Hawaiian cuisine incorporates five distinct styles of food reflecting the diverse food history of settlement and immigration in the islands.1 Polynesian voyagers brought plants and animals to the islands, contributing to the local fish, taro (which were raised for poi), coconuts, sugarcane, sweet potatoes and yams, and meat, cooked in earth ovens.
Later, large plantations developed with the arrival of Europeans, Americans, missionaries, and whalers who introduced cuisine native to their homelands to Hawaii. In the late 1800s, migrant workers from China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and Portugal immigrated to meet the growing labor needs of the pineapple industry in Hawaii, bringing with them rich new foods and flavors that further influenced the region.
Can we say fusion cuisine? Try saying that five times!
When we think of a Paleo autumn recipe, most of us, myself included, don’t think tropical flavors from lands from afar. But since it is fall, and I happen to be writing to you from Kona, why not come up with a Hawaiian twist on a fall favorite?
The hardest part: deciding what type of preparation seems most fitting, captures Hawaiian tradition, but also stays true to the seasonal goodness packed with the wholloping punch of health-packing nutrients of any real Paleo recipe!
A trip to the farmer’s market on Ali’i Drive in downtown Kona2 was just the ticket. Freshly picked pineapple, Japanese sweet potato, sweet onion from Waimea, and locally grown basil were amongst the goodies I encountered. And, while a bit on the starchier and sweeter side than I’d recommend for day-to-day dining, in context of preparing for a long endurance event, absolutely perfect.
Hearty, tasty and ideal for preparing the body’s fuel stores for a day of intense physical activity to come, my Blue Sweet Potato and Pineapple ‘Poke’ is both easy to prepare and easy to enjoy.
Paleoista’s Blue Sweet Potato and Pineapple ‘Poke’
A play on the local island favorite, ‘Poke,’ is a raw salad served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine. This recipe will fill your boots and ensure you’re ready to race or train hard!
- 2 lbs boiled blue sweet potatoes, cubed into 1” pieces and cooled
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 small pineapple, cored, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
- 1 small lime, juiced
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup freshly chopped basil, plus a few leaves for garnish
- Combine all ingredients in large bowl
- Stir to combine
- Chill for one hour before serving
- Garnish with basil leaves
1. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2015