Bring a taste of Hawaii into your own home

January 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The executive chef and owner of Chai's Island Bistro and Singha Thai Restaurant in Hawaii, and host of "Dining Out With Chai, Chai Chaowasaree, shares these delicious Hawaiian recipes.

Fresh 'Ahi Katsu with Yellow Curry Sauce & Fresh Mango-Tomato Salsa

Tempura batter

  • 3.4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 c. water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients until the batter has no lumps; set aside.

'Ahi katsu

  • 2 blocks fresh 'ahi (about 1½-2 lbs.), cut into an inch tube about 6 to 8 inches long
  • 4 sheets nori (Japanese seaweed)
  • 1 c. Tempura Batter
  • 1 c. panko breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil, enough to fill a frying pan a minimum of 1-inch deep

Wrap each piece of 'ahi with two sheets of fresh nori, and then dip them into the tempura batter and coat with panko breadcrumbs.

In a wok or a deep fryer, preheat the oil to 375°F. Fry the fish to a golden brown (about 30 to 45 seconds) and cut into 8 to 10 1/4-inch-thick pieces.

Serves: 4

Thai Yellow Curry Sauce

  • 1/2 Tbsp. Thai yellow curry paste
  • 2 c. coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce or Aloha Shoyu
  • 1/2 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp. sugar

In a saucepan with medium heat, combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Then simmer with low heat for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens to the consistency of mustard.

Mango-Tomato Salsa

  • 2 Tbsp. ripe mango, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato, diced
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Chinese parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp. onion, chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp. bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 Tbsp. sugar
  • Pinch of salt, to taste
  • Dash of Tabasco, to taste

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients.


Plate the katsu slices on one side of the plate and place the Mango-Tomato Salsa on the other. Serve with the Thai Yellow Curry Sauce.

Kataifi & Macadamia Nut-Crusted Fresh Kaua'i Prawns with Big Island Baby Greens & Pineapple Vinaigrette

  • 8 jumbo fresh Kaua'i prawns or black tiger prawns, de-veined, peeled and rinsed
  • Dash of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 bamboo sticks
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 8 Tbsp. cold water
  • 1 box kataifi, a very fine vermicelli-like pastry (aka shredded phyllo), or any thin noodles
  • 4 c. vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 4 pieces fresh pineapple about ¾-inch thick, for garnish
  • 2 c. baby greens, for garnish

Marinate the prawns with lemon juice, salt and pepper. The acid from the lemon juice will make shrimp meat crunchy. Skewer the prawns with bamboo sticks, leaving an extra inch at the end; set aside.

In a bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, macadamia nuts, egg and cold water. Dip the skewered prawns in the batter and then wrap with the kataifi.

In a wok or deep fryer, preheat the oil to about 375°F, then fry the prawns for 3 minutes or until they are light brown.

Serve with Pineapple Vinaigrette. Garnish with pineapple and mixed salad.

Serves: 4

Pineapple Vinaigrette

  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. ketchup
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of Tabasco

In a pot, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

Find out more about Chai's Restaurants by visiting:

About Chai Chaowasaree:
Chai is an award-winning chef and is recognized as one of the top chefs in the Islands. He is the recipient of numerous awards in Hawaii and nationally. His restaurants have received great reviews and have been recommended by many national publications, including Bon Appetit , Gourmet , Sunset , Bride , and Travel & Leisure . Chef Chai is known on Oahu for his award winning Pacific Rim cuisine, and for his unwavering support of local entertainers. His restaurant features the very best in local entertainment every night, ranging from Makana to The Brothers Cazimero to Hapa. Chai is part of the next generation of chefs who trained, studied or were inspired by the original 12 founding chefs of Hawaii Regional Cuisine (HRC). This new group is called Hawai'i Island Chefs (HIC). As an association, they carry on the HRC tradition by nurturing, supporting and encouraging up and coming chefs and culinary programs throughout the state.The island of O'ahu distinguishes itself with 12 of the 15 founding chefs of HIC creating their signature style and fusion. From fine dining to gourmet plate lunches, the chefs remain committed to perpetuating the creativity, excitement and innovation of Hawai'i as a premier culinary destination. Community and relationships are important aspects for HIC as they are committed to "Buy Hawai'i," and are respectful of the environment and supply issues.

"The Island Bistro Cookbook"
More information about Chai and his cookbook are online at

Buy the book on Amazon: The Island Bistro Cookbook