Saturday, March 17, 2012

aloha, huli huli chicken

Why, hello. Happy St. Patrick's Day to you! Despite the fact that I've scheduled this post in advance, I have a feeling I am currently having the most fabulous time with my best friend. Hope you're having fun this weekend, too! Please welcome Margaux, a creative new food blogger who literally travels from within her kitchen, to the Plates from Around the World series:

Aloha! Aloha is a colloquialism in the Hawaiian language used to say hello, goodbye, and love. In 2010, I found out why Hawaii is nicknamed the Aloha State when my husband and I traveled to Maui on our honeymoon. From the moment we were greeted with a friendly “Aloha” and a lei upon landing, we fell in love with the Island and couldn’t bring ourselves to say goodbye.
Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands. Once we set foot on the island, it was easy to see why scenes from Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds had been filmed on the beautiful, lush island. Maui is not just luaus, hula dancers and surfers... though you will find plenty of that, too. Maui is so naturally beautiful, I found myself doubting I was still in the United States and hadn’t actually died and gone to Heaven on the 14 hour flight from New York. “Well ,you were just high on that Just Married bliss” you might say. Oh, don’t believe our 50th state could possibly be that beautiful? Go there! Or, just read this post...
The biggest attractions in Maui are the Hana Highway, Sunrise at Haleakala National Park and beautiful Lahaina. While a jeep is not 100% necessary, rent a car while you’re in Maui. We rented a Dodge Challenger and we were able to climb mountains with the best of them. We stayed at the Westin Maui, which is right in between the beach areas of Ka’anapali and Lahaina on the Western side of Maui. As you drive in to Lahaina on Hawaii Route 30, also known as the Honoapiilani Highway, you’ll find yourself hugging cliffs on one side and looking down at the beautiful blue ocean on the other. I can’t tell you how many times we stopped along that stretch of highway just to take pictures of the view! Along this highway you will also see Shoreline Access markers; look out for these, pull up to any one, grab some snorkeling gear and jump into the water.

Farther along the Honoapiilani Highway, you’ll find Ka’anapali Beach. Ka’anapali beach is a 3-mile long stretch of soft white sand. At the north end of the beach, you’ll find the Black Rock. Black Rock is a rocky peninsula formed from lava rock. It quickly became one of our favorite snorkeling spots.  Grab a couple of towels and your snorkel gear, find a spot on the sand, then float to your heart’s content! The visibility is awesome, even in the deeper parts around the point – you’ll see tons of fish, crustaceans and even a turtle or two.  Once you've gotten your fill of under the sea life, dry off on the sand and watch the locals prove how brave they are by scaling the 25-foot high rock and diving off. A small warning for novice snorkelers – the water gets shallow in some spots and you’ll find that the reef is literally 1 to 3 feet below you. My husband loved that he could get up close and personal with the fish. He even trailed a sea turtle for a bit!
Get back on Hawaii Route 30 Honoapiilani Highway and take it all the way to Hawaii Route 380, the Kuihelani Highway. Then, follow Route 380 to the Hana Highway Route 360 - this is the start of your journey to Hana. There are several bus tours that will take you to Hana, but if you’re up for a little adventure, try the drive yourself – fill up your gas tank and start early. The Road to Hana is an all day trip, but you won’t find another experience like it. It isn’t even about getting to Hana, which is a sleepy little community at the end of the 68-mile Hana Highway, it’s about slowing down to literally stop and smell the flowers and take in the wondrous beauty that Maui has to offer. The Road to Hana is a curvy, twisting coastal road where you’ll find over 10 different waterfalls, amazing cliff views, the famous Black Sand and Red Sand beaches and roadside stands. Do yourself a favor and stop at any (or all) of these roadside standswhere locals sell fresh cut flowers, fruit and vegetables and my favorite, the Huli Huli Chicken. Huli Huli is a favorite amongst the islanders and tourists alike – what’s not to love about sticky, sweet, barbecued chicken? All along the coast you’ll see school children holding up signs for their local fundraiser advertising the Huli Huli chicken with great plumes of smoke emanating from roadside grills behind them. The chicken is traditionally cooked between two grates or grills, and turned over and over again. Huli literally means turn in Hawaiian.
Once we'd wrapped up our trip and gotten back to the states, I would have cravings for Huli Huli Chicken so severe, I knew I had to come up with my own recipe. The problem was… I lived in an apartment and didn’t have access to a big grill where I could turn – ah, I mean huli – my chicken. What to do? Baking it wouldn’t get the skin crispy with those delicious grill marks, and laying raw chicken directly on my oven racks was definitely a no-go. Then I thought, maybe the broiler would do the trick. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen an apartment oven’s broiler rack, but it ain’t big. It shouldn't have been a surprise that my first attempt blackened and blistered the skin while leaving the center mostly raw. Hm... what if I used my grill pan first, then transferred the chicken to the oven to finish? That could work, I thought to myself. And it did! Victory was mine, and so was delicious, sweet, sticky, Huli Huli Chicken.

4 chicken leg quarters (you could use drumsticks, but trust me, you’re going to want the whole leg)
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white wine (one you'd actually drink)
1 piece ginger root, grated
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 lemon, cut in to quarters
  1. Combine ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, wine, ginger root and garlic in a large bowl and whisk together. It’s going to smell delicious and you’re going to want to start dipping things in there immediately fingers, French fries, noodles but don’t! You’ll want every drop of that marinade to soak in to your chicken.
  2. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade, add your chicken to the bowl and coat. Then, cover bowl and allow chicken to marinate for at least 1 hour to overnight. 
  3. Remove chicken from fridge 15 minutes before cooking to take the thaw off. 
  4. Pre-heat your oven to 400* and lightly oil your grill pan –if you’re fortunate enough to have a broiler big enough to fit the chicken and a baking pan, turn your broiler on.
  5. Heat grill pan over medium flame until hot and place chicken skin side down. This is important to get those great grill marks and crispy skin. Cook for 10 minutes, turning halfway through. While the chicken is cooking, combine reserved marinade and 1/2 cup pineapple juice.
  6. Once the skin is grilled, move the chicken to a baking pan brush with pineapple juice-marinade mixture. Place baking pan in center of your oven or broiler. Every 15 minutes or so, brush chicken with extra pineapple juice-marinade mixture – don’t just pour it over the top or the chicken won’t stay crispy. 
  7. Cook for 40 minutes or until chicken is done, and don’t forget to huli your chicken!
  8. Enjoy and aloha.
I don't know about you, but being as I've literally just started eating chicken again, this recipe is incredibly helpful. Not to mention it sounds so freaking good! If I can't yet go to Hawaii, hopefully this will hold me over. Thank you for that, Margaux. As usual, if you'd like to contribute to Plates from Around the World with a recipe like this one, your favorite restaurant in another city, or any other kind of "foodie by travel" story, please email me. Be back soon enough!


    1. this is lovely and i'm so so so sorry my post is so late! :/ it's been cray in these parts.

    2. Thank you so much Danielle for posting! :)

    3. Mackenzie: No worries dear! I have it now and it is just as lovely.

      Margaux: Of course! Thank you so much for participating.

      property dealer in delhi: My pleasure, it was all Margaux :)

    4. Great post!! very informative.
      Thank you very much for such a lovely and informative post.

    5. @Navratna: You're welcome! I love sharing other bloggers.


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