By Nadine Kam
The Kahala Hotel & Resort augmented its popular Wednesday International Curry Bazaar all-you-can-eat buffet with the Oct. 26 unveiling of its “All in the Family Curry Contest” winner, whose dish will be among the curries featured from noon to 3 p.m. every Wednesday in November at the Plumeria Beach House.
Contestants entered a favorite curry recipe via Facebook or Twitter, and Noella Monteiro won with her grandmother’s recipe for yellow shrimp curry. The Pakistani recipe is saturated with turmeric and spices that was toned down for mass appeal. Those who like their curries hot were welcome to add more chili to the dishes, as well as condiments specific to the various styles of curry. To accompany Monteiro’s curry, there was toasted, shredded coconut, cranberries, peanuts and raisins.
An Punjab-style chicken-spinach curry came with options of mint and mango chutney and cucumber-mint raita.
The contests celebrates family tradition, which is also true to the Kahala’s philosophy of sharing the flavors of the kama’aina table. A Thai seafood curry was based on an intern’s family recipe, and the recipe for Japanese beef curry is that of executive chef Wayne Hirabayashi’s mother … or at least the basic recipe came from his mom. He admits to having played with it over the years, for example, adding more vegetables as he grew to appreciate vegetables more.
In talking with the chef, he realized that the curry played a big part in his early culinary forays. He said he would often think of ways to improve on recipes for curries and hamburgers, giving his mom suggestions of “adding a little salt here, a little pepper there.”
He said he didn’t realize at the time, but he was learning how to blend flavors and adapt recipes to his taste, learning that he could add sweetness to a dish not by simply adding straight sugar, but maybe a little bit of apple for subtlety.
The buffet, with curries that change every few weeks, includes soup du jour, and a selection of salads and desserts, and is priced at $30 per person (tax and gratuity additional). For reservations, call 739-8760, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations are also taken at OpenTable.com.
The Kahala’s executive chef Wayne Hirabayashi shared his mother’s recipe for Japanese beef curry with kabocha, carrots and shiitake. He enjoys this curry with condiments of takuan, pickled ginger and tsukemono.
Noella Monteiro was the winner of the hotel’s curry reccipe contest, sharing her grandmother’s recipe for yellow shrimp curry. Her prize is two nights in an ocean view room at The Kahala, dinner for two at Hoku’s and breakfast in the Plumeria Beach House.
I arranged a small sampling of the four curries offered on my plate. Each had its own condiments. Monteiro’s, at front right, could be dressed with peanuts, cranberries and toasted coconut.