Holiday Dishes with a Maui Flare

Spending the holidays in paradise? Hell yeah! If you’re looking to spice up your holiday food routine, below are a few of our favorite recipes to help you put a little paradise in your pantry.

holidays in hawaii


Hawaiian Holiday Dishes


#1 Moloka’i Sweet Potato Pie with Haupia Topping

Source: Lloyd Yokoyama, Hawaiian Electric


1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups mashed Molokai sweet potatoes
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
9-inch unbaked pie shell
Haupia Topping

Haupia Topping

1 can (12 oz) coconut milk
3/4 cup water
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch


Preheat electric oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well.  Gradually mix in sweet potato. Add evaporated milk, vanilla, and salt; mix well. Pour into pie shell and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool. Pour Haupia Topping over pie. Chill for one hour or until haupia is firm. Makes 8 servings.

Haupia Topping

In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk and water; blend well. Combine sugar and cornstarch, stir mixture into coconut milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.


#2 Kalua Turkey

Source: Sara K. Goo, Washington Post


1 1/2 cups coarse sea salt or kosher salt
16-pound fresh turkey, giblets, neck and any other packets removed
1/2 cup liquid smoke seasoning, or more as needed
Water (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have at hand a roasting pan with rack that fits inside.

Use all of the salt to rub the exterior of the bird, its cavity and gently under the skin as much as possible. Then pour all of the liquid smoke seasoning outside and inside the bird, rubbing it into the skin to spread it evenly. Place the turkey on the rack in the roasting pan; cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast for 4 1/2 to 5 hours, until much of the skin is lightly browned and a thermometer inserted into the thigh (but not touching the bone) registers 165 degrees. The turkey should be falling off the bone. Uncover, and let the turkey rest for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, strain the pan juices into a small saucepan. Add water (to dilute) or a little liquid smoke seasoning (to intensify the flavor) as needed. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for about 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and keep warm; its consistency will be thin.

Discard all the skin and remove the bones from the turkey, reserving the bones for another use, if desired. Transfer the meat to a separate large pan or casserole dish or platter. Use two forks or your clean hands to shred the turkey to the consistency of pulled pork.

Before serving, pour the heated pan juices over the turkey and toss lightly to coat. Serve warm alongside white rice and pineapple.

maui christmas recipes



#3 Hawaiian Cranberry Lilikoi Sauce

Source: Amanda Cansler, The Grains of Paradise


3 cups of cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup of water
6 Tbs lilikoi pulp with seeds
1/2 tsp orange zest


Bring water, O.J. and sugar to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add cranberries, lilikoi and orange zest and bring to a boil again. Cranberries will start to pop and break their skins. After this happens, remove from heat and mash with a potato masher. Cool and store in fridge.



#4 Upcountry Corn Malasadas

Source: Chef Isaac Bancaco, Maui No Ka Oi Magazine


3 large eggs, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
2 packages instant dry yeast
3 ears of sweet corn, blanched then grated
1 cup cornmeal
6 cups flour
5 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
vegetable oil for frying


Grate the corn off the cob. The corn milk adds liquid and thickening agent to the malasada batter, and the smaller kernels prevent the dough balls from falling apart. In the mixer, combine the sugar, butter and salt with 1 egg and process on medium with a dough hook for 1 minute. Add 5 cups of flour, cornmeal, grated corn and yeast, and beat for 1 minute. Add warm water (99° is best), evaporated milk and vanilla and beat until well blended. Stir in remaining 2 eggs and ½ cup flour, and beat until dough is smooth, soft and a little sticky (about 10 minutes). Scrape down sides of bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean towel, then plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Punch down dough and cut into 2 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into a rectangle of desired thickness. (Chef rolled his ½” thick.) Cut into 2” squares and place in refrigerator to set. This preparation can be done ahead of time.

Just prior to serving, fill a medium saucepan with oil about 2” deep and heat to 350°. In small batches, add dough squares and fry till golden brown on both sides, flipping only once. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Let stand about 5 minutes so that interior dough finishes cooking and guests don’t burn their mouths. Serve with honey butter.


Full Disclosure: I have not made any of the above dishes, but they all sound delicious. Happy cooking and even happier holidays!

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