These recipes from "Chimugukuru" by Hui O Laulima (Mutual Publishing, $32.95) offer a sampling of uses for three of the primary ingredients in Okinawan cooking: pork, bittermelon and the purple Okinawan sweet potato.
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hidemitsu Tamayose and his wife, Chizuko, who own the restaurant Hide-Chan, contributed several recipes for the book "Chimugukuro."
Rafute, a glazed pork dish, is a staple of Okinawan cuisine, but Hidemitsu Tamayose, chef/owner of Hide-Chan Restaurant, 2471 S. King St., makes his with a miso glaze.
Tamayose and his wife, Chizuko, opened Hide-Chan seven years ago. Tamayose was already a veteran of several Japanese restaurants, but he had to call on a friend for help with the Okinawan dishes.
"Okinawan food I learned from books," Tamayose said. "Then I called my friend in Okinawa. 'How to do this, how to do that?' Then I stopped by his place."
Hide-Chan Restaurant’s Miso Rafute
2 pounds pork belly
1/2 cup miso
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup awamori (Okinawan liquor) or sake
1/2 to 1 cup pork stock
Shave or burn skin hair from pork belly, if needed. Boil and simmer about 1 hour.
Skim oil and reserve about 1 cup stock. Slice pork into 1/2-inch thick pieces.
Mix miso, sugar, awamori and 1/2 cup pork stock. Place pork belly in skillet and cover with miso mixture. Simmer on low heat 1-1/2 to 2 hours, adding more stock as needed to prevent miso from burning. Turn pieces occasionally. Serves 4.
Nutritional information unavailable.
This recipe, a home-style dish of bittermelon and eggs, comes from Gladys Arashiro, owner of the Wailua Marina Restaurant in Kapaa, Kauai. It uses a technique for mellowing the bitterness of goya -- presoaking in salt.
Goya Shrimp Omelet
1/4 cup dried shrimp
1 tablespoon oil
1 8-ounce bag bean sprouts
12 large eggs
Slice bittermelon into quarters lengthwise, remove seeds and cut into thin slices. Sprinkle with salt and set aside 15 minutes to remove some bitterness. Rinse and drain.
Soak shrimp in water 5 minutes to soften. Chop.
Heat oil and fry shrimp until crispy. Add bittermelon and bean sprouts and stir until done. Remove from heat.
Beat 4 eggs. Grease skillet with cooking oil spray. Put 1/3 of bittermelon in skillet; add beaten eggs. Fold mixture, cooking until eggs are set. Repeat twice more. Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 190 calories, 12 g total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 430 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 15 g protein
These fritters, made with two types of sweet potato and rice flour, are a sweet take on the concept of tempura.
For easy mashing, place whole, unpeeled potatoes and 1/4 cup of water in a microwavable container. Cover and microwave on high for 10 to 15 minutes. To mash, put peeled potatoes in a plastic zip-top bag, release air, seal and mash with a rolling pin.
Tumai Kuru Mochiko Tempura
1-1/2 cups (about 1-1/2 pounds) Okinawan sweet potato, cooked and mashed
1-1/2 cups sweet potato, mashed
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoons salt
3 cups mochiko (rice flour)
Zest from one lemon or orange (optional)
3/4 cup water
Oil for deep frying
Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, salt and mochiko. Mix with hands.
Add zest to water, gradually add water to potato-mochiko mixture. Mix until dough is well-blended.
Divide dough into 3 parts. Place between two pieces of plastic wrap. Roll into a 1-by-2-inch rectangular log. Cut into 1/2-inch slices.
Heat oil to 350 degrees. Deep-fry tempura pieces. Makes about 50.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: (not including salt to taste): 150 calories, 9 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 20 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 1 g protein.