Putting Poke In A Purse At Halekulani

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - February 09, 2011
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Chef Darryl Fujita was born and raised in Honolulu, and began his career in the hospitality industry in 1984 when he joined Halekulani as a cook. Through years of training with some of the world’s best chefs and executives, Fujita rose to executive chef of Halekulani in 1997.

In October 2008 he chose to focus on his responsibilities as chef de cuisine of Orchids restaurant, with its relaxed casually elegant atmosphere and spectacular ocean views.

The signature oriental steamed onaga is exquisite, and the menu features an innovative choice of delicious dishes.

Halekulani chef de cuisine Daryl Fujita with his Ahi-Nori Purses

Unlike many chefs who mentored under European chefs abroad, Fujita apprenticed in his backyard, in the kitchens of Halekulani. He trained under the hotel’s top chefs and orchestrated culinary events and workshops with the legendary Le Cordon Bleu School and master chefs from North America, Japan and Bangkok.

Fujita has always had a passion for cooking, and says with a smile, “Food is love and eating is happiness. I enjoy being able to give so many people happiness with my carefully crafted dishes. It is also most gratifying to me to receive compliments from our guests. Those take you away from the hustle and bustle of the day, and make you feel like you have made a difference.”

Fujita favors the classic preparation of cooking and features local products as much as possible. He never compromises on fresh ingredients, which is evident with the two to three daily deliveries of fresh fish.

He likes to spend his spare time with his wife and son, and also likes to play golf.

Here’s a recipe created by Fujita to share with MidWeek readers.



For Ahi Nori Purse:

• 10 ounces ahi, diced

• 3 tablespoons chopped ogo

• 3 tablespoons chopped Maui onion

• 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

• 1 tablespoon chopped green onion

sea salt, to taste

• 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce

• 8 nori sheets

• 1 egg yolk

oil, for deep frying

Combine all the ingredients except nori sheets and egg yolk.

Cut nori sheets in half, equally divide the poke mix in 12 parts and place in the center of each half sheet. Apply egg yolk around the poke and fold the nori like a purse. Deep fry until nori gets crisp.

Makes approximately 12 to 16 purses.

For Amarillo Chili Mayo:

• 8 tablespoons mayonnaise (may substitute light mayonnaise)

• 2 tablespoons Amarillo Chili Paste

Combine ingredients and mix well.

(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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