Beef Stew – Comfort Food for da Locals

If you go to any restaurant that sells local food here in Hawaii, you can bet your *okole that Beef Stew will be on that list —- *guarenzz.

Chicken and Dumplings is to mainland, as Beef Stew is to Hawaii. This is one of the top comfort foods any local will tell you. Just ask my husband. It’s his favorite.

It took me some time before I mastered Beef Stew. The key is to get your meat cooked just right so that it melts in your mouth. Serve it over a bowl of hot rice, and you got some *ono kine grindz. I adapted this recipe from Harry Kojima’s recipe book I found many years ago.

Whenever I make beef stew, I always chop everything up ahead of time. It just makes it easier and little less time consuming while I’m cooking. Making beef stew does take a couple of hours, but if you have all your ingredients prepped before starting, it will feel like no work at all.

Things to chop: onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, garlic, salt . . . (just kidding), and some good chuck roast.

Assuming all your ingredients are chopped, heat a pot with about 2 tbsp of oil on medium high while you dredge your beef first. For all you first time “cookers”, dredging is just sprinkling a coat of flour over your meat. Once your oil is hot, throw your garlic in and as all the TV chefs say, let the flavor infuse. This will actually only take a couple of seconds. Once you smell that garlic, throw your meat in to brown.

Now remember, we’re not fully cooking the meat at this point. If you try to do that, you will end up with *ono kine rubba. We’re just browning the beef. Stir around your beef in the hot oil. The outside of the meat should have a nice brown color. You’re meat will not look cooked enough to eat. In fact, it will look more raw than cooked. That’s how you want it at this point.

Next, throw in your onions, (I’m not sure why I’m always throwing my ingredients around. Part of my bossy nature I guess). Cook the onions with your meat for a few minutes. Pour in your water and add your bay leaves. Turn your heat to a low medium heat, enough to have the water simmer. Cover your pot with a lid, but not completely. I usually have a small opening for steam to escape, and so I can make sure my heat is not too high that the water is boiling, and not too low that the meat is just sitting there bathing. The recipe I use says to simmer your meat for about 1 1/2 hrs. I usually don’t start my dinner in time to allow my meat to simmer for that long. I usually just simmer the meat for about 30 to 45 minutes. See. Enough time to watch a Hulu episode of Team Damon or whatever floats your boat. Once you got  your fill of Team Damon, or whatever show you were watching. What? It’s not called Team Damon. Ok, nevermind. Back to the recipe. Add your vegetables at this point.

To give it color and more flavor, pour in a can of tomato sauce and some salt.

Then partially cover your pot and allow to simmer for another 30 to 45 minutes. After your stew has simmered, you will want to thicken your stew. I cheat and just use a thickener and get it to “stew thickness”.

When your beef stew has been thickened. It’s ready to be poured on top a plate (or bowl) or hot rice. Please make sure you have some hot rice on standby. You cannot eat this any other way. You just can’t. There IS no other way to eat Beef Stew when you’re in Hawaii. If you want to be called a local, you gotta have rice.

Oh my goodness, if you follow my directions, your meat should melt in your mouth when you eat this. And if this does happen for you, you may in fact pronounce yourself a beef stew master. Go ahead and take a bow.

*okole = your bootie     *guarenzz = guarentee           *ono kine grindz = really delicious food            *ono kine rubba = really delicious piece of rubber



Difficulty: Not that hard               Prep Time: 15 minutes                    Cook Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours                   Servings: Feeds a Family of Six Hungry People


2 cloves of garlic, chopped                                       2 Tbsp oil

1 1/2 pounds of chuck roast, cubed                        1/2 of an onion, chopped

5 cups of water                                                          2 bay leaves

1 cup of chopped carrots                                         1 cup of chopped celery

1 cup of potatoes, cubed                                         1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce

2 tsp salt

Heat oil in a pot set on medium high heat. While oil is heating, dredge beef in about 1/2 cup of flour. Once oil is hot, add garlic and cook for just a few seconds, then add in your beef. Brown beef for about 2 minutes, then add in your onions and cook for a few more minutes.

Once your onions are looking a little cooked, your meat is partially brown, pour in water and throw in your bay leaves. Set your heat to medium low, partially cover your pot with a lid and let your meat simmer for about 30-45 minutes.

At this stage, pour in your chopped vegetables, can of tomato sauce, and add in your salt. Mix all your ingredients and partially cover your pot again, leaving it to simmer for another 30 to 45 minutes. When your meat and vegetables are cooked, you’ll want to thicken your stew. Once it’s thickened, it’s ready to eat. Pour over a bowl of hot rice and just enjoy this local favorite.


Da Beezee Coconut


Andagi aka Okinawan Doughnuts, is a local favorite. The crunchy texture combined with the sweetness of the dough, makes this a must have at carnivals, festivals and fairs in Hawaii. When I’ve run out snacks in my house, this is my go-to treat. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser in our home. They don’t last long. In fact, my husband is lucky if he even KNOWS that we made andagi. We’re so bad. Here’s a step-by-step in case you can’t wait for the next Bon Dance. I found this recipe in one of those school fundraiser-type recipe books. Love those. They have the best recipes. The indgredients you’ll need to grab: FLOUR, SUGAR, BAKING POWDER, SALT, MILK, 1 EGG, VANILLA, OIL.

Got ‘em. Good. Now let’s get to it.


First you’re gonna deal with the dry ingredients. Grab some flour and pour it into a clean bowl. The clean bowl part is important. If it’s not clean, then I’m not responsible for how your doughnuts turn out. I’m just saying.

Next, pour in the sugar. If you’re bowl is still not clean, well, may the force be with you.

Add some baking powder for fluffiness.

Then add a little salt, like, a pinch.

Take your whisk and mix ‘em up good, then set the bowl on the side.

Next up, the non-dry ingredients. You’ll want to get a separate bowl to put these in and yes, I still insist that your bowl be clean initially. Pour in some milk.

Crack in an egg.

You’ll need a little oil.

Don’t forget the vanilla. It completes it.

Take that whisk again and give it all a good whirl, hurricane style.

It is time to bring together the wet and dry. Pour the wet ingredients in.

I would use a big spoon for this one. I’m not sure what the mathematical ratio is, but I’m sure there is more dry ingredients than wet, so your dough will be on the dry side.

See – it should look like this big, sticky blob. Bet you’re glad you didn’t use a whisk.

Grab whatever size spoon you want to use to scoop up the batter. Whatever floats your boat. Of course, the bigger the spoon, the bigger the doughnut. Me personally, I use a tablespoon. My doughnuts come out about the size of golf balls, divets not included.

Scoop and drop, carefully of course.

Watch it fry. He looks kinda lonely. We should add some friends.

Now they’re having a party.

After a couple of minutes, you’ll be able to see them browning on the underside. That’s your cue to turn them over. If I was real authentic, I would have used chop sticks like my mother-in-law to turn them over. I promise, they’ll still taste good even if you only have tongs available.

Look at that golden-brown deliciousness. They’re smiling, oh wait. No. That’s me smiling because they are about ready.

. . . . . and they’re done. Ta-Da! Hope you like them.


Difficulty: Easy-Peasy                Prep Time: 10 mins                Cook Time: 20 mins

Servings: Makes 20 golf ball size doughnuts

Dry Ingredients Wet Ingredients (aka non-dry ingredients)

2 cups flour                                                                3/4 cup whole milk

1/2 cup sugar                                                             1 egg

2 tsp baking powder                                                2 tsp vegetable oil

pinch of salt                                                               1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pour some oil into a pot, deep enough to fry in. Turn the heat to medium-high. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and combine them using a big spoon. The batter will be on the dry, sticky side. Scoop out the dough with a tablespoon and drop into the hot oil. Let them cook until they turn a nice, delicious golden brown. Put them on a paper towel to drain. Wait for them to cool a little, then eat ‘um up!