By Request

By Betty Shimabukuro

Wednesday, November 10, 1999

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
The Big Island's Cafe Pesto serves a salad of red and
Okinawan purple sweet potatoes, with Maui onion,
celery and carrot for crunch, and a mayonnaise
dressing to bring all the flavors together.

Kona specialities
hit the spot

This week's requests are for intriguing sweet-potato-based recipes from restaurants on the Big Island.

Diane Pyles is after the potato salad at Cafe Pesto in Kawaihae, a salad made with purple Okinawan sweet potatoes. "It was terrific," Pyles says. "I have tried to duplicate it and cannot seem to get the same flavor."

It turns out to be a simple recipe that yields a flavorful salad that's moist but not too creamy.

Manager Lisa O'Leary says it's been on the menu since the restaurant opened 12 years ago with its emphasis on Pacific Rim cuisine -- with fish, pastas, pizza and organic produce in several salads being key to the menu.

Request No. 2 comes from within the newsroom, from staff writer Burl Burlingame, for the African Peanut Soup at the Aloha Cafe. He had a bowl while visiting the Big Island to cover the arrival of the ship Endeavour.

The Aloha Cafe is housed in the Aloha Theater in Kainaliu, south of Kona, where art and independent films -- most recently, offerings from the Hawaii International Film Festival -- have been shown since 1932.

The cafe offers a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu as well as fresh-baked goods. The soups actually come from baker Cathy Haber, who says she always offers a vegetarian choice.

We've never seen proof that Burl actually cooks -- the one time he brought in something homemade it was a, shall we say, unusual, Scots dish called Haggis, and his mother made it -- so what he plans to do with this recipe, who knows? We'll all be waiting to see how long it is before he is able to simmer and puree his way through this soup and bring us a sample.


Potato Salad

Cafe Pesto

1-2/3 pounds red potatoes, peeled, medium dice
1-1/3 pounds Okinawan sweet potatoes, peeled, medium dice
3/4 cup Maui onion, small dice
3/4 cup celery, small dice
1/2 carrot, peeled and grated
1 cup mayonnaise
1-1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Boil red and purple potatoes separately until tender, but not soft. Drain and cool.

Combine remaining ingredients and mix gently with potatoes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Serves 10 as a side dish.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 280 calories, 18 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 360 mg sodium.*


African Peanut Soup

Aloha Theater Cafe

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
3 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
2 large sweet potatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds), peeled and coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
4-1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons peanut butter
Pinch cayenne
1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
1 tablespoons cilantro

Brown onions in oil, then add garlic, ginger and spices. Cook 3 minutes.

Add tomatoes, sweet potatoes and carrot. Cook 5 minutes.

Add water and salt. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Place soup in a food processor or blender and blend almost to a puree. Add peanut butter while blending.

Stir in cayenne and peanuts; top with cilantro. Serves 6.

Approximate nutritional information, per 1-cup serving: 180 calories, 8.5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 450 mg sodium.*

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
By Request, Honolulu Star-Bulletin Food Section,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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