HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Hawaiian-Style Thanksgiving

This year I have decided to do a Hawaiian themed Thanksgiving (seeing as we are stationed in Pearl Harbor). This will be my 3rd Thanksgiving but I am up for any challenge. I would like to keep the traditional elemnets but am open to authentic Hawaiian additions. Looking for recipes on this theme for:

-Potato (I don't think I want to do poi but perhaps something else?)
-2 vegetables
-2 appetizers
-cranberry suace
-2 desserts (I was thinking maybe a Kona chocolate bread pudding?)

I love lilikoi (passionfruit) and would love to find a place for it. Please include recipes. Mahalo!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Sunset has a Hawaiian Thanksgiving Menu:
    * Guava-Lime Coolers
    * Steamed Mahimahi Laulau
    * Hawaiian-Portuguese Smoked Turkey
    * Hawaiian-Portuguese Turkey Gravy
    * Portuguese Sausage Dressing
    * Okinawa Sweet Potatoes
    * Green Salad with Papaya-seed Dressing
    * Coconut Pudding Triangles
    * Macadamia Nut Tart


    1 Reply
    1. When I was growing up in Hawaii, we really didn't do anything very different except add rice. We eat rice with everything. I'll take a stab at it and may post more stuff later.

      Kalua the turkey...I liked it, but miss the gravy. Might want to prepare gravy on the side...not from a packet. Roast bones and veggies. Some places kalua turkeys or rent out their imu.

      Stuffing...add portugese sausage...or maybe do a riff on "fried" rice stuffing

      I got nothing on the potato...we like our mashed potato traditional. Don't forget the sweet potato. We definitely like that.

      Instead of straight up cranberry sauce, add some pineapple juice and dried mango to the cranberries when boiling.

      Try a passionfruit mousse brazilian style. Very easy. R Fields sells pureed passion fruit. It's sooo good. Another good recipe is to take old banana bread and soak it in a chocolate custard. Chocolate banana bread pudding. It's to die for. Passion fruit ice cream is really good too.

      Hawaii appetizers would be poke and sashimi. If that's not up your alley, then maybe consider fried lumpia.

      Local, local Hawaiians are not that huge on veggies outside of lau lau leaves. Have you noticed that our version of salad is macaroni salad? I'm not talking about Hawaii regional cuisine. I'm talking about the way real locals eat. So I'd say skip the Hawaiian veggie route and just go to the farmers market and pick up some gorgeous produce. Maybe some Dean Sakamoto Nalo greens. Personally, I always did brussel sprouts or my dad's favorite stir fry with pieces of ham (cut from the freshly roasted one), sugar snap peas, kahuku corn, and red bell peppers.

      1. I guess I was looking for less of a traditional Hawaiian feast and for just a riff on Thanksgiving with Hawaiian flavors I enjoy.

        That being said, the cranberry with mango or pineapple sounds good. I am not a big fan of Portuguese sausage so that won't work, same things with the Haupia pudding. The banana bread pudding is a great idea though!

        4 Replies
        1. re: AmandaCA

          Have you had kalua turkey? Most people really like it. There's something called Ono Ono salt. It's a seasoning with Hawaiian flavors. We roast and bbq a lot of things with that. It might be good to put it in the butter baste for the turkey. Also, the passion fruit mousse is very, very good. I live in Florida now and people drive all over looking for places that do it. It uses sweetened condensed milk which is another Hawaii favorite. However, like I said Hawaiian Thanksgivings are pretty much like any other Thanksgiving with the exception of the apps and dessert and the white sticky rice.

          1. re: jindomommy

            Maybe I will try the kalua turkey. And although that lilikoi mousse sounds good, I am thinking of making a cheesecake with it instead. Maybe with a macadamia nut crust? I was looking around on the internet and found a recipe for Mango Glazed turkey that looked great too. I am hoping to use a lot of local ingredients since I am living in Hawaii now.

            1. re: AmandaCA

              Passionfruit cheesecake with macnut crust is really, really good. R. Fields sells a version.

            2. re: jindomommy

              where can you get passionfruit puree in florida?

              or anywhere in dc area?

          2. When I grew up in hawaii in the 50, 60, 70 swe did the traditional amerian turkey with gravy, but there was alway another turkey that was done chinese style (char sui) or portugese style (vinha dos). Sometimes we had taro instead mashed potatoes and yams. Had the normal veggies and other side dishes including rice and mac salad. During these times there was a push to be more american than hawaiian because of statehood.
            Now christmas and new years are a different srory...

            1. There's a thread going on about lemon swirl cheesecake. You could substitute the lemon curd for passion fruit curd.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jindomommy

                That would be really easy to do. Thanks!

              2. For Pupus:
                -tropical fruit platter (or skewers)
                -Lomi Lomi salmon (or with dinner in place of a salad)
                -Spring Rolls
                -Won Tons

                For breads:
                -Bucks sweet bread
                -Taro biscuits

                For Starches:
                -Sweet (purple) potato salad
                -Taro stuffing bake
                -Portuguese sausage cornbread stuffing
                -Chicken long rice
                -Fried Rice

                Main meats:
                -Kalua turkey (or pig)
                -lau lau

                -Coconut Cream Pie
                -Liliko'i Spice Cake

                I have recipes for most of these if you are interested ... just let me know. :)


                6 Replies
                1. re: DishDelish

                  Sorry, I just noticed that you are not a fan of Haupia and Portuguese sausage ... just ignore those things!! :)

                  1. re: DishDelish

                    I would love the recipe for Liliko'i Spice Cake . . . :)

                    1. re: Eat.Choui

                      For 8-10 servings of cake:

                      3 cups cake flour
                      1 t. ground cinnamon
                      1 t. ground cloves
                      1/2 t. allspice
                      2 t. baking powder
                      1 t. baking soda
                      1 cup butter, softened
                      2 cups sugar
                      4 egg yolks
                      1/2 cup thawed liliko'i (passion fruit) frozen concentrate
                      1/2 cup water
                      4 egg whites

                      Liliko'i frosting:
                      2 egg whites
                      1 cup sugar
                      1/4 t. salt
                      1/3 cup thawed liliko'i concentrate
                      1/3 cup water

                      -To prepare cake, sift cake flour, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, baking powder, baking soda together; set aside. Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with liliko'i concentrate and water, beginning and ending with flour.

                      -Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold batter into beaten egg whites then pour batter into two 8-9 inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until cake is done. Set aside to cool.

                      -To prepare liliko'i frosting, combine all frosting ingredients in a large saucepan. Beat mixture with hand mixture. Cook over low heat, beating constantly, until frosting forms soft peaks, about 7-10 minutes.
                      Makes about 2 1/2 cups. Frost cooled layer cake.

                      Enjoy!! :)


                  2. re: DishDelish

                    Do you have a recipe for Buck's Sweetbread?

                    1. re: jself

                      I am terribly sorry, I only just saw this as the holidays have been keeping me busy.
                      Here it is:
                      2 cups milk
                      1/4 cup nonfat milk powder
                      3 T. active dry yeast
                      1 package fast-rising yeast
                      2/3 lb. (2 2/3 sticks) salted butter
                      2 T butter flavored hydrogenated shortening (I am guessing lard would also work)
                      1 2/3 cup cups honey
                      1/4 t. salt
                      1 1/2 t. ground nutmeg
                      1/4 t. lemon extract
                      1/4 t. yellow food coloring
                      1 1/2 t. glycerine, optional (available at pharmacies)
                      8 large eggs, divided use
                      13 cups bread flour

                      Egg Wash:
                      1 egg beaten with milk for tops of loaves

                      Warm milk and milk powder in pan (or glass container in microwave oven) to 110 F. Add yeast, mix to dissolve.

                      Beat together at medium speed: butter, shortening, honey, slat, nutmeg, lemon extract, food coloring,, and glycerine. Beat in 6 eggs until well blended. Add milk mixture and 7 cups flour, continuing to beat until well blended.

                      Gradually add remaining 6 cups of flour, more or less, until desired texture is reached. Knead for 10 minutes at medium speed, adding 2 or more eggs during latter stages of kneading.

                      Let rise 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until double in bulk. Punch down and form into loaves. Score tops lengthwise with very sharp knife or razor blade at this time, if desired. Let rise again in pans sprayed with veg. oil (or butter) until tops double in size. Brush tops with egg wash. Bake 30-25 min. in a 350 F oven or until golden brown.

                      1. re: DishDelish

                        Uh, size and number of loaf pans this recipe makes?

                  3. Sounds fun and creative!
                    Macadamia nut pie instead of pecan served a la mode with coconut ice cream.

                    Haven't made any of the following, but the look so good they're on my mac nut baking list:

                    Coconut mac butter wedges: http://nummykitchen.blogspot.com/2009...

                    Chocolate salt caramel mac tart: http://hungryrabbitnyc.com/2010/05/to...

                    Banana caramel cheesecake with mac crust: http://delicioushouse.blogspot.com/20...

                    Coconut mac mini tart with passion fruit cream: http://www.mysweetandsaucy.com/2008/0... and another pic here with toasted coconut on top. Scroll down: http://www.mysweetandsaucy.com/2009/0...

                    These coconut custard mini tarts with mac crust look fantastic, but you'd have to piece together the recipe. Looks to be a combo of Dorie Greenspan's sweet tart dough with nuts and her toasted coconut custart tart filling. http://nummykitchen.blogspot.com/2010...

                    1. Some of the local high schools have a community imu for making kalua turkey right before Thanksgiving and Xmas (I know Kailua High does this). You might want to take a turkey, already prepped for the imu, up to the school. You drop it off and pick it up the next day. I always included some Okinawan sweet potatoes (the purple ones) and salt water soaked raw peanuts in my roaster. All of that wrapped in ti leaf. Kalua peanuts are to die for!

                      When I do the kalua turkey I also do a traditional turkey in the oven so I can make gravy and stuff the bird. It makes for a lot of leftovers but everyone wants to take some home so that's easy enough. Just tell guests to bring their own ziplocs, gladware, rubbermaid or whatever containers they want to use.

                      I always include chopped toasted mac nuts and chopped water chestnuts in my stuffing, It adds some great and unexpected crunch. Everyone loves it. Since you don't like Portuguese sausage you might consider Chinese sausage in your stuffing. I include it sometimes when I remember to buy some.

                      I also make an old island recipe for sweet potato apple banana casserole. I can write out a rough recipe if you want it.

                      For an appetizer you might consider getting some of the lilikoi curd with li hing at R. Field's or Native Books and Beautiful Things. Put a few nice big glops of the curd on top of some softened cream cheese and serve with crackers. You can do the same thing using mango chutney.

                      Boiled peanuts (if you don't have kalua peanuts) are a nice munchy, You can find them all over Chinatown although my favorites are at Ruger Market. Some of the ones I've had were boiled with star anise or 5 spice powder which made for a nice surprise.

                      Banana macadamia nut cream pie is always good and easy enough to make. You could even make a mac nut crust and then use the egg whites to make a meringue for the pie if you're feeling inspired and have the time. :-)

                      Have fun!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: KailuaGirl

                        KailuaGirl: I also make an old island recipe for sweet potato apple banana casserole. I can write out a rough recipe if you want it.

                        Would you share the recipe, please. It sounds wonderful.

                      2. If adding pineapples to your sweet potato dish is enough to make it Hawaiian, then this recipe inspried by the Trader Vic's Pacific Island Cookbook ought to work for you. This has been on my Thansgiving table since the book first appeared in 1968. (And yes I know that Trader Vic's restaurant chain is someone's fantasy of Hawaiian food, drinks, and decor. I was attracted to the unsweetened pineapple in the recipe, from my way of thinking, a revolutionary improvement over the ubiquitous marshamallow-topped sweet potatoe recipe of the day.)

                        Before, the days of a microplane, I used to omit the orange zest. With the invention of a microplane, making my own pith-free zest is so simple and so good that I often add more than the recipe calls for.

                        Sweet Potatoes Trader Vic

                        5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
                        3 cups mashed baked sweet potatoes
                        1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind
                        9 tablespoons orange juice
                        1 1/2 cups crushed pineapple packed in its own juice, drained
                        1 teaspoon salt
                        brown sugar (Optional. This dish is plenty sweet without added sugar)

                        Add butter to mashed sweet potatoes. Add orange rind, orange juice, pineapple, and salt. Pour mixture into well buttered baking dish.

                        If desired, sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake covered in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

                        Not surprisingly, this recipe is very forgiving. The specific quantities listed can be adjusted to suit your taste. However, fresh baked sweet potatoes are a must; do not subsitute canned potatoes for convenience.

                        I think the original recipe called for baking the dish in a 375 degree oven for a shorter time. I serve this on Thanksgiving when a lot of food shares the same oven so everything cooks at the same, more-typical 350 degree temperature.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Indy 67

                          Personally, I think this sounds very good and think this may be my Thanksgiving sweet potato dish this year. Thank you for sharing.

                          1. re: Wtg2Retire

                            Must remember this and the Sweet Potato Banana Casserole idea.