kruizing with kikukat

Monday, March 26, 2012

Local Style: Warabi-Kamaboko Salad

Happy Kuhio Day!  I'm so grateful today is a holiday.  Last week, work was brutal.  Going back to work after a vacation is so difficult.  To make things worse, I had two days of training scheduled (I was the trainer).  I think the training really took the wind out of my sails.  I can only hope that this week will be better, but it already includes a drive to Naalehu for an all-day meeting.  From where I live, driving to Naalehu means leaving the house by 6:00 am, as I refuse to drive over the speed limit anywhere in the national park.  Thats how I'll get to spend my Friday.

The Ds spent this weekend with me.  The house is not any neater than it was before they returned from Honolulu, which leads me to believe I'm the messiest out of us all.  I was hoping the weather would start getting warmer, but it wasn't to be.  Saturday was totally gloomy, and my trip to the Farmer's Market became an essay in how to avoid puddles, extremely slow people, and extremely rude people.  I was behind a throng of people, and I saw this lady pushing her way through the crowd, rudely shoving her body in gaps, trying to get through.  I was horrified when I saw her face. . .it was a local (well, she was born in a foreign country) teacher.  It was THE same teacher whom I saw in Ross who made the cashier, after being rung up, put all her stuff on hold because neither she nor her partner (male) had the $8+ to pay for her purchases (looked like kiddie clothes).  This is the kinda stuff that drives me crazy.  This lady is a science teacher, so obviously she must know how to add.  Isn't it just common sense to know that if you don't have a credit card, you need to have enough cash to cover your purchases?  Ross (haven't been there in a while since its still Lent) has actual price tags on their items, so its not like you need to check out before you have an idea of how much your purchases will cost.  This is the same lady who told me she needed to wear sunglasses in class because of light sensitivity and then in the next breath said how she loves to hang out at the beach.  Hello!!!  No wonder kids get all kinda crazy messages.  The teachers are crazy. . .well, SOME teachers are crazy.

The farmers market trip yielded a pound of biew kew longan, a basket of Waimea strawberries, prickly Japanese cucumbers, and a bunch of warabi (also known here as ho`io. . .I may be missing an okina, or vegetable fern. . .it is NOT the fern that is known to be carcinogenic).  With this wet weather, I'm sure warabi must be thriving in the gulches.

Warabi is something you either love or hate.  I belong to the former.  I love seeing a pan of warabi salad when I go to parties.  Unfortunately, that doesn't happen often so I usually get warabi from the Farmers Market.  I have also seen warabi for sale at KTA and RC tells me Marukai sells it on Oahu (at the price of gold).  Warabi can be prepared in a variety of ways, and my favorite way to eat it is in a salad.  Because its parboiled, it still retains some crunch without being woody. 

My favorite warabi salad recipe uses dried codfish, a flavor which I love.  Some recipes call for dried shrimp, but the flavor of fubuki tara is the best.  Unfortunately, it is not always available in stores, so I buy a big bag when I see it and store it in the fridge to use as needed.

Another ingredient this recipe calls for is shiofuki konbu.  Shiofuki konbu is dried seaweed strips that looks like its coated in white granules (salt).  Some people enjoy eating shiofuki konbu with tea rice.  Sesame oil and shiofuki konbu are complimentary ingredients, and a quick salad can be made by tossing sliced cucumbers, grated carrots, shiofuki konbu, and sesame oil.  Both fubuki tara and shiofuki konbu can be found in the asian foods section in most local markets.

 click on recipe title for printable recipe
Warabi-Kamaboko Salad

     1-2 lbs warabi
     1 tbsp white vinegar
     1 block kamaboko, cut in strips
     3 tbsp sesame oil
     1 pkg (1.5 oz) shiofuki konbu
     handful fubuki tara (shredded codfish), long pieces cut shorter
Wash warabi well.  Cut into 1 1/2" lengths, keeping tops separate from thick stem portions.  Boil water in a large pot.  When boiling vigorously, add vinegar.  Stir briefly.  Add stem portions and cook 3 minutes (do not let water boil), then add tops and cook an additional minute.  Drain.  Plunge into ice water until cold.  Drain well.  In a large bowl, combine warabi with all other ingredients.  Chill and serve.


  1. thanks for posting a picture of the fubuki tara.

  2. No problem. Its not always easy to find, even in Hawaii.

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    1. @Vincent~merci beaucoup pour l'idee. I just registered at the site and added the petitchef logo to my blog pages. C'est Jeudi dans Hawaii maintenant et demain est de vacances. Bon fin de semain!

  4. why vinegar not salt in par boiling the warabi

    1. The vinegar helps the keep the warabi bright green.