A PACT With The Iron Chef

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - August 04, 2010
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Delicious, enticing food brimming with a fusion of exotic flavors is a hallmark of one unique chef: Masaharu Morimoto. He’s known to millions around the world as the star of Iron Chef and Iron Chef America, and he’s coming to Hawaii.

Morimoto currently has six restaurants, and lucky No. 7 will be in Waikiki.

Born and raised in Hiroshima, Morimoto traveled the world in search of diverse recipes, flavors and aromas to integrate into his own cooking style. Today, he’s a chef, restaurant owner, Food Network star, community partner, teacher, cookbook author and all-round culinary superstar.

Morimoto plans to bring his own brand of “global cooking” - a seamless integration of Western and Japanese ingredients - to his new Waikiki restaurant this fall. He’s also exploring ways to integrate locally grown and harvested eco-friendly produce into the unique menu.

Chef Morimoto has already started to play an active role in our communities. Recently, he shared his love of cooking with children and teens at a PACT (Parents and Children Together) event in Aiea.

PACT holds its own annual version of the Iron Chef competition, which helps kids learn about teamwork, healthy competition and nutrition, and he was on hand to encourage these young chefs in the competition and spread the message that cooking can be fun for everyone.

We’ve been blending the cuisines of Asia and Polynesia for generations while also inviting in the flavors and spices of Europe into our kitchens. This is one town that’s ready for Iron Chef!

With his reputation for innovation and originality, local foodies can expect nothing but the best when Morimoto Waikiki opens its doors. Aloha and welcome to Hawaii, Chef Morimoto, and a hearty thank you for sharing the recipe below with MidWeek readers!

Squid meat is best described as mild, a bit chewy, firm and sweet in taste. When purchasing, squid should be shiny and firm and smell like the ocean with no fishy smell, and the membrane covering it should be gray.

Squid is a good source of protein and an excellent source of riboflavin, vita-min B12 and selenium.


* 1/2 pound fresh squid, sashimi quality, bodies only, no tentacles
* 2 bunches scallions, roots trimmed
* 1/2 cup white miso (called Saikyo miso paste)
* 1 tablespoon mirin
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1/2 egg yolk
* 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
* 2 teaspoons Japanese spicy yellow mustard

Rinse the squid well. Cut crosswise into rings about 3/8-inch wide. Have a bowl of water with ice near the stove.

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the squid and cook for 15 seconds, just until the squid turns opaque. Immediately remove the squid with a slotted spoon and plunge it into the ice water. Reserve the poaching liquid. Drain the squid rings and pat dry.

Return the poaching liquid to a boil. Holding the whole scallions with your fingers, lower the white bulbs into the reserved boiling water and cook for 20 to 30 seconds, or until softened. Turn them upside down and dip the green part of the scallions into the pot for 5 to 10 seconds, just until wilted. Drop them into a bowl of ice water or rinse under cold running water to cool.

Drain the scallions and pat them dry, and press out any excess liquid. Using the back of a large chef’s knife, press firmly on the green part of the scallion and run the knife down its length to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Cut the scallions into 1-inch lengths. In a medium bowl, combine white miso paste, mirin, sugar, egg yolk, rice vinegar and mustard and blend them well with a whisker until creamy. Add the squid rings and scallions and toss to coat. Serve in a small bowl-type dish.

Makes four servings.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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