Let’s Talk Food: A quick correction and other food notes

  • Courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Ahi salad from Thep Thai Cuisine.

  • Courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Fried calamari from Thep Thai Cuisine.

  • Courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Oxtail soup from Thep Thai Cuisine.

OOPS!

I forgot to put the amount of vinegar in the orange chicken recipe. Here it is again:

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Orange Sauce for Orange Chicken

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)

2 tablespoons garlic, pressed

1 teaspoon ginger, minced

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white distilled vinegar

3/4 cup orange juice

In a small bowl, make a slurry of cornstarch and water:

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup cornstarch

After mixing chicken with sauce, top with:

2 teaspoons sesame seed oil

Set a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat and add oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the red pepper flakes (if using), ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add sugar and brown sugar, and stir to combine. Add in orange juice and allow the sugars to begin to dissolve in the liquid, stirring occasionally. Add the vinegar and soy sauce, and stir to combine. Add the cornstarch slurry and whisk to combine. Add to the pan and stir.

Continue to cook the sauce until maple syrup consistency is achieved. Add in the fried chicken and stir until completely coated in the sauce. Top with sesame oil.

Thep Thai Cuisine Hawaii

After much delays, Thep Thai Cuisine, owned by TK Thepthikone Keosavang, recently opened at Puna Kai Shopping Center in Pahoa. Drive to the back of the center, close to the gas station, and you will find the restaurant. We frequent TK Noodle House when we are in Kona, so we really enjoy the same cuisine on the east side of the island.

The menu is the same as in Kona, which is very ambitious with many selections. Check out the Thep Thai Cuisine home page with the menu and beautiful pictures. Call 965-8155 for reservations, as the tables are limited, or to order takeout. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. seven days a week.

I first met TK when he was the chef de cuisine at The Fairmont Orchid Hotel in Waikoloa. We worked together to put on a fundraiser dinner and, after working with many chefs throughout the years, I remember TK as very competent and easy to work with. His experience working the hotels and restaurants in Las Vegas gives him a well-rounded approach to his cuisine.

Thank you, Chef TK, for opening during a difficult time amid the pandemic!

Ohana Foods

Ohana Foods, located at 511 W. Kawailani St. in Hilo, has plate lunches as well as an assortment of groceries. Owners Carl and Amy Okuyama, a wonderful couple, started to feature malasadas in the morning. It must be delicious, as I tried to buy some the other day and the store was sold out.

Ohana Foods is open 6 a.m.-9 p.m., serving breakfast from 6-10 a.m. and daily specials from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Call 491-2600 for specials of the day or takeout orders.

Hats off to businesses such as Ohana Foods, which opened just before the coronavirus pandemic struck and the eventual stay-at-home orders took place. It is difficult to open a business, but add the situation we have now and it is even more challenging!

Thank you, Carl and Amy!

Bitter zucchini?

Sometimes zucchini can be bitter. It is a member of the squash family and contains the bitter-tasting compounds called “cucurbitacins.” Choose zucchinis that are average in size, not super huge. If you do end up with a huge one, peel it and then salt it. Cut the zucchini the size you would need it in your recipe, then sprinkle with kosher salt and let sit on paper towels for 10 minutes, then pat dry. The salt will draw the excess water out, along with the bitter flavors.

Caramel corn

Last week, I wrote about popcorn. If you ordered mushroom popcorn kernels, here is a Cracker Jack recipe:

Caramel Corn

Makes: 8 cups

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for the baking sheet

1/3 cup popcorn kernels, preferably mushroom kernels

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons dark corn syrup

2 tablespoons molasses

2 teaspoons roasted peanut oil

Kosher salt

1/2 cup raw peanuts

Put the vegetable oil and a few test popcorn kernels in a large pot. Heat over medium-high heat until the kernels pop, then carefully add the remaining kernels in a single layer. Cover and cook, shaking the pot, until there are several seconds between pops.

Transfer the popcorn to a bowl. Lightly oil a baking sheet.

Wipe out the pot, then add the sugar, corn syrup, molasses, peanut oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the peanuts. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often until the candy thermometer registers 290 degrees, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and sit in the popcorn until coated.

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Transfer the caramel corn to the prepared baking sheet and let cool, then break into small pieces.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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