When toying with the idea of taking a hula class (why, you ask – why not, I say!) a slip of the touch on my iPad brought me to a recipe that had nothing to do with dancing but everything to do with Hawaii – Huli-Huli Chicken. Legend has it that this Hawaiian classic was created in 1955, by a man named Ernest Morgado. His teriyaki style dish was so wonderful that it became an instant hit at a local farmers’ barbecue and then quickly became the signature Hawaii fundraiser food, bringing in thousands of dollars for schools and other organizations.
Huli is the Hawaiian word for “turn” and since the chicken was usually cooked between two grills that had to be flipped over, it was christened Huli-Huli Chicken. Mr. Morgado trademarked the name so we can’t use it here, and his original recipe is top secret but, thank you internet, there are many huli-huli- style recipes out there. None of the recipes I’ve seen has enough garlic in it anyway, so with a tip of the garlic bulb to Hawaii, here’s Christopher Ranch’s version which I affectionately call…
2 frying chickens – halved or quartered
3 tbls. peanut oil
10 cloves Christopher Ranch California Garlic – chopped
1 tbls. grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup catsup
1/3 cup soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup sherry
2 tbls. Worcestershire sauce
1 – 2 pinches red pepper flakes
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup pineapple chunks (optional)
Marinate chicken for at least 2 hours. Brush the chicken with the remaining marinade while grilling, and give the chicken a huli at intervals.
Heat oil in large skillet and brown chicken well on all sides, adding garlic and ginger toward the end. Blend next 8 ingredients and add to chicken. Cook, covered, over medium heat turning (there’s that huli) occasionally until chicken is done and sauce has been reduced somewhat. Watch very carefully so that the sauce does not burn or boil away. The chicken should be slightly glazed, and there should be a bit of sauce left to serve with the chicken. Add pineapple chunks at the end of cooking if desired. Serve with rice.
There are many variations of this dish and ingredients and amounts can vary depending on individual tastes. Some add shoyu, chicken broth, white wine, rice wine vinegar and chili sauce so don’t be afraid to add your own special touch to this recipe. And, for a true taste of Hawaii, I recommend doing the hula while you huli… Aloha!