Ona Huli Huli Chicken – Lani Kai Nights

huli cover
 After soaking in the dark rum sauce this chicken is what the Hawaiians would call Ona, drunk. Only this time it means infused with rich rum and deeply satisfying tropical tastes. It is a deliciously sophisticated upscale version of a true Hawaiian backyard party favorite.
   Waves of flavors, from the deep sophisticated sweet of the rum and brown sugar, to the salty soy and tang of lemon keep this one rocking.
   Huli translates to English as Turn. So Huli Huli means to turn often. Turning the marinading chicken often ensures it absorbs the maximum flavors and basting the chicken often as it bakes will give it a nice, almost grilled glaze.

huli ingredients

Chicken and Glaze
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup dark Rum
2 Tbsp grated ginger root
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp lemon juice or fresh squeezed lemon
1 Tbsp. sesame oil . Be very careful with this stuff. Sometimes even less can be too much. Sriracha or Asian chili paste (or red pepper flakes) to taste
Jasmine Coconut Rice
1 Cup Jasmine Rice
1 Cup Coconut Milk
1 Cup water
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan Sea Salt
Zest of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
Asian Cabbage Salad
 2 cups shredded green cabbage
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots.
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
handful of chopped  fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
sesame seeds


Chicken and Glaze
 Clean the chicken and remove the fat.
 Place the chicken into a large plastic bag and set aside.
Stir all of the ingredients in a small bowl or mixer until thoroughly blended. Pour half of the mixture into a small saucepan. This will be your glaze. Pour the remaining mixture into the plastic bag containing the chicken and ensure the chicken is covered. Seal bag and place in the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Huli (turn) the bag every few hours.
Heat the half of the marinade you saved in saucepan until boiling then reduce heat and simmer for approximately one hour.
This will reduce the marinade to a thick sauce you will use as a glaze while baking the chicken.        For a spicier flavor you might add more ginger to this brew as it heats. When sauce is the consistency of ketchup, remove from heat and allow to cool.
After marinating the chicken, remove bag from fridge, drain the chicken and discard the used marinade from the bag.
Bake the chicken at 350 F in a covered glass baking dish for approximately 20 minutes then remove the cover. Huli frequently glazing often. This gives it a thicker, more grill-like skin. Continue baking and glazing the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F.
Then remove from the oven and set aside. Allow the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes before serving so that the juices are reabsorbed. Serve with any remaining glaze as a dipping sauce.
Rinse the rice in cool water, stirring gently with your fingers, until the water runs clear.
Drain the water.
Rub the bottom of the pot with the oil then place the rice on top.
Add the coconut milk, water, and salt then stir gently to blend.
With medium heat bring mixture to a
Gentle boil then reduce heat and cover.
Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes
or until the water is absorbed.
Remove from heat and allow to sit covered for at least ten minutes.
Fluff with fork and sprinkle with lime zest before serving.

rice cookerAlternate Rice Prep
  There are times when being a purist about cooking methods count, and times when making things easy leaves more time for rum. And occasionally Easy meets Better. That’s where this rice cooker comes in. This one fits all of the criteria for meal prep aboard ship as well as your kitchen.  The only way this rice cooker could be easier would be if it went to the store to get the rice for you. It takes up very little counter space, and makes perfect rice every time.
Use this link to visit Amazon.com for yours today!

In a large bowl combine cabbages, carrots, onions, chives, and cilantro and set aside.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a mason jar, shake well to combine
Pour over the slaw. Stir to combine.
Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes prior to eating.

Lani Kai Nights

 I use music a lot. For people like me it either helps set a mood, enhances activities, or like it does here, it often explains R.B. McCarthy’s inspiration.

In the case of this story listening to Lanikai by a band called MoonMango Season really sets the mood. It has the easy flowing rhythm of a tropical breeze and the romance of Lanikai – Heavenly Waters. Check out the sample on Amazon and download it now.



lani kai nights bg.jpg
   What would you think? I decided to make a big life change and out of the blue I get the opportunity to cook for old friends while sailing under someone with impeccable expertise to a place I love and was heading towards anyway? Opportunities like this just don’t come along often. It was almost like some cosmic finger was pointing the way to the first leg in my new journey.
    I reported as requested and met Captain Hannah on the bridge. She too had just arrived and was busily assigning duties in preparation of our voyage. By the time she walked across the room to shake my hand all of the blood had left my head. Black stilettos gave way to incredibly shaped legs caressed by sheer black stockings. The little black dress she wore gave the impression it had been lovingly sprayed onto the prefect roundness of her hips and the soft firmness of her breasts. When I looked into her eyes I saw long generations of seafarers. This was going to be good.
   As time passed I increasingly realized what an amazing captain she was, keeping the ship well tended, the crew busy and happy, and our passengers pampered all with consumate professionalism. We got to know each other easily during the passage and by the time we sighted Hawai’i we were very good friends.
   It felt odd to be back on land but the drive to the North Shore of O’ahu was wonderful. Hannah had graciously accepted my offer of a place to stay for the short time she would be on the island. It was early evening by the time we reached the cottage I had rented. The back of the home opened onto the palm lined beach at Lani Kai  “Heavenly Waters”. The name fit perfectly as the tropical moon painted the sea with beautiful silvers and blues. It must have been the Moon Goddess Hina weaving her magic because the huge bottomless angry sea that for almost three weeks seemed to want to drown us for any false move was now transformed into calm clear irresistible shallows whose warmth wrapped around us as we swam. We made our way back to the cottage and stood on the lanai with Hina’s moonlight shinning in Hannah’s dark eyes and glistening on her naked body. It danced in every droplet of water that covered her hair and shoulders then ran in rivulets down across her breasts. The silver drops paused as if to emphasize the roundness there before plunging down across her soft flat belly to a paradise I had dreamt of since we left California. I drew her close and she eagerly pressed against me. Breaths came in short gasps as our passion peaked again and again. Hina smiled on approvingly as we drifted off to sleep together.

   Hannah’s flight back to the mainland came much too soon. My friend Kimo had already lined me up with what he called “an audition” for my next gig. It entailed cooking at his next dinner party as a demo of my skills and we thought it would be a good Hawaiian farewell plus it worked perfectly with Hannah’s departure plans. 

   I was blown away to see all of my friends from the old days when we arrived. “Hey, Cuz!! How you stay?” was the standard greeting. Hannah had that ability to fit in anywhere and had already been whisked off to trading laughs and talk story. I was with my Ohana again. These were special people who deserved a special dish so I looked to Hannah’s strengths for inspiration and jumped right into the cooking. Kimo had followed my instructions for the marinade so the Ona Huli Huli and rum began flowing in no time. Both the food and Hannah were a huge success. The band had just set up and the first song, Lanikai Moon, fit perfectly. The evening just kept getting better.
    Just like Hanna, the flavors in the new recipe were bolder yet sweeter and left you satisfied but wanting more. After soaking in the dark rum sauce the chicken was what the Hawaiians would call Ona, drunk, only this time it meant infused with rich rum adding to a deeply satisfying tropical taste. It was a deliciously sophisticated upgrade to Hawaiian backyard party favorite.
    Our airport goodbyes were sad but filled with soothing promises. My drive back to Lanikai gave me time to sort through my thoughts of the future. Riding over the Pali through the Hawaiian night with the top down and the faint fragrance of ginger flowers floating in on the Trade Winds, the soft sounds of the band at the party played in my he’d and made the perfect soundtrack .
Check it out here:
                                                              Copyright D.K. McCarthy 2018


You can see more of my artwork by visiting my gallery at  https://artbearstudios.com

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