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Star-Bulletin Features

Wednesday, November 22, 2000

win the 2000
hekka battle

By Nadine Kam

The Waipahu Marauders and Campbell Sabers continued their rivalry Saturday. But this time it was in the kitchen, not on the ball field.

The Marauders, along with culinary teams from Ke Kula Wai and Nanakuli High School, took on last year's champion Campbell High School in the second annual Chicken Hekka contest at Hawaii's Plantation Village in Waipahu.

Not bad for a bunch of kids, who, up until a few weeks ago, had never heard of hekka, according to instructor Elaine Matsuo.

"Unfortunately, it's a plantation tradition that hasn't been carried on to the next generation," she said. "We eat too much readymade and fast food these days."

With no preconceived notion about this simple plantation stir-fry, the students were free to be creative and came up with something quite sophisticated.

"We didn't want to mix the flavors," said Waipahu senior Bryan Abuluyan, who was on the team with senior Roel Salanga and junior Jennifer Bayani. "We wanted everything to have an individual taste."

So rather than combining all the ingredients in a wok, the students cooked marinated chicken, long rice and vegetables separately, then arranged them on the plate, layering chicken on noodles and encircling the mound with vegetables. They garnished their competition dish with won bok and whole shiitake mushrooms.

Here's the winning recipe:

Waipahu Marauder
Chicken Hekka

4 boneless chicken breasts, in bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1/3 cup chicken broth

1 bunch long rice, soaked in water 10 or 15 minutes

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

Pinch of pepper

1/2 onion, sliced into 1/4-inch widths

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1/2 cup carrots, julienned

1/2 cup celery, in 1/8-inch slices

5 shiitake mushrooms, in 1/8-inch slices

Baby bok choy for garnish

Bullet Chicken marinade:

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons mirin

1/8 teaspoon five-spice

Combine marinade ingredients and marinate chicken at least 30 minutes.

Steam baby bok choy 2 to 3 minutes until tender. Keep warm.

Sauté chicken on medium heat in 1 tablespoon peanut oil until done. Set aside. Keep warm.

Bring broth to a simmer. Add long rice, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce and pepper. Place on plate.

In remaining tablespoon peanut oil, stir-fry onion, ginger, carrot, celery and shiitake. Add remaining tablespoon oyster sauce. Cook until al dente. Place vegetables around the long rice. Place chicken on top of long rice.

Garnish with green onion and bok choy.

Nutritional information unavailable.

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