While their specialty is as advertised, being pressed juices, as I was about to leave KCC Farmers Market yesterday morning, I spotted this bowl of what looked totally weird to me sitting alone on the table at the Impressed Juice tent.
There was no sign on it, so I immediately asked, “What the heck is that?!” To which the gal working there replied with a big smile, “Kulolo!” I was totally shocked, as I never ever seen Kulolo prepared like this before!
This Hanalei Kululo from Kauai is what most people are familiar with….
Huge difference in the way the Hawaiian wetland Taro corm and coconut meat is processed, where the traditional Kauai Kulolo’s taro is grated into a somewhat grainy pulp, as opposed to Impressed Juice’ Kululo, where it’s very course, looking like they use a Cheese Grater, or something to that effect….
It could almost pass as a Hash Brown. In fact, that could be interesting! Mixing shredded potato (or sweet potato?) with Hawaiian Taro and frying it like a “Hapa Haole Hash Brown”. Hah, how you figgah?
For those of you who don’t know what Kulolo is, it’s a traditional Hawaiian food usually served at a Luau as a sweet side dish/dessert, along with Haupia, which is similar, except Haupia only has coconut.
Somewhat laborious to prepare, Kulolo is made of grated Hawaiian wetland Taro called Lehua Kalo (the same type pounded and mashed to make Poi), coconut milk, brown sugar and honey, set in a cracker tin lined with Ti Leaves and or Banana Leaves. Traditionally it’s cooked for a long period of time in an underground oven called an Imu, alongside the Kalua Pua’a (roast pig), however modern methods include steam-baking it in a conventional oven.
Its flavor is difficult to describe, where the best way I can put it is, it tastes like you mixed Poi with Coconut milk and caramel, while having a pronounced roasted, earthy tone. Texture-wise, the traditional grated type Kulolo is sort of like Cream of Wheat, while being somewhat gelatinous, like a very firm Jello, or Fudge, if you will.
You can usually find the best, most genuine Kulolo from Kauai on Oahu at Hawaiian food restaurants and grocery stores that offer Hawaiian food at their deli. Alicia’s Market and Young’s Fish Market in Kalihi carries the Hanalei, Kauai Kulolo, for IIRC, about $12/pound.
This unique course-shred Kulolo by Impressed Juice Hawaii are $5 each slice, measuring 3″x3″x1¾” thick, so it’s a pretty generous portion, easily enough to satisfy two people as a snack, or a decent sampling for four.
Let’s cut into it…
According to Impressed Juice owner, Taelson, the Lehua Kalo he uses is from Hanalei, Kauai, so this stuff is legit.
Let’s try it…
And? Frickin’ awesome! Taelson, my brothah, you got a winnah here! I LOVE the course texture. It’s almost like rice. Really, it’s like you’re eating a Kulolo Musubi. Shoots, throw one slice fried SPAM and wrap that suckah wit’ Nori, and Bam! Kululo SPAM Musubi! lol
No, but seriously, it has a deep, nicely caramelized, very genuine “Hawaiian Luau” flavor imparted from the Ti Leaves that it’s baked on. The coconut flavor is subtle, yet there’s enough to enhance it and keep it genuine. What really shines though is that great texture, being very moist, soft and gelatinous like fresh Kulolo should be, while as said before, almost coming across like eating “Kalo Rice”. In a word, it’s Neat-O! lol
I envision taking slices of this course style Kulolo and applying it to a gourmet dish, such as being served alongside a Pulehu (flame-grilled) Island Pork Chop for that “Hawaiian style”, semi-sweet flavor and texture contrast, with the Kulolo acting as the main starch in the dish. Man, I should attend the KCC Culinary Arts program. I think I’d make a great Chef. But ah, I have this blog; I’ll just “ack” like it here. Eh, no ack! lol
Well that was a first for me, trying this course-shred Kulolo, and I think it’s FANTASTICO-MUNDO! Where am I getting all these weird words from? lol
Here’s Impressed Juice full menu at the Farmers Market…
Taelson Larrow, owner of Impressed Juice…
Impressed Juice Business Card…
For more information, visit www.ImpressedJuice.com
P.S. I came across this interesting Chinese Broccoli at the Aloun Farm’s tent called Kai Lan…
I asked the Chinese gal who works there if I could use this like regular broccoli, such as Chinese Beef Broccoli, and she said, totally. I’ll try doing a vegetarian version, using the Hamakua Mushrooms Ken-San recommended.
Here’s my weekly veggies yield from yesterday’s shopping expediction at KCC Farmers Market…
Left to right: Green Onion (2 bunches) @ $1/bunch, Ung Choi @ $2/bunch, Red Onion @ 2 for $1, Kai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) @ $2/bunch, Choi Sum @ $1.75/pkg. and Chinese Parsley @ $1/3 bunches. Source Aloun Farms and Pit Farms c/o KCC Farmers Market.
Finally, here’s an interesting view of Honolulu’s skyline that I shall conveniently retitle as “Honolulu Pipeline”…
That was taken from the driveway that connects the lower parking lot with the upper parking lot on the Ewa side (I always love saying that) of the Kapiolani Community College campus.
Following is the always incredible Tavana, whom in case you’re wondering, he’s half Samoan from his father’s side, while from his mother’s side, he’s part Portuguese, Armenian, English and Irish. Having grown up in Hawaii Kai (Kaiser grad), Tavana now plays gigs all over Oahu, including regular appearances at Kelly O’Neil’s (an Irish Pub in Waikiki) on Lewers Street on Friday and Saturday, and Rum Fire in the Sheraton Waikiki early on Saturdays at 5pm. You gotta’ see Tavana play live! B.B., Hendrix and SRV would be proud!