Kau Kau Kitchen                                                        Iune 2010
by Leilehua Yuen 

Celebrating Hawai`i Foods and Lifestyles for over 25 Years


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         Kau kau, pronounced "cow cow," means "food," or "meal" in Hawaiian pidgin. It is also used to mean "to eat," as in "let's go kau kau" - "let's go eat."
         The Kau Kau Kitchen
™ cooking column and books have been popular in Hawai`i since the first column (right) appeared in the
Hawai`i Tribune Herald in 1983. Though it no longer appears in print media, Leilehua still receives requests for Kau Kau Kitchen™ books and other products. She is planning to bring back the entire line of Kau Kau Kitchen™ products. Bookmark and return to this site for updates!       

`Ohi`a `Ai - The Mountain Apple

     Dad’s `ohi`a `ai is covered in little tiny fruits, bringing to mind the many past harvesting seasons – sometimes two, three, or even (one time) four in a year from that prolific tree. He ono kela! So sweet, crispy, juicy – I munch away as I harvest, the wai running down my chin, across my hand and off my elbow.
     The fruit does not last long on the shelf, or ship well, so it remains a special seasonal treat available, for those who do not have their own tree, from the yards of friends and family, and in the farmers’ markets.
     `Ohi`a `ai is an early Polynesian-introduction to Hawai`i. Thought to have originated in Malaysia, it is now found throughout much of south-east Asia and Polynesia. Botanically, it is identified as Syzygium malaccense. It has many local names, due to its early and widespread distribution. Among the more common names are mountain apple, Malay apple, water apple, wax apple, jambu, darsana, and in Tahiti it is the ahia – very similar word to our own `ohi`a `ai. Read more . . .

Rice Cooker Review

     I inherited my Sanyo 10-cup rice cooker when I moved into the old family home in which my grandparents had lived. I found it while cleaning out one of the kitchen cabinets. Cobwebbed and dusty, I was sure it would be added to the huge pile of broken appliances and other detritus a home which has sheltered the same family for 75 years tends to collect.
     Still, not one to throw away something that could possibly have a use, I sprayed Simple Green on layer after layer of grime, finally revealing the white paint and black plastic handles. Brillo, and then 000 steel wool pads restored the shine on the aluminum pot. I filled the pot with water and set it in the cooker, uncoiled the old cord, and finally, one finger hovering over the "kill switch" on my power strip, plugged it in.
     It worked perfectly. I poured out the water and made a pot of rice.
     I have no idea when it was purchased, but the worn paint and plastic, dinged pot, and scarred lid would indicate some years of heavy use.
     When I was growing up in that house, we did not have a rice cooker. We had a rice pot, a big, heavy aluminum pot Nana, my grandmother, would pour the appropriate amount of rice into. I then had the nightly chore of washing the rice and adding the correct amount of water - place the tip of my thumb on the rice and add water until the knuckle was covered. The pot was then simmered until the water was gone, and a glossy lumpy surface showed on the rice. The fire was then turned off, the lid replaced, and the rice allowed to steam. After the rice had been served, a crispy golden brown layer was carefully peeled off the bottom of the pot and reserved for Tutu, my grandfather. That was papa`a (toasted) rice. It was a very special treat.
     Some time after I left home, obviously, my Nana acquired a rice cooker. Read more. . .

     Rice, one of the world's great staples, is celebrated in art, as well as on the platter. Click on the image at left to enjoy some tasty posters of a global favorite!


     Play a game and help feed people! The vocabulary game at www.FreeRice.com is fun for the whole family, and is a great way to develop your child's (and your own!) vocabulary.
     Learning new vocabulary has tremendous benefits.
     It can help you:    

  • Formulate your ideas better
  • Write better papers, emails and business letters
  • Speak more precisely and persuasively
  • Comprehend more of what you read
  • Read faster because you comprehend better
  • Get better grades in high school, college and graduate school
  • Score higher on tests like the SAT, GRE, LSAT and GMAT
  • Perform better at job interviews and conferences
  • Sell yourself, your services, and your products better
  • Be more effective and successful at your job

     After you have done FreeRice for a while, you may notice an odd phenomenon. Words that you have never consciously used before will begin to pop into your head while you are speaking or writing. You will feel yourself using and knowing more words. Help yourself and help others - play the vocabulary game at www.FreeRice.com