Last May, V & I went to Hawaii. It was a fabulous trip, not least of all because while we were there, V met her sweetie-pie, Sonny. A year and a half of arduous long-distance relationship later, they are still together, and we all think he is pretty certainly The One for her. Yay!
Another lovely thing that we encountered, besides Sonny, was Huli-Huli Chicken. It's sold all over Oahu, at roadside fundraisers and in supermarket delis (on the mainland we have rotisserie chicken in various flavors. In Hawaii, it's Huli-Huli). A kind of barbecue that's kind of sweet, kind of tangy, and other than that, hard to describe, Huli-Huli was also hard to replicate once I returned home. There are lots of recipes out there on the InterWebs, but none of them are quite the same as what we ate almost daily on our Hawaiian picnics.
The one I've found that comes the closest so far is this one, from Rachel Ray's Everyday magazine. I followed all the directions, except I grilled on a barbecue grill instead of broiling it. Even though it wasn't exactly the same as the real thing, all my friends (who haven't been to Hawaii) love it. Thanks, Rach! Here is Rachel Ray's recipe for Huli-Huli Chicken:
One 4-pound chicken, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, peeled
One 1½-inch piece ginger, coarsely chopped
¼ cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
3 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons frozen pineapple juice concentrate
Loosen the skin of the chicken breast and season underneath it with salt. Season the exterior of the chicken with more salt. Let the chicken rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Line a broiler pan with foil and preheat the broiler.
Using a food processor, pulse the garlic and ginger until finely chopped. Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, broth, rice-wine vinegar and pineapple juice concentrate and process until well combined. Strain the marinade into a bowl, pressing with the back of a spoon to extract all the liquid. Discard the pulp.
Blot the excess salt and moisture from the chicken and place the halves skin side down on the broiler pan. Broil, turning the chicken with tongs every 5 minutes for the first 20 minutes, until the raw surfaces have cooked. Continue to cook, turning and basting with the marinade every 5 minutes, until well browned, 20 minutes longer; cover loosely with foil for the last 10 minutes. Cut into pieces and serve.