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Sunday, December 18, 2011

“Hawaiian and Polynesian Recipes, Part X: Chicken Nishime—an All-Time Hawaiian Favorite made with Konnyaku”

The Grateful Dead’s one-hundred-and-ninth album, “Winterland June 1977: the Complete Recordings, Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA, June 07-09, 1977,” was released on October 01, 2009 and was another great edition of the Retrospective Live Album Series! We love it and think you will, too, so go out and buy it by using the handy link to Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer and get it now! You won’t be disappointed!  Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.



Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 369 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!


                                                   STINKBUG 2011


Chef Cheryl La Tigre

END Commentary 12-19-2011

Copyright © 2011 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 1,511.



Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Monday, December 19, 2011 by Chef Cheryl La Tigre


Hawaiian and Polynesian Recipes, Part X: Chicken Nishime—an All-Time Hawaiian Favorite made with Konnyaku

Bakersfield, CA, 12-19-2011 M: Hello, readers of the Elemental News of the Day, I’m Cheryl La Tigre, an Executive Chef and member of the American Culinary Federation and of  the Chefs de Cuisine of Honolulu, Hawaii, a very stellar organization of the best of the best that Hawaii has to offer foodservice-wise.  I have spent time standing before students instructing them on the skills necessary to join the chefs’ organization and to persevere once they have.  It is a difficult life that requires a great deal of hard work as apprentices carry a heavy load of schooling as well as time on their jobs.  Most of them are lucky to get four-to-five hours of sleep each night and this is good preparation for the life ahead.  I was fortunate enough to have a private apprenticeship of sorts and then was able to leapfrog into the organization as a Certified Working Chef.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t have to take a certain amount of education each and every year as just like any other profession, there’s always new and different things we have to learn, adhere to, or acquire so learning is never done.

I want to thank Stinkbug for giving me this opportunity and for allowing my banner week to run over the Christmas holiday.  I guess it’s because all the rest of them want to take time off to spend with their families and not to be writing blogs for the END whereas I am very proud to be doing so.  We are going to work on Hawaiian and Polynesian cookery for a week and that will be fun as there is nothing better than spending one’s Christmas and New Year’s on Oahu, Maui, the Big Island, or Kauai.  Sure, Molokai and Lanai are wonderful places, too, but they’re sort of like lesser environments as they’re all a part of Maui County.  Each island pretty much is its own county with the exception of Maui which encompasses both Lanai and Molokai and Kahoolawe—the former shelling range of the U. S. Navy which the Hawaiian people want restored to them.  I love Molokai and am glad that Stinkbug has links to the different Hawaiian newspapers on his blog.  I know that some of my fellow writers here have spent time in the islands and that’s a wonderful thing. 

Today, we are going to make Chicken Nishime, a classic dish favored by most of the people of the islands.  It is of Japanese origins and features Konnyaku, a gelatinous paste-like substance that is a member of the yam family and imparts a delicious flavor to the end product.  It can be found in Oriental stores on the Mainland, I’m sure so don’t be afraid to look for it.  They’ll explain its usage to you if you have any questions or you can go to the Japanese Food Report, the link is elsewhere on this blog page. Let’s make it:


Yield:  4-6 servings / Mis-en-place: 20-30 minutes:

Boneless chicken breasts, sliced into strips

Sesame oil

Minced garlic

Minced ginger

Lawrey’s seasoned salt

Lawrey’s seasoned pepper


Chicken stock


Granulated sugar


Bamboo shoots

Sliced button mushrooms

Julienned carrots

Julienned celery

Julienned yellow onions

Peeled and diced russet potatoes

Cold water

Diced eggplant

Slivered scallions

Diced pimientos

Freshly minced parsley flakes


1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work! Note: konnyaku is a gelatinous paste that is derived from the yam family and is cooked into a solid form.  It can be found in packages in Hawaii and elsewhere in the Asian world.  It is prized for its flavor and can be found in most Oriental stores.  Generally, it is made into bricks or strings and eaten as is but in this dish, it’s going to be an accompaniment to the chicken.

2.      Heat a wok or a large heavy-duty skillet atop a medium flame and when hot, add the sesame oil.  Heat the oil and when it’s sizzling, add the raw chicken meat and begin stir-frying it with a wooden spoon or fork.  Cook quickly.  As you cook it, hit it with the spices and blend them in.  When the chicken meat’s become white and lost its opacity, hit it with the sake while raising the flame.  Quickly burn the alcohol off.

3.      Now, add the rest of the ingredients up to the cornstarch and cold water: reserve those.  Continue cooking over a moderate flame until the ingredients are cooked and the liquid has reduced to about one-third of the amount. Continue stir-frying while you combine the cold water and the cornstarch and then using this slurry, pour it in and tighten up the stir-fry, giving its sauce a thickening agent to combine it together.

4.      Now, as you savor the fragrant aroma of the sizzling chicken and vegetables add the eggplant and quickly blend it in.  Once you’ve done this, the Chicken Nishime is ready to serve.  Place it onto a platter atop a bed of steamed Basmati rice and garnish with the slivered scallions and pimientos.  Give it a final dust of freshly minced parsley flakes and take to the table.

Chicken Nishime is a traditional Japanese dish favored in Hawaii.  It is one that is much-beloved by the population and found on the menus of the hospitals and other institutions.  Konnyaku can be found in Oriental shops on the mainland as can most of the other ingredients.

As Bea O’Malley mentioned to you all yesterday and all of my companions before me; I have had a great time today and as always enjoy my opportunities to write for the Elemental News of the Day. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun! Expect that when all of us have run through our cycle, we will be introducing some brand-new talent or so I’m told.

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

Well, that will do it for our first day together and all I can say is “whew!”  I have never done this before, the only time I have instructed anyone has been on one of the college campuses of Hawaii.  So, this is a new platform for me to stand on and I must give my thanks to Stinkbug one more time, he’s a gem amongst gems to give me the opportunity to share my knowledge with you and no less, to do it around the Christmas holiday! I hope that you will all return tomorrow as we will be continuing our series on Hawaiian and Polynesian Cuisine bright and early at 11:59 P.M. this evening—that’s when new blog posts appear.  Anyhow—all we ask of you, dear readers, is that you please leave some comments and/or become a follower and why not spend some money and purchase an album by the Grateful Dead and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com.  We are allied with them and are pleased to market their merchandise! See you next time around! Bye!    

Thanks, my friends!

Cheryl La Tigre

Cheryl La Tigre
CEC, ACF, Chefs de Cuisine Association of Honolulu, Hawaii

This is me back in the 1980’s when I was working at a hotel in Honolulu, HI, on Waikiki Beach.  I began my career in the early 1970’s when I apprenticed to cook under one of the masters on the Big Island where I was born.  I moved to Oahu in the early 1980’s after having worked in both Kona and Hilo, HI, and have been there for most of my professional career.  I have also worked on Maui for a few years (1995-1998) and have also been on Kauai (2001-2003) before returning to Honolulu.  My goal is to prepare the next generation of chefs for the future and also to help the underprivileged in their struggle to attain careers in the foodservice industry.


END Commentary for Monday, December 19, 2011 by Chef Cheryl La Tigre.

Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.


This original essay was authored by the one-and-only Chef Cheryl La Tigre

Recipes created by Chef Cheryl La Tigre on April 26, 1985 in Pearl City, HI.



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