I’ve been to Hawaii once. I was a child, and went on family vacation to Oahu and Maui. I don’t remember a lot aside from “learning to surf” (I was awful), attending a luau, and ABC stores everywhere. I do remember being highly aware of the cultural differences I was experiencing. I’m not sure I’d been truly immersed in a culture with different rituals, food, and traditions than I before. I held the beauty of that memory for many years like a little gem, before my next encounter with Hawaiian culture.
Then I moved to Cali, Obama became president, I befriended Lily Diamond and subsequently befriended Alana Kysar. All of a sudden my life was filled Hawaiian’s and I was once again enraptured with the beautiful people to come out of the culture. Over many years of friendship, and multiple conversations about what it was like to grow up amongst the cluster of islands, I feel like I’ve gotten a small glimpse into that world.
ENTER the Aloha Kitchen cookbook. Written by my dear friend and Hawaiian native, Alana Kysar of Fix Feast Flair, this cookbook is the most comprehensive guide to the food and beloved recipes of Hawaii. The book is definitely meat-heavy, so I wouldn’t recommend it to my vegan or vegetarian readers, but if you’ve ever wanted to know more about Hawaiian food or if you grew up with Hawaiian food and you want those OG recipes THIS IS YOUR BOOK. Plus it’s one of the most beautiful cookbooks I’ve ever seen in my whole life. No joke.
This Hawaiian Fish Aloha Bowl with Pickled Mango I’ve put together combines/adapts THREE recipes from this cookbook.
- Ginger Misoyaki Butterfish
- Pickled Mango
- Papaya Seed Dressing
I adapted the recipes so that the ingredients were slightly easier for me (and hopefully you) to source. Unfortunately in the process I had to forgo a little bit of the true authenticity of the recipes. So if you want the legit recipes, you’ll have to get the book.
I served those three elements with some greens, white rice, and massaged cabbage. But you could turn it into a salad or a tacos or whatever your heart desires!
Hawaiian Fish Aloha Bowl with Pickled Mango
This Hawaiian Fish Aloha Bowl with Pickled Mango from Alana Kysar's Aloha Kitchen Cookbook, makes the best tropical dinner!
- 2 filets halibut (sub mahi mahi)
- 3/4 cup white miso paste
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar (sub packed brown sugar)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup mirin
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (sub liquid aminos)
- 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar (sub cane sugar)
- 1 tsp Hawaiian salt (sub pink Himalayan sea salt)
- 1 large unripe green mango
Papaya Seed Dressing
- 1/2 large ripe papaya
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar (sub cane sugar)
- 1/4 cup neutral oil, like grapeseed or avocado oil
Aloha Bowl Ingredients
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tbsp butter
- sea salt, to taste
- 1/4 red cabbage, cut into thin ribbons
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 cups mixed greens
- 2 tbsp scallions, diced
- sesame seeds, for garnish
In a small saucepan, whisk together the miso paste, coconut sugar, water, mirin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and ginger. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Turn the heat to low and simmer until the mixture has thickened and reduced by a quarter or so, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool completely.
Place fillets in a gallon-size ziplock bag and pour the cooled sauce over them. Seal and transfer the bag to the fridge to marinate for 2 to 3 days, turning the bag every 24 hours.
Remove the bag fromt he refrigerator and let sit at room temeperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat the broiler and raise your oven rack to the top spot; it should be 6 to 8 inches from the coils. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, dull side up.
Wipe off any excess sauce from the top of the filets and arrange them skin side down, on the foil-lined baking sheet. Broil until the fish flesh is almost opaque, 8 to 10 minutes.
In a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the water with both vinegars, the sugar, and salt and bring to a boil. When the sugar and salt have dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Peel the mangoes using a vegetable peeler. If your mango is too soft to peel with the peeler, that means it's too soft to pickle; you need to use firm, unripe, green mangoes for this. Slice the mangoes into 3/4-inch strips, carefully avoiding the seed in the middle and separating as much fruit from the seed as possible. Place the mango slices into a 1/2-gallon glass jar. Set aside.
Pour the cooled vinegar mixture over the mango slices and cover the jar with a lid. Store in the refrigerator for 3 days before serving. If stored in an airtight container, it will keep refrigerated for several weeks.
Papaya Seed Dressing
Ina blender, combine the flesh and seeds of the papaya with the lime juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, salt, pepper, sugar, and oil and process on high speed for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until smooth. Use right away , or transfer to an airtight jar or bottle and store int he refrigerator for up to 1 week.
In a medium heat a medium pot over high heat and add rice, water, butter, and a generous amount of sea salt. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover, and reduce heat to low for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove from heat, keep covered and let sit for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving.
In a medium bowl, add shredded cabbage and sprinkle with lime juice and a pinch of sea salt. Use your hands to massage the cabbage until it is tender.
Divide your mixed greens, rice, Hawaiian fish, and cabbage between two bowls. Top with pickled mangos, scallions, sesame seeds, and papaya seed dressing.
*Marinade for fish makes enough to cover up to 4 fillets, if you would like to make more.
**Both the fish and the pickled mango need to be prepared 2-3 days before serving, so plan ahead!
There are a couple of very Hawaii-specific ingredients that are in the original recipes found in Aloha Kitchen that I ended up excluding or substituting. As I said before this was to make the recipe slightly easier for you to source in case you don’t live in Hawaii or Cali. For the Hawaiian fish recipe I used halibut, but in the cookbook Alana uses butterfish which is actually called North Pacific sablefish or sometimes referred to as black cod. So if you want to get more authentic, you can ask your local fishmonger about sourcing the real deal.
I excluded two ingredients from the Pickled Mango recipe in the book. Those are red li hing powder and red li hing mui. As described in the cookbook Li Hing Mui and Li Hing Powder are “salted dried plumbs” that taste “sweet, salty and sour all at the same time.” I bet the flavor of the pickled mangos would have been unreal with that flavor addition, but I wanted the recipe to be slightly more accessible. But if you want the real thing, feel free to get the cookbook and make the authentic version!
The only other slight adaptations I made were to sub out coconut sugar for granulated sugar. I just prefer the less sweet taste and flavor. I also substituted 1 cup of water for 1 cup of sake in the Hawaiian fish recipe. I did this for ease and simplicity. It still tastes freaking great.
The recipe denotes this as well, but I wanted to reiterate the fact that you need to prep both the fish and the mango at least 2-3 days before serving!
What do I do with the extras?
This recipe makes “two” bowls, but you will have extra Papaya Seed Dressing, extra fish marinade and extra Pickled mango. So you could double or triple the recipe and make this as a meal prep bowl for the week. Or you can use both the papaya seed dressing and extra marinade to marinate fish or chicken or steak or tofu or whatever you want! The papaya seed dressing also works great as a salad dressing. And the pickled mangos go on everything (or can just be eaten as a snack.)
Where do I buy the Aloha Kitchen Cookbook?
If you are interested in Hawaiian culture at all, this is the cookbook you NEED in your life. xo.