Friday, October 28, 2011

Kahala introduces curry winner

Nadine Kam photos
A beautiful array of crab claws and mussels topped the Thai green seafood curry. part of the Kahala Hotel & Resort's weekly lunchtime International Curry Bazaar.

The Kahala Hotel & Resort augmented its popular Wednesday International Curry Bazaar all-you-can-eat buffet with the Oct. 26 unveiling of its "All in the Family Curry Contest" winner, whose dish will be among the curries featured from noon to 3 p.m. every Wednesday in November at the Plumeria Beach House.

Contestants entered a favorite curry recipe via Facebook or Twitter, and Noella Monteiro won with her grandmother's recipe for yellow shrimp curry. The Pakistani recipe is saturated with turmeric and spices that was toned down for mass appeal. Those who like their curries hot were welcome to add more chili to the dishes, as well as condiments specific to the various styles of curry. To accompany Monteiro's curry, there was toasted, shredded coconut, cranberries, peanuts and raisins.

An Punjab-style chicken-spinach curry came with options of mint and mango chutney and cucumber-mint raita.

Lanterns graced the Indian curry table at The Plumeria Beach House at the Kahala Hotel & Resort, home to a popular lunchtime curry buffet.

The contests celebrates family tradition, which is also true to the Kahala's philosophy of sharing the flavors of the kama'aina table. A Thai seafood curry was based on an intern's family recipe, and the recipe for Japanese beef curry is that of executive chef Wayne Hirabayashi's mother ... or at least the basic recipe came from his mom. He admits to having played with it over the years, for example, adding more vegetables as he grew to appreciate vegetables more.

In talking with the chef, he realized that the curry played a big part in his early culinary forays. He said he would often think of ways to improve on recipes for curries and hamburgers, giving his mom suggestions of "adding a little salt here, a little pepper there."

He said he didn't realize at the time, but he was learning how to blend flavors and adapt recipes to his taste, learning that he could add sweetness to a dish not by simply adding straight sugar, but maybe a little bit of apple for subtlety.

The buffet, with curries that change every few weeks, includes soup du jour, and a selection of salads and desserts, and is priced at $30 per person (tax and gratuity additional). For reservations, call 739-8760, or e-mail restaurants@kahalaresort.com. Reservations are also taken at OpenTable.com.

The Kahala's executive chef Wayne Hirabayashi shared his mother's recipe for Japanese beef curry with kabocha, carrots and shiitake. He enjoys this curry with condiments of takuan, pickled ginger and tsukemono.

Noella Monteiro was the winner of the hotel's curry reccipe contest, sharing her grandmother's recipe for yellow shrimp curry. Her prize is two nights in an ocean view room at The Kahala, dinner for two at Hoku’s and breakfast in the Plumeria Beach House.

I arranged a small sampling of the four curries offered on my plate. Each had its own condiments. Monteiro's, at front right, could be dressed with peanuts, cranberries and toasted coconut.


I had a second helping of the Thai green seafood curry because the first time, I missed the condiment of fish-chili sauce with jalapeƱos. That raised the temperature a lot, which I liked.

Another look at the decor.

Delicious Punjab-style chicken-spinach curry is served with cumin rice pilaf.

Display at the salad bar.

A variety of chutneys in including apricot, tomato and spicy pineapple was also available.

Dessert of lilikoi bars offered a tart contrast to the curry buffet.

And there was chocolate for those somehow managed to save room in their stomachs.

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