Pristine sands and swaying palms are all well and good, but the true magic of Hawaii is waiting in its kitchens. Ok, perhaps that’s not a particularly popular opinion, but when you consider the epic history that has contributed to modern Hawaiian cuisine, you may reconsider. The food culture of the islands has been through five distinct stages. From Ancient Hawaiin food which was shaped by Polynesian settlers to Native Hawaiians that incorporated local crops, then came post-European trends and a Japanese phase where missionaries and immigrants brought their own cuisines to the shores. Finally today, Hawaiian cuisine is a modern, multicultural mix of all these years of occupation and immigration blended into one fusion movement.

Also Read: Is It Just Us, Or Is this Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Turning Heads, Quite Literally

The Japanese era had an especially marked influence on the cuisine since they shared the advantage of rich fishing grounds for dishes like sushi and later poke. They also brought across their unique desserts one of the modern favourites being Mochi. In Hawaii, a form of mochi called Butter Mochi is popular both in bakeries and in home kitchens for its sweet-savoury softness and its easy recipe. 

Similar to the rice cakes of Japan, Hawaiian takes on Mochi involve a variety of flavours and colours for a tasty and beautiful experience. This adapted version of the recipe by Sonia Wong celebrates the natural sweetness of fresh corn in a chewy dessert that honours the food traditions of both cultures.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups corn kernels, preferably fresh
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups glutinous rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

Method:

  • Preheat an oven to 180°C and grease a baking pan with butter. 
  • Blend the corn kernels and coconut milk at high speed until very smooth. 
  • Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the melted butter, sugar eggs and vanilla.
  • In another bowl, sift together the glutinous rice flour, baking powder and salt. 
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until well combined.
  • Pour the batter into the greased baking tin and tap it against the counter to burst any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 60 minutes until the centre is set but still bouncy.