Aloha! Our Epic Cooking Journey to Hawaii

Last week Mr. N took us to Indiana for our  mid-week stateside adventure. This week it was Miss A’s turn and she went for a more exotic destination – Hawaii! She’s been quite fascinated with the state after learning that mom, dad and Mr. N were there before she was born and that we’re trying to plan for a trip there again next year (fingers crossed!). The first choices for our dinner were obvious – a Tropical Fruit Salad and the nonalcoholic version of the Lava Flow. Mr. N and I indulged quite frequently in this delicious little drink on our last trip to the Big Island, and he was very excited to try them at home. As for our main course, after a little digging through internet recipes we decided to try the Manapua. Coincidentally the manapua recipe was brought to the Hawaiian Islands by the Chinese – so it’s a good fit for our international theme this week too. 

 The meal prep for the manapua began at lunch time. Miss A and I lined a baking dish with frozen bread roll dough (we used the Rhodes frozen white dinner rolls). We then covered them and let them “take a nap” for the rest of the afternoon. Miss A was quite surprised to find that they doubled in size when we “woke them up” that evening. I think she is convinced that she will grow at nap now as well (And I swear some days it seems as though she does!)!

Later in the evening we began preparing the rest of the meal. Our first step was to blend the strawberries, lime juice and sugar for the lava flows. The mixture needs to be slushy, so after blending we set it aside in the freezer for later.

Next we began work on the tropical fruit salad. We combined pineapple, papaya, kiwi, strawberries and lime juice for this dish. Mr. N sliced the strawberries for us, while Miss A squeezed in the lime juice. The kids loved sampling this dish as they were making it – no doubt it was going to lead to a high spoon rating for them. Mr. N and Miss A both took turns mixing the fruit together before setting it aside in the fridge for dinner.

Now it was time to start the manapua recipe. The first step was to mix the ingredients for the Char Siu (a Chinese barbecue sauce). Mr. N and I whisked that together while dad chopped the green onion and minced the ginger, water chestnuts and garlic. (Miss A was benched for a brief penalty for a two-year old-style tantrum involving tin cans.)

We then began to brown the ground chicken on the stove to which we added the char sui and other ingredients. Dad dissolved the cornstarch in the water and then added it to the simmering meat – stirring constantly for several minutes. Once the sauce is thickened, it’s then cooled for 10 minutes before adding it to the rolls.

To prepare the rolls, we separated them, flattened them and placed them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Miss A sampled our BBQ stuffing and gave it her seal of approval before filling the rolls. We then placed a tablespoon of filling on each roll, folded up the sides and sealed them. They baked in the oven for about 20 minutes. The result was tasty looking, golden-brown bbq filled rolls. Yum!

And last, but not least, we finished making the lava flows. We blended together coconut cream, pineapple juice and bananas. Scooped a bit of the strawberry slush into the bottom of the glass, added the pineapple/coconut/banana blend and topped it off with some more strawberry slush. Now this looked tropical!

So after one hour of cooking, one broken glass, one two-minute penalty, one mangled roll and several sibling squables…dinner was ready. And it was well worth the experience! Both Mr. N and Miss A gave the lava flows and fruit salad 4 spoons. Miss A surprisingly even declared, “I like this a lot!” about the lava flow and had two helpings of the fruit salad. Mom and dad gave the lava flows four spoons and the fruit salad three spoons. As for the manapua – another solid result. Dad, Miss A and I gave them three spoons (although dad said they were close to a four) and Mr. N gave them two spoons. Not his favorite dish – but he did keep eating them unprompted. All-in-all we enjoyed our Hawaiian meal and look forward to sampling some authentic cuisine next year!

Print these recipes: Tropical Fruit SaladManapua and Lava Flow (Non-Alcoholic)

12 thoughts on “Aloha! Our Epic Cooking Journey to Hawaii

    • ChefMom says:

      The drink is soooo good. Mike had the alcoholic version in Hawaii and loved it. I’ve only had the virgin drink – I was pregnant with Miss A when we were in Hawaii. 😉


  1. Amy says:

    2 weeks from now, we’ll be in Hawaii!!! So, thanks for the preview. And holy cow it must be tantrum week, as we’ve been having them left and right in our house. I remember reading that sometimes babies just need to cry. Perhaps the same must be said for 2-year-olds.


    • ChefMom says:

      Maybe that’s true. They do change on a dime at this age. One second all smiles and giggles…the next they’re screaming and throwing everything! Are you so excited for Hawaii?! It’s going to be a blast!


  2. sallybr says:

    Hawaii, one of our favorite destinations, hubby and I have been there five times and wish we could go again soon…. North Shore of Oahu is our usual spot, but maybe one day we should try Maui, I heard it’s even more amazing…


    • ChefMom says:

      We’ve only been once, but it is amazing! Next year hubby has a conference in Kauai, so we’re hoping to all tag along. I think we’ll likely fly into Oahu if we go. Any suggestions for “must-sees?”


  3. Laura says:

    Love this one! All three dishes sound great. I laughed out loud at the tin can tantrum – I can identify! I think the terrible twos are starting early at our house!


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