Cook N Bake Hawaiian Series: Haupia

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake Hawaiian Series Haupia

Dear Readers,

Four recipes down, one more to go and then we will sadly say goodbye to the Hawaiian Series that brought to us all some sunshine during this cold, chilly winter time. If you have been reading about our previous dishes it’s time now to put on a pa’u skirt (the traditional Hawaiian skirt), warm up the oven and throw a wonderful Luau! But wait… you need one more dish to complete the menu, a great dessert to refresh the palate and end the night on a sweet note that will bring a smile on your face: Haupia.

Haupia is coconut pudding. There is no other flavor better than coconut that so well summarizes in a spoon-full the happiness and warmth of Summer. Anyone has at least one memory that coconut with its textured taste brings up to mind, whether from the childhood or from the most recent exotic trip.
In Hawaii Haupia is usually served as a gelatin dessert, however its pudding aspect before becoming firm made it popular as cake topping, particularly on wedding cakes. The Hawaiian local “Haupia pies” are the equivalent of our Western apple pies!
Haupia‘s dense consistency is due to the mixture of coconut milk with ground arrowroot starch (the Polynesian Arrowroot called pia), or cornstarch. Traditionally, nothing else was added, but nowadays sugar and salt are popular additional ingredients, which are then heated with the cornstarch and the coconut milk until smooth and thick. This packed-with-flavor dessert is to be served in very tiny portion, possibly small cubes to accompany a ti tea.

Enjoy Haupia at a party with friends or with a hot cup of tea while listening to the sound of pouring rain. No matter how cold it is outside, Summer is never too far with this coconut delicacy!


2 cups coconut milk
1 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 tsp vanilla (optional)
toasted coconut for topping (also optional)

Into a saucepan pour one cup of the coconut milk and combine it with sugar, cornstarch and vanilla. Turn on the heat on low and keep stirring until thickened. Add the rest of coconut milk with one cup of whole milk. Keep stirring. Pour into 8 inch square pan and chill until firm. Cut into squares and garnish with some toasted coconut.

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Cook N Bake Hawaiian Series: Lomi Lomi Salmon

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake Hawaiian Series Lomi Lomi Salmon

Among the fresh, flavorful dishes of the Hawaiian cuisine is a side dish that can be found at almost any gathering or Luau: Lomi Lomi Salmon. If you’re a fan of poke tuna, you won’t help but love this similar, essential dish.

This week you won’t have to look for banana leaves or liquid smoke, since Lomi Lomi Salmon doesn’t require a particularly difficult preparation. It is a very simple recipe made of fresh ingredients, yet it is one of the most traditional Hawaiian dishes. All you need are tomatoes, sweet onions, green onion and red hot chili pepper if desired, crushed ice and of course, salted, fresh, raw salmon.
Introduced in Hawaii by western sailors, Lomi Lomi Salmon implies within its name to massage the mixture with your hands, as the word lomi suggests (lomi means “to rub, to massage” in Hawaiian). That’s right!, lomi is the same word used also in Hawaiian spas to indicate a massage, but in this case massaging the fish with your hands is necessary to help with melding the flavors together. Massaging the food could also have a secondary but therapeutic effect on who is mixing all the ingredients together! You have to try to believe it.

On curiosity side of things, Lomi Lomi Salmon is cured with Alaea Salt which is salt made of sea salt and a volcanic clay that gives it the reddish pink color. Alaea salt is mellow, but very earthy.
Lomi Lomi Salmon is perfect to compliment any Hawaiian themed dinner, but it is also a low calorie chunky snack that can easily accompany a glass of red wine on a pre-movie happy hour with friends.

Ingredients (serves 6):

1 lb Salted Salmon
3 Large tomatoes, diced
3 Green onions, chopped
1 Round onion, chopped
3 Ice cubes, cracked

Soak the salted salmon in cold water for about 1 hour. If the salmon is too salted repeat the process. Sometimes you might not be able to find salted salmon. In this case, rub it into rock or kosher salt and let it stand overnight. Then soak it for 1 hour.
Remove skin and bones and shed the salmon with the fingers. Place the shredded pieces in a bowl, add tomatoes and onions. Massage the ingredients until the ingredients are broken up and mixed. Let it chill for about 30 minutes and add crushed ice before serving.

image from

Cook N Bake Hawaiian Series: Kalua Pig

Rometti Cook N Bake Hawaiian Series Kalua Pig

In a few days we will be celebrating one of the biggest and oldest traditions, Christmas, so for our weekly Cook N Bake blog we picked a traditional Hawaiian recipe. If you don’t have a Christmas menu planned yet, this one perhaps could be a great idea for a Christmas dinner that your guest will remember for its originality: Kalua Pig.

In Hawaii a party with entertainment and food is called Luau, and Kalua Pig is one of the main dishes served for the occasion together with loom salmon, poke, and fruity desserts. In Hawaii Kalua pig is traditionally cooked in an underground oven called imu, which is an earthy oven, a dirt pit where koa wood is set (koa is a typical, local Hawaiian wood), and once the flames die out, a few rocks are placed on top of the imu in order to maintain the heat. Eventually the meat, after being seasoned, is also stuffed with hot rocks, wrapped in banana leaves, and placed in the imbue, which is covered then with a wet burlap, sand and soil. After seven hours the pig is usually fully cooked and at this point the meat is shredded and ready to serve. Its taste is very smoky and earthy. Such a great flavor can be reached with the addition of liquid smoke when you don’t have an actual imu, however as you may know, it won’t taste exactly the same.

Now, dear Reader, you are probably thinking now that you can’t cook a Kalua Pig without a pig, and without an imu. Well, yes you can! All you need is some pork, liquid smoke, a banana leaf and a few ti leaves. Make sure also to give yourself plenty of time because the meat will need to be slow cooked.

Serve the Kalua pig with rice, mashed potatoes, boiled cabbage.


4-5 lb Pork butt
2.5 tbsp Hawaiian salt (or Kosher salt)
2 tbsp liquid smoke
1 banana leaf (or 5 unreeled bananas will also do the trick)
4-6 leaves of ti (or aluminum foil)

Trim any excess fat from the roast. Make several shallow long cuts along the roast or pierce liberally with a fork. (This allows the salt and liquid smoke to penetrate the meat.) Rub with salt and liquid smoke. Wrap the roast with banana leaf or in the absence of same, place whole bananas on top of meat .
Cut the ribs from the ti leaves and wrap over the banana leaf. Substitute aluminum foil, if ti leaves are not available. (Ti leaves can often be obtained from a local florist). Tie securely with twine.

Roast in a 325-350 degree oven for about 45 minutes per pound. When meat is done, remove ti leaves, banana leaf (or bananas) and shred pork.


Recipe from Mel Tootoo’s Lu’au & Catering, NC.
Image from Seoul Taste

Cook N Bake Hawaiian Series: Sesame Seared Tuna (with wasabi dressing)

Rometti Limoncello - Cook N Bake Hawaiian Series - Sesame SearedTuna

Last week we started the new, Hawaiian Series by illustrating a very easy snack. The dish for this week is a little more layered and sophisticated, but still something that you can pull off easily for a last minute dinner: Sesame Seared Tuna (with wasabi dressing). The inspiration came from Pacific’O, a local restaurant in Lahaina, Maui, where they offer an amazing menu with only ingredients grown at the local O’o Farm. Among the simplest yet more interesting dishes is the Sesame Seared Fresh Fish (Pacific’O Original) with island salad greens, wasabi sesame dressing and rice.

You can pick your favorite fish, as long as it is fresh, but in order to stick to the Hawaiian theme, we recommend using tuna, which is the most important fish in the Hawaiian cuisine. Tuna has become so popular since in ancient times it was salted, dried and brought on long journeys due to its long conservation. A sesame seed crust gives that fully, savory little crunch that contrast so well with the softness of the fish. Sesame is also a great source for Omega 6 acids and proteins.

Although Sesame Seared Tuna is a healthy, tasty dish as it is, it’s the wasabi sesame dressing that enhances and enriches the flavor of the dish. Together with sesame oil and rice wine vinegar, wasabi is the ingredient that strikes one’s palate because of its mustardy, peppery taste which complements the delicacy of tuna and sesame.

Sesame Seared Tuna can be served with greens and rice, and it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. This makes it the perfect dish all year long: it can be a quick, savory lunch, or a simple, sophisticated dinner accompanied by a glass of wine.


For the fish:
1/4 cup Black sesame seeds
1/2 cup White sesame seeds
4 (about 6 oz) Ahi tuna steaks, about 1″ thick
Fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp canola oil

For the wasabi dressing (served 4):
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp wasabi paste
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Combine the black sesame seeds and the white sesame seeds in a shallow dish. Stir them until they are completely mixed.
Season the tuna with salt and pepper and coat it with sesame seeds by placing it in the shallow dish first on one side and on then on the other.
In the meantime mix the soy sauce and vinegar in a bowl. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add sesame oil and wasab. Wisk it until homogeneous.
Warm up a non stick pan until smoking. Arrange the tuna in the pan and cook both sides until the sesame seeds start turning gold, but do not overcook it (about 1 minute each side). Repeat for all the other 3 tuna steaks.

Serve the tuna on top of a green salad and pour the wasabi dressing on top of both. If served with a side of steamed rice it will make a complete meal.


Cook N Bake Hawaiian Series: Spam Musubi

Rometti Cook N Bake Hawaiian Series Spam Musubi

Hello Everyone,

If you think it’s been too long from your last vacation, maybe a tropical paradise will fit you perfectly… If you miss the sunshine while lounging on the beach with waves crashing a shore…Well, get your kitchen prepped and ready to start cooking some Hawaiian food, because Rometti is bringing a little bit of sun this holiday season with our Cook N Bake , Hawaiian series!

Although fresh vegetables, fish, slow cooked grilled or barbecued meat, pineapples and coconut are typical hawaiian ingredients, this week we focused on a very popular local Hawaiian snack made with canned meat called Spam Musubi! I know I know, those of you with a very refined palate will probably turn up your nose at the thought of this, but stick with us on this one you won’t be disappointed!

Spam Musubi has Japanese influences like o-mosubi, or o-nigiri, a ball of rice stuffed with a salty or sour flavor, wrapped in seaweed (nori). But Hawaiians made it their own by using one of the most Hawaiian common ingredients, Spam. Spam (shortened from spiced ham) is a canned product made of precooked meat. It was invented in 1937 and was introduced in Hawaii during WWII as a quick, portable and life saver snack that didn’t need to be refrigerated. Since then, Hawaiian’s never stopped using it, especially with dishes of Asian influence that it goes so well with!

Although small, Spam Musubi is an explosion of flavors which can be enhanced by sprinkling some furikake on top. Furikake is a mixture of sesame seeds, dried seaweed, sugar, salt, powered miso, dried salmon, and many more additional ingredients.  Moreover, in some places Spam Musubi is breaded and fried, or served with teriyaki sauce. You can really make it anyway you like, but what we are illustrating today is the original recipe.

Whether you miss Hawaii or you are simply curious about what they typically eat in the middle of the morning put these ingredients on your next grocery list and go on an adventure with an Hawaiian cooking experience!


1 can Spam 
3 cups uncooked sushi rice
Soy Sauce
Nori Sheets
1 Musubi maker

Tip: have all the ingredients ready to assemble so the Spam will still be hot at the serving temperature.

Cook 3 cups of sushi rice (better if you have a rice cooker).
Mix some soy sauce and sugar in a bowl. Start with equal amounts and adjust based on what your preference is.
Put a saute’ pan on a burner until it gets really hot. Open the can of Spam and slice it into eight pieces (or ten if you want thinner slices). Place them on the pan to grill for about 1 to 2 minutes. At this point pour the soy sauce mix over the Spam which will get a caramelized/salty flavor. When you think the slices are as crispy as you desire, transfer them into a place.
Cut the Nori strips in half and lay the musubi mold on top of it, in the middle. Put a generous amount of rice into the mold. Use the handle to press it down as much as you can, you want to get it as compact as possible since it is supposed to be a portable snack. Sheke some furikake over the rice. Lay a slice of Spam on top and shake another layer of furikake. Add a second layer of rice and give it a final press.
Remove the musubi maker and quickly wrap the nor around the rice.
Eat right away or cover with a plastic wrap for later.


recipe from
image from