Celebrate New Year’s with Esaki’s crew

KAPA‘A — Every year, the Anahola Japanese Community Association and the crew at Esaki’s Produce throw a huge New Year’s bash at the produce site in Kapa‘a.

“Earl throws one of the biggest parties on the island,” a crew member said in passing, speaking of president of AJCA Earl Kashiwagi.

At Esaki’s Produce, a table stretched out in the back becomes a long seafood buffet.

“They’ll be about 36 entrees in chafing dishes,” said Kashiwagi, gesturing to where the hot buffet will be set up.

He then turns to the other side.

“Then we’ll have the chocolate fountains and short breads and baskets will come down with goodies in them,” he said.

But in having a New Year’s celebration, Japanese-style, there are some things that just can’t be left out.

“You got to always have nishimei and somein and soba salads,” he said. “And of course you got to have the kalua pig and other local food.”

Kashiwagi said the celebration at Esaki’s started out a small one.

“It used to be we just invited the families,” he said. “But now it’s open to everyone. The New Year’s party is wide open.”

The celebration starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m.

Soba Salad

2 rolls kumamoto soba (Shirakiku brand)

1 (1.4-ounce) package kurome

1 (2-ounce) package wakame (JFC Wel-Pac brand)

1 package radish sprouts

1 bunch watercress

1/2 raw sweet onion (optional)

2 lemons

2 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon shoyu

Boil soba per directions. Soak kurome in water. Let hydrate and squeeze out.

Soak wakame in water. Let hydrate and squeeze out.

Cook squeezed wakame in frying pan with 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon shoyu.

Blanche, squeeze and chop watercress into bite-sized pieces.

Cut roots from radish sprouts and rinse-pat dry with paper towel.

Cut onions into thin slices. Layer soba, kurome, wakame, onions, watercress and radish sprouts.

Sauce

6 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cups shoyu

41/2 tablespoons oil

5 tablespoons lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together. Before serving, pour sauce over salad.

Nishime

1/4 cup iriko

1 medium gobo

1 medium carrot

10 dasheen, small Japanese taro

1 block tofu

2 cups water

1 tablespoons salt

1/2 cup shoyu

1/4 teaspoon gourmet powder

Scrape gobo, cut in 1/4-inch slices diagonally.

Soak for 10 minutes in one cup water to which 1 teaspoon has been added. Drain.

Scrape and cut carrot like gobo.

Peel dasheen, cut large ones in half.

Cut tofu into 4 slices and fry in oil until brown on both sides.

Cut into squares. Place iriko in bottom of a deep pot.

Place gobo, carrot, dasheen and tofu in layers in the order named.

Mix seasonings together and pour over all.

Cover and bring to a boil. Lower to medium hear and cook 20 minutes.

Note: It taste better if nishime is left in the pot till cooled.

Makes 5 to 6 servings.

• Recipes from the Anahola Japanese Community Association cookbook.

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