Marukai event helps Japanese cultural groups


POSTED: Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Come celebrate the best that Japanese culture has to offer at The Taste of Marukai — an evening filled with mouthwatering food, delicious sake and extraordinary fun hosted inside the Marukai Wholesale Mart Dillingham location.

This event is a fundraiser to benefit nonprofit community organizations that work to preserve the Japanese culture in our state: the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce and the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce. In the last two years, more than 600 guests attended the event, and proceeds from the first three years generated $25,000 each year, which was donated to the three nonprofit organizations. This year, Marukai is pleased to extend its reach to support another community organization, the Hawaii United Okinawa Association.

Two newly opened restaurants, Zen Shu Izakaya Restaurant and Sports Bar on Kapahulu Avenue and Off the Wall Restaurant in Pearl Kai Shopping Center, will be featuring specially prepared dishes at the event. There'll be live entertainment, karaoke, and special tea preparation, demonstrations and tastings. For an additional donation, guests can purchase tickets for a chance to win roundtrip airfare for two to Japan on Japan Air Lines and other great prizes. Marukai will provide every guest with a “;Scratch and Save”; card for discounts ranging from 5 percent to 50 percent on purchases made that evening.

To whet your appetite for Japanese food, we're sharing these tasty recipes. Itadakimasu!


Vegetable Rice Sushi

3 dried shiitake mushrooms
3 cups water
1/4 pound warabi (fern shoots), optional
2 1/2 cups rice
1 tablespoon mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon hondashi (Japanese fish-flavored soup granules)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely diced gobo (burdock root)
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons sake (Japanese rice wine)
6 sheets sushi nori (dried seaweed sheets)
Black sesame seed

Soak mushrooms in 1 cup of the water for 20 minutes; reserve liquid. Remove stems from mushrooms and finely dice caps. Blanch warabi and cut into 1/4-inch pieces. In a rice cooker, wash and drain rice. Add the reserved mushroom liquid, the remaining 2 cups water, the mirin, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, the hondashi, and salt. Stir well and cook. In a skillet, heat the oil. Saute mushrooms, gobo, and carrot for 1 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, the sugar, and sake; cook for 1 minute. Add warabi; cook for 1 more minute. When rice is done, fold in vegetable mixture; cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Cut sheets of nori into halves. Place rectangular musubi mold widthwise in center of nori; fill mold with rice. Using mold press, pack rice into mold; remove mold. Fold nori over rice, seal edges with water. Cut in half diagonally. Sprinkle cut sides with sesame seed. Makes 12 sushi.

Approximate nutrient analysis per serving: 180 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 500 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 4 g protein


Goya Champuru

“;Okinawan Mixed Plate,”; a cookbook by Hui O Laulima

1/4 pound belly pork
2 medium-sized bittermelon
1/2 block (20-ounce size) firm tofu, drained
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt

In a small saucepan, cover pork with just enough water to cover pork. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until pork is tender and can be easily pierced. Cool, cut into 1/4-inch slices. Cut bittermelon in half lengthwise, remove seeds, sprinkle with salt and let stand for 20 minutes. Rinse and drain well. Slice into 1/4-inch-wide slices. Heat oil in skillet to medium-high, add pork and fry until lightly browned. Break tofu into pieces and stir-fry until browned. Add bittermelon, increase heat, and season with salt. Cook for 1 minute or until cooked to desired doneness. Makes 3 servings.

Approximate nutrient analysis per serving: 420 calories, 36 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 25 mg cholesterol, greater than 800 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 25 g protein


Raspberry Tofu Cheesecake


1 package (12 ounces) House Sukui Tofu or any brand of extra-soft tofu, well drained
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
9-inch graham cracker pie crust
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
Fresh raspberries for garnish (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, beat tofu, cream cheese, and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. In a small saucepan, soften gelatin in 1/4 cup water, heat over low heat until gelatin is dissolved; stir into tofu mixture. Pour filling into crust. In a blender, puree the raspberries with the 1/4 cup sugar; pour over tofu filling. Refrigerate pie overnight. Garnish with fresh raspberries. Makes 8 servings.

Approximate nutrient analysis per serving : 350 calories, 19 g fat, 250 g saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 31 g sugar, 6 g protein


Hawaiian Electric Co. presents this weekly collection of recipes as a public service. Many are drawn from HECO's database of recipes, accessible online at www.heco.com.