Taco Tuesday (Hawaiian Fusion): Kalua Pork with Roasted Pineapple Salsa


Hawaiian Taco’s? Heck yeah!

Mom used to make some delicious Kalua Pork growing up.  She would smother the pork in rock salt and add some liquid smoke and cook on low all day. The smell coming from the oven was divine!

When it was done, falling off the bone, she would shred it and drizzle with soy sauce. I would steal bites while she was doing this. Kalua Pork is one of those things that you could just stand in the kitchen and pick with your fingers. I’m sure she had to slap my little hands away to get it to the table.

Once it got to the table she would serve it with plain steamed rice and salad or coleslaw. Yum!

In this recipe, I used Hawaiian pink salt along with the liquid smoke and wrapped the pork in Ti leaves before sealing it into a tight foil package.


The Ti leaves add a nice floral note to the pork. If you can’t find Ti leaves, banana leaves can be used. You can find them at your local Asian grocery.


I decided that I would go non-traditional and make taco’s with my Kalua Pork. And to keep with the Hawaiian theme I made a roasted pineapple salsa to go with it.

The warm succulent pork doused with a bit of soy sauce, topped with the roasted pineapple salsa and then wrapped in a warm corn tortilla was a delicious alternative to the traditional  pork carnitas tacos. Add a bit of cheese and shredded cabbage for extra yumminess!

To make the Kalua Pork:

  • Pork shoulder blade roast bone-in about 4 lbs
  • Hawaiian Alaea salt 2-3 tablespoons
  • liquid smoke 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ti leaves about 3
  • 2 cups water
  • foil
  • Soy sauce

Lay out foil on counter. wash Ti leaves and pat dry. Cut out the hard stem and and discard then lay leaves out on top of foil.IMG_20170612_151736836

Rinse pork and pat dry. cut little slits in pork with knife. Rub pork with the salt all over and into the slits. Rub liquid smoke into pork. Place on top of Ti leaves fat side up. Wrap Ti leaves around pork. Hold leaves into place and wrap tightly with the foil.


Place in a roasting pan with the 2 cups water. Place in a 300 degree oven and cook for about 8 hours. Remove from over and let stand for about 15 minutes. Open package and remove pork to a large platter. Shred pork with 2 forks. Pour juices from inside foil over pork for extra flavor and juiciness. Then drizzle with a bit of soy sauce. Yum!

Serve pork in warm tortillas with roasted pineapple salsa, cheese and finely shredded cabbage.

For the Roasted Pineapple Salsa:

  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1 fresno chili pepper,  stem and seeds removed, chopped ( or red jalapeno)
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Place all ingredients except oil salt and pepper on a sheet pan. toss with a bit of olive oil to coat and then season to taste with salt and pepper.


Place in 425 degree over 20-25 minutes. Stirring halfway through. Cool. Place in food processor and pulse just until pureed.


Place in a bowl and add:

  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/8 red onion, finely mined
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice

Stir to combine, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on tacos and with warm crispy tortilla chips. Yum!






Hawaiian Plate Lunch

plate lunch
I am so glad that spring is finally here after the crazy winter that we have had this year.
It reminds me that Summer is right around the corner. And that means spending time with friends,outdoors, grilling.
One of my summertime favorites is Hawaiian BBQ. A friend of mine ( Julie) and her husband E.T.(Samoan/Hawaiian) have a BBQ every year and there is never a shortage of yummy Hawaiian fare. Pans are overflowing with grilled chicken, beef ribs and kalua pork, grilled vegetables, bowls filled with Macaroni salad and potato salad and a hot steaming rice cooker full of steamed rice. Someone always makes a big pot of Sapa Sui (Hawaiian Chop Suey) and Taro cooked in coconut milk.
 The guys bring their Guitars, Ukes, Drums  and other instruments and entertain us with the beautiful songs of the islands while we eat, drink and enjoy each others company sharing memories of times gone by and creating new ones. And laugh! ( there is never a shortage of laughter).

The first time I had ever had Hawaiian plate Lunch was with my friend Julie. We were at a Hawaiian restaurant watching her husband’s band that was playing there that night. My plate came to the table loaded with succulent grilled meats,  2 big scoops of rice and a scoop of creamy Macaroni salad. Once I tasted it I was hooked!

Plate Lunch basically consists of your choice of meat( grilled chicken, Kulua Pork, Portuguese sausage, Poki, etc..) 2 scoops of sticky rice and 1 scoop of macaroni salad. I have made this recipe with grilled teriyaki chicken. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Hawaiian Plate Lunch: Grilled Teriyaki Chicken

For the Chicken:

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sambal
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Place chicken thighs in a gallon sized ziploc bag. In a bowl, wisk together remaining ingredients to create marinade. Pour marinade in the bag with the chicken and massage it around so that all of the chicken is in the marinade. seal bag and place in the refrigerator to marinate overnight. Remove chicken from marinade and cook on a hot grill turning as needed until chicken is cooked through. 165 degrees internal temperature on meat thermometer. Remove meat from the grill and cover  with foil. let meat rest 10 minutes before serving. Once meat has rested, slice and serve with rice and macaroni salad.

mac salad2

For the Macaroni Salad:

  • 1/2 of a 1 pound package ( 1/2 pound) of elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup scallions, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup real mayonnaise (best foods)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic ( not garlic salt)

Cook macaroni until soft (not al dente) . drain and place back into pot. stir apple cider into cooked macaroni and let cool about 15 minutes. In a bowl, add celery, scallion and carrots. in another bowl mix remaining ingredients to make dressing. Place cooled macaroni in the bowl with vegetables and stir to combine. Add dressing and stir to combine. Place in the refrigerator to cool. Once salad has chilled, stir and serve

For the Rice:

  •  2 cups dry short grain rice

Rinse rice under cold water. Cook rice according to package directions. I cook mine in a rice cooker.

Kitchen Table Memiors: Thai Fried Rice


Oh how I love Thai Cuisine! My very first experience with Thai food was in the second or third grade at a Blue Birds/Camp Fire Girls meeting. This wonderful lady from Thailand came in as our guest speaker and taught us how to make Kow Pad (Thai Fried Rice). I had never had anything like it before and so simple and yummy! I have since had many wonderful Thai dishes but there is nothing like that first experience as a child trying something exciting and new. I like to make this anytime i have some leftover cooked rice.


Kow Pad (Thai Fried Rice)

1 Clove of Fresh Garlic, Minced

3 Green onions chopped

3 Celery Stalks Sliced Thinly on the Slant

1 Raw Chicken Thigh, Cut Up

1 Egg, Slightly Beaten

Black Pepper

Soy Sauce

1 Tbsp. Sugar

2 Cups Cooked Long Grain White Rice

Saute’ garlic in 1 Tbsp oil. Add chicken and brown. Add pepper to taste and celery. Add a few shakes of soy sauce and sugar. Create a hole in the center and fry egg. Lower heat, add rice and more soy sauce and pepper to taste. Add green onions last, serve.