbaticals (maybe that’s not the correct term) to the mainland. I think somewhere in New York.

            We have a lot of young folks from Israel (college age) that work the kiosks at Ala Moana Center (Hawaii’s largest shopping mall, and still the largest open air shopping mall in the nation), and most of them are VERY attractive. As you pointed out, if they are that, the Ashkenazi Jews do indeed look German, although you can tell there’s a mixture in them, as some have more olive-toned skin, where they look almost Greek/mediterranean. The gals have super attractive body structures (long legs, slim waist, good size bustline). As for the Israeli fellahz, well, I’m not lookin’ at them. lol

            Yum, yum, Eyerlekh! Half the list of Ashkenazi Jewish dishes they (note THEY) miss all sound like your worst nightmare, h. lol

            Jewish cuisine seems pretty much the same as most middle eastern cuisine, with their own spin on it, like anywhere else of course, especially the Kosher part. My Jewish ex-coworker made Latkes for us once, which tasted pretty much like hash browns, however what made it especially tasty was the sour cream and apple sauce she served it with, adding this fantastic flavor contrast. Good stuff!

            There aren’t many options for Jewish/Kosher food on Oahu. One I know of is Oahu Kosher, formerly known as Yudi’s Deli.



            We used to have a place called Da’ Falafel King serving Kosher Falafel, however they’ve since closed.


          • July 28, 2014 at 4:44 pm

            Pomai- I don’t know what it will be like in generations to come. However, for people like my mother, who is just first generation american, or me, who is 2nd generation on all sides (I think I’ve told you before that my father’s super orthodox family came from north africa), and a lot of people I know, being Jewish is an identity, an ethnicity. It’s a culture. I suppose the way Hawaiian is your culture and you often mix between pidgin an certain other cultural things. I will always be uniquely tied to Jewish culture as my ethnicity. It’s in my memories, my outlook, the jokes I share with friends from all over who happen to be Jewish, it’s in the food I cook, in so many things. Apart from religion, Judaism is a culture. But of course that culture gets diluted some with every generation who passes, because so much of that culture didn’t originate here. So, yep, no matter my religion, I consider myself to be ethnically Jewish, and it’s something important I would like to pass to the next generations. What I won’t be passing is the religion, since, as I say, I (an atheist-leaning agnostic, anti-organized-religion-yet-quasi-uniarian-universalist) am only ethnically Jewish. I guess a lot of Jews have pride in being jewish. I’m not one for ethnocentrism, so I wouldn’t say I have pride in it (which isn’t to be confused with having shame), it’s just simply the figurative place I come from.

            Now, the more important business, if you’ve only had shredded potato latkes, you haven’t had anything!!!!!!! Latke batter need to have the potatoes blended with eggs, flour, water, salt and pepper till the batter resembles pancake batter. Now THAT makes delicious latkes. The other? Wasted calories (albeit a pretty popular method of wasting calories) :-D

            And with that, I conclude Jewish related discussion. Heaping apologies to Dennis who seems offended by this tangent.

      • July 28, 2014 at 3:43 pm

        @ h,

        In the “The American Ethnic Cookbook For Students” Preface Zanger indicated the book was not about recipes but about people’s stories. “In particular, it is a book about belonging to a group, about cooking and eating foods that remind ethnic Americans where they came from, who they are, and how they can be Americans without losing touch with their ethnic heritage.”

        Zanger writes; “The book focuses on foods that have been used to express ethnic identity in the United States. These are not authentic foreign dishes. They are not necessarily dishes ethnic Americans eat every day or every year. They are dishes that people use to remember another time and place. They are dishes people use to share feelings with a group that has a common history, and frequently, a common national origin, culture, religion, or language.”

        When Zanger describes Jewish-Americans as a main group he also goes into all the tribal, ethnic, religious and locality backgrounds of all the sub-groups that make up the main title group like you have described living in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. He also touches on some smaller groups that have themselves listed to be Hungarian, Romanian, German and some Dutch and the 4 dialects of Yiddish. How New York became a big melting pot of all the Jewish immigrants.

        Zanger created the 122 ethnic groups from the main ethnic national origin, culture, religion, or language as hyphenated American groups and he goes on to describe the sub groups. One of the exceptions to the grouping was Native Americans which are not immigrants so there is no American Indian group because they were always here but he does list the Indian tribes by name and location and both (mother and father sides) of my ancestral tribes are listed in the book. If I break my background down to basic groups it’s American Indian (Cherokee and Narragansett), English, Scottish, Dutch and African-American baptized as an Episcopalian.

        With my 8 year increasing suntan I look Hawaiian and most people on the west side accept as such till I open my mouth and then they ask me why you’d come back or which island you from which I reply Rhode Island it’s a northern island and they shake their heads trying to figure the island name out and where it is in relation to Midway Island. A few more years and I’ll lose my New England accent and talk more like a local. Lol!

        Yes I’m from Rhode Island and I grew up in an Irish and Italian neighborhood and almost married an Irish Catholic nun that I grew up with then my family moved to a duplex with a Jewish family (love Sam and Liz as she was always at the door when I came in/out with 50-questions) in a Jewish neighborhood between Brown University (my aunt was a teaching/research professor), Rhode Island School of Design (my artist brother attended) , Pembroke College and the old Brown University Stadium called the East Side across the street from Congregation Beth Sholom an Orthodox Jewish Synagogue. Then when I got married I moved to a French-Canadian City in northern RI on MA boarder because I was working with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Boston, MA doing medical electronic technology research and heart pacemaker implants. My wife was from Newport and her uncle was the mayor of Newport. I have attended inter-faith services in the first Synagogue built in America the Historic Touro Synagogue and attended black tie parties at all the Belleview Ave. mansions (they called them summer cottages 100 rooms+ and acres of grass lawns overlooking the ocean). My father was the oldest and longest serving appointed State Historic Preservation Officer in the United States and a United States National Park Trust Trustee when he died at age 95 but looked age 50. My father’s mother passed at 101 years old. My wife died after we retired early and moved to Hawaii to fulfill her last wishes to live here. No need to go back to RI because only family member there is my brother (he’s mid 70s but looks 40s). I have been visiting Hawaii since 1968 so I’m more at home in HI plus living in Honolulu is $15,500.00 a year cheaper than back in RI.

        I got to go into the hand written recipe file card box and fine the latke recipe with actual measurements cause right now when I make them I just wing it.

        Just like we group ourselves as Americans there are all sorts of ethnic subgroups, religious subgroups, language subgroups and color subgroups. We are as it is said all chop suey! Mixed-up!

        Mark Zanger autographed his book “The American Ethnic Cookbook For Students” to me and it is a great book to read about and understand everyone you live with or meet especially all the representation of their cuisine recipes and culture. I also purchased a second book by Mark which he also autographed titled “The American History Cookbook”. It details out the history of food in America and the actual recipes used from 1200 to 1973. I like to cook with cast iron so some of the old pre-revolutionary war early settler recipe are fun to recreate and surprisingly taste very good!

        • July 28, 2014 at 4:47 pm

          Wow, Ken! Thanks for all the information. I love to learn where people come from and how they get to where they ended up. You sure seem like you had an interesting life back east. I would have never thought that HI would have a cheaper cost of living. Maybe I need to reevaluate my life in the ridiculously expensive DC area :)

          Thanks, also, for the in-depth review of the cookbook. It sounds like a wonderful one. I love cookbooks so much, maybe I’ll find that one some day!

          • July 29, 2014 at 11:29 am

            @ h,

            I spent many years in DC and the area working GSA; DuPont Cir. Embassy Row, Navy Yard, NCTC where Homeland Security now resides across from American University, Georgetown, love the old DC post office and old DC Union station, Gathersburg, MD, Bethesda, MD, Annapolis, MD, Fort Meade, MD, Crystal City, Arlington, VA, Old Town and new river walk Alexandria, VA, Tysons Corner, VA, Vint Hill Farms, VA, Quantico, VA, Virginia Beach, VA, Norfolk, VA, Lakehurst, NJ and Philadelphia, PA.

            Your latke recipe is like mine but I use milk in place of water, matzo meal in place of flour and I also finely grate raw onion into the grated potato which I squeeze to get as much water out of before adding egg.

          • July 29, 2014 at 12:24 pm

            Oh wow, so you know these parts well. Lots of Jewish delis here! I actually live in Gatherisburg, but right on the line before it starts to get rural in Laytonsville. Before I lived here, I lived in Lancaster, PA. for a few years (and Austin, TX and London) I’m originally from Miami though.

            I forgot about onion in my latke recipe. I use a ton, blend them up with the rest. I don’t use matzoh meal because I like them very thin with lacy edges. It’s not the typical way to make them, but that’s how my grandmother made them, so…

            I make kugel in a similar way, blending (the usual way is shredding, but this tastes so much better) about 10 potatoes (or a big bag of red potatoes if I’m to lazy to peel them :D), 4 LARGE onions, 4 large eggs, 1/3 c oil, salt and pepper. I put some oil in the pan and put it in the oven on high for about 20 minutes, like you’d do for yorkshire puddings, then when the oil is sizzling, I pour in the kugel mixture and the bottom gets really crispy that way, bake at 400 for an hour to 1.5 hours. I don’t cook really anything with matzoh meal, because so many things can be done without.

            This year when I make latkes, I’ll try your milk method!

          • July 29, 2014 at 2:44 pm


            If you ever have the fortune to sit down and chat with Ken, like the Dos Equis commercial, you’d realize he’s one of “most interesting men in the world”. I call him the “Makaha Renaissance Man”! Just the people he’s worked directly with over his storied career is incredible.

            Back somewhat on topic, Foodland contacted me, informing me Chef Chang will be at the Aina Haina Foodland Farms this Saturday at 11:00 a.m., where he will be doing a cooking demo featuring Hawaiian Crown Sweet Gold Pineapple.

            Last month Chef Keoni was featured on national television on the morning show, “Home & Family”. Here’s a video for that, where he demonstrates how to make his award-winning Korean Hot Dogs…


  • July 28, 2014 at 9:13 am

    I bought a pressure cooker awhile back from the downtown Macy’s a few years before they closed. I was inspired by your enthusiastic write-up about the ease of using this cooker, but I have to admit that I’m still afraid of using it. My family never used one to cook so I’m not familiar with it. Kinda like people who are afraid of the microwave.

    • July 28, 2014 at 9:43 am


      What a fitting screen name for this post! Ha-ha!

      Awe, you shouldn’t be afraid of using your pressure cooker. It’s pretty much fool-proof. Once the indicator button (valve) pops up, turn down the heat to low and let her go until the cooking time is complete. Which is MUCH MUCH shorter than a conventional pot, while having much more flavorful results. Simple as that.

      As written in my “enthusiastic write-up” about it, the only mistake I made in my first attempt using the pressure cooker was not turning down the heat once the pressure valve popped up, resulting in burnt Kalua Pork. “The fiyah!”. lol

    • July 28, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      @ Momona,

      I have a 6 liter (L) and a 4 L Fagor Futro stainless steel pressure cooker set that is stacking for storage with small handles and optional trivets, wire rack, steamer basket, solid food pan, dessert and cheesecake pans. I use the 4 L for individual small meals and the 6 L for large meals. Fagor has three built-in pressure safety features. You never fill a pressure cooker more than 2/3 filled due to expansion needs. The 6 L works great with optional standard lid and pasta basket for boiling pasta.

      Pressure cooking is 40% to 70% faster than normal cooking. The Fagor pressure cookers are induction stove ready so at Bed Bath & Beyond you can purchase a Fagor induction stove top with power range in 10 steps for $99.95 with built in digital countdown timer and child-lock plus it comes with a 9 ½” non-stick fry pan . I boil liquid in pressure cooker at step 8-fry (1100W or 360 F) about 3-5 min and when indicator pops up indicating cooker is at pressure I turn the power down to step 4-boil (650W or 210 F) which is keeping just enough heat to the pressure cooker. I set the built-in timer to the recipe cooking time and walk away. When time is up the induction stove automatically turns off and pressure cooker starts to cool off in natural pressure release mode (about 15 min). You have the option to manually release pressure via the cover switch (about 5 min) or to rapid release pressure by running cold water over cover in sink (almost instantaneous). If there is pressure in the cooker you cannot open the lid.

      The reason I use an induction stove top is because induction is 90% more efficient over all other types of cooking ranges; gas, electric, quartz and halogen. So using a pressure cooker 40%-70% faster cooking and induction stove 90% more efficient means it’s safer because stove will not turn on unless a pot or pan is on burner plus remove pot or pan and stove turns off in 30 sec, no heating up kitchen from cooking, shorter cooking time means lower Hawaiian Electric Company monthly electric bill.

      Health wise pressure cooking retains more vitamins and minerals than regular stove top cooking. The basic cooking techniques with a pressure cooker are boiling, braising, stewing, poaching, steaming and steam roasting besides being able to sauté and brown. You can also pressure cooker bake bread and make excellent rice.

      Three excellent web based resources with food cooking time charts, recipes, how-to-guides, suggested books and addressing all types of pressure cookers are as follows (each lady uses the other’s information interchangeably):
      Hip Pressure Cooking: http://www.hippressurecooking.com/
      Miss Vickie’s Pressure Cooker Recipes: http://missvickie.com/
      Lorna Sass Nourishing the Body and Spirit: http://lornasass.com/

      I have 10 pressure cooker cook books full of recipes totaling over 2,000 recipes.

  • July 28, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Why did we ever get off the subject? I mean, going from da’ bes Hawaiian local style beef stew to Jewish stews?

    • July 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      @ Dennis,

      Sorry won’t happen again!

  • July 28, 2014 at 3:31 pm


    Sorry ’bout that. h and I tend to go on off-topic tangents. This is nothing. Go check out the Tanaka Saimin post. That’s one’s a doozie!

    Do you have a special local style beef stew recipe you follow?

  • July 29, 2014 at 7:43 pm


    Are you going to try making vegetarian style beef stew utilizing cremini mushrooms, a.k.a. “baby portobello” in place of beef??? If you leave them whole or cut them in half it should work but I think their flavor and texture will get lost.

    As mentioned earlier, I think King Trumpet Mushrooms or Big Island Hamakua Alii King Oyster Mushrooms would be a better choice because they are meatier and taste like steak. You can chop them up into big chunks and they will stand up to long stewing retaining texture and taste because they are just about all stem and little cap.

    BTW, comparing me to the Budweiser commercial Dos Equis man I believe is stretching it a little as I was just lucky in life to be born at the right time to parents with the right connections and a lot of family and friends that took an interest in me, my childhood to young adult training, education and career path. I was very lucky that my parents trusted my decision making process allowing me to explore taking risks and adventures into different hobbies that blossomed into money making experiences at a young age teaching me about marketing, sales, money management, investment and savings. My chosen career path was defined in middle school but it was a high school teacher that diverted me telling me I had to learn about electronics which was an up and coming field before I could become good at my chosen field of electronic draftsman so when we were just getting black & white televisions and computers were just being developed I entered the field. Another thing that helped was my father would not pay for my college as he said I would appreciate my education more if I worked and paid for it myself. Four years in the Air Force in the electronics field and 2-volunteer back-to-back years in Vietnam combat action also opened the door for cockpit flight crew duty and travel opportunities in Southeast Asia because of my middle, high school and college training. I was just lucky to be ahead of the commercial curve and on the leading edge most of the time in certain electronic fields which opened a lot of business doors. Everything I’ve done in my life can be tied directly back to public schools, my hobbies and adventures, colleges, military experience and training plus hard work which lead to ever increasing research/design/analyst/management jobs to world-wide responsibility with ever increasing salaries and early retirement with financial stability.

  • December 5, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Pomai, if I add the minced garlic like you suggest,  how much would you add?

    • December 5, 2014 at 2:36 pm


      Well, I’d take it 1/4 tablespoon would suffice… nah, jus’ kidding! Geeve’ ’em, cuz! Personally I I’d go with at least 3 cloves, minced. If you’re making a big pot, double that. Just don’t add ginger or you’ll ruin it.

  • December 6, 2014 at 2:54 am

    Pomai, I am shock.  All this time when my grandmother was alive has been making

    Pake style beef stew for she put ginger in it to give that taste.  Indeed taste different than

    regular beef stew at drive inns but never less good .  Pake stye.  Mom make regular one.

  • December 31, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I really laughed out loud at your joke.  I think it found it funny because that’s exactly what my husband would do.  ha ha ha!

    • January 1, 2015 at 10:37 am


      You better watch out. Next ‘ting, your hubby going wake up telling you, “Kerri, Honey! I had one mean dream last night! I wen’ dream we going win da’ lottery next month! For real ‘kine! We going win ’em! So I went to da’ Chevy car dealership and bought myself that brand new 2015 convertible Corvette I always wanted! Go check ’em out! It’s in da’ garage!” LOL!!!

      • January 11, 2015 at 9:34 am

        Unfortunately, that would not be far off the mark :-(  ha ha!  In his case, it would be a 1980 black Pontiac Trans Am with the big gold bird on the hood.  He is an 80’s guy through and through, sigh.  I would draw the line at a mullet hairstyle though, ha ha!

  • September 13, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    I know I’m late to this party, but “Local style Beef Stew” and of course steamed White Rice is in our Mainland-transplanted kitchen often in the Fall and Winter.  Hawaiian Comfort Food!  Well, at least using the recipe from Foodland.  (and you gotta say em right, yeah? STU AND RICE! HA!)

    I change up their recipe just a sukoshi.

    I don’t put in the tomato paste and only use 8 ounces of sauce.

    I use Beef Stock rather than plain water, it’s just tastier.  I add a coupla dashes of Worcestershire sauce as well maybe a teaspoon of Kitchen Bouquet.  I also make sure that there is PLENTY GRAVY!!  GOT to have the gravy with my two scoop rice braddah Pomai!  As the meat cooks for that 2 hours, I check if I need to add water if the liquid evaporates too much.

    MOST ONO!!

    • September 14, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      Auntie Doni,

      I notice every beef stew recipe varies quite a bit in balance of tomato paste and tomato sauce. Some also don’t have one or the other. Of course from there, skies the limit as far as other “secret ingrediments” folks add to make it their own. IIRC, Meg’s Drive-In uses Red Wine. As for thickener, like I mentioned, my grandmother used to use poi for that, but now poi so expensive, “poho” (waste)! I also use beef stock for my stew, or if no more the canned stock, from bouillon. I also like to use Yukon Gold potatoes vs. Idaho or Russet, as they stay firmer longer.

      You really should try a pressure cooker to cut down on time and kick-up on flavor!


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