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By Request

By Betty Shimabukuro

Wednesday, June 21, 2000

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Orange slices ring the Spareribs in Orange Peel and Honey
Sauce, front. At back, broccoli accompanies the
Dry Fried Chicken.

Favor returned
with rib recipe

ONE good turn deserves a recipe.

A couple weeks ago, Susy Kawamoto shared her recipe for Lemon Cream Pie in this space because she'd read that someone else was looking to make this special dessert.

It turns out Kawamoto has her own recipe request -- she's a big fan of the honey-flavored spareribs served at Yen King in Kahala Mall.

Owner Howard Co was happy to oblige. He also part way granted the request of Jeanne Fung for a recipe for Chinese Orange Chicken. Yen King's Dry Fried Chicken is the base of that dish, but Co doesn't serve it with an orange sauce. For that final touch, we turn to the venerable ladies of Honpa Honwangji Hawaii Betsuin and their "Favorite Island Cookery" series.

Co opened Yen King 18 years ago after a successful stint as co-owner and manager of King Tsin restaurant, where he learned to cook.

Yen King was at first devoted to the Sechuan style of Chinese cooking, but Co is not one to hold fast to a single culinary idea. His menu now also includes foods in the Cantonese, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Peking styles. For awhile he even served Vietnamese pho.

"Because of people's changing tastebuds we are very adaptive," Co says. "Whatever is selling, we keep on our menu, whatever is not selling we delete."

A straightforward philosophy. It extends to developing dishes that customers request based on foods they've tasted at mainland restaurants. Co manages to do this without trying the food himself.

"They describe the dish to us, I call up relatives on the mainland and they go and taste, and they describe to me how it tastes."

The spareribs are a Peking-style dish.

Co boils his cooking strategy down to an acronym -- HTST, for high heat, short time. He says all you need to succeed is a knowledge of how long various foods take to cook, so you know what order to throw them into the pot.

For an impromptu demonstration, visit the restaurant, order the dish and ask to watch as it's cooked. That's a regular part of the Yen King experience, Co says.


1 pound spareribs, in 1-inch cubes, washed and drained
1 ounce piece ginger
2 stalks green onion
1 tablespoon white wine
3 quarts water
Oil for frying and finishing
Dash of soy sauce

Bullet Honey syrup:
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon minced orange peel
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Place spareribs, ginger, green onion, wine and water in a pot and boil for 2 hours. Drain and cool quickly with running tap water for 5 minutes.

Heat oil to 400 degrees and fry spareribs 3 minutes. Drain.

To prepare syrup: Heat wok for 10 seconds, then add all ingredients. Add fried spareribs and stir vigorously for 1 minute until a thick syrup forms. Quickly add a dash more oil and soy sauce. Toss mixture a few times. Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving, without added dash of oil and soy sauce: 320 calories, 24 g total fat, 6.5 g saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 350 mg sodium.*


1 pound chicken wings or boneless chicken pieces
Oil for frying

Bullet Batter:
1 pint cornstarch
1 egg

Bullet Stir-fry sauce:
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
5-7 dried chile peppers, cut up
1 tablespoon white wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped green onion

Combine cornstarch and egg. Add water to form a thick batter.

Cut chicken wings or pieces into 1-inch cubes. Dip chicken in batter. Fry in hot oil until golden brown and crispy. Drain.

Heat wok for 1 minute, then add stir-fry sauce ingredients. Stir quickly. Add chicken. Stir and flip quickly 4-6 times. Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving (chicken wings): 190 calories, 13.5 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium.*

Approximate nutritional information, per serving (boneless chicken pieces): 345 calories, 21 g total fat, 5 g saturated fat, 100 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium.*


"Favorite Island Cookery Book V," Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin, 1989

1 6-ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Thoroughly mix all ingredients.

Use to baste poultry, seafood or meat during cooking or grilling. Or heat in a wok and toss with pieces of meat to coat. Warm leftover sauce on low heat (high heat could cause sugars in sauce to scorch.)

Approximate nutritional information, per 2 tablespoon serving: 50 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 120 mg sodium.*

Food Stuffs: Morsels

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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