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How to make Hawaii plate-lunch-style macaroni salad. Two recipes.

The beauty of macaroni salad is that it is quite forgiving and welcomes a wide range of personalization and experimentation. It’s a casual dish that easily adapts to any type of food or occasion—it is, in other words, quintessentially local.

Basic Macaroni Salad

To make a basic macaroni salad, you don’t need a recipe; just follow these guidelines:

The pasta: Cook 1 pound elbow macaroni (for really local style, cook until soft and fat, but you can go al dente if you prefer).

The flavoring: Stir in ¼ cup very finely grated onion. Not minced, chopped or sliced—grated. It should be liquidy (this is how they do it at Diner’s, a local eatery in Kalihi).

The mayo: At least 2½ cups for real local style. But there are no rules, so use less if you like. Or more.

The add-ins: Carrots, watercress, celery, hard-boiled eggs, pickle relish—whatever suits you.

The finale: Salt and pepper, to taste. Stir well; refrigerate.

Macaroni-Potato Salad
(Serves 8)

½ lb. macaroni
8 hard-cooked eggs
3 red potatoes, cooked and cubed
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vinegar
2 cups mayonnaise
½ tsp.     ground allspice
½ tsp.     pepper
1 package frozen peas, thawed and drained (10 oz.)

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Separate egg yolks from egg whites. In a small bowl, mash yolks and chill. Chop egg whites; put into a large bowl with macaroni and potatoes. Stir in salt and vinegar; chill overnight.
Add egg yolks and remaining ingredients; gently mix into macaroni mixture. Chill.


Kau Kau: Cuisine and Culture in the Hawaiian Islands
is available for purchase from HAWAII Magazine sister company Watermark Publishing by clicking here.

We'll be posting more excerpts and recipes for favorite Hawaii foods from the pages of Kau Kau on HawaiiMagazine.com in the weeks ahead. Hope you're hungry!

Photos: Dawn Sakamoto (pgs. 1, 2), Watermark Publishing (pg. 3)

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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
Top 5 favorite Hawaii plate lunch foods
L&L creates 3-lb. plate lunch. I eat it.
Of gods and plate lunches

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