Savory Island-style Green Beans

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - February 20, 2008
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When Daughters of Haumea played in San Francisco recently, the audience and critical acclaim was unanimously overwhelming for kumu hula Patrick Makuakane’s latest creation.

Daughters of Haumea is coming to the Hawaii Theatre for two performances only, March 7 and 8, with Makuakane at the helm of his dynamic Hawaiian dance company, Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu.

Known for his innovative choreography, Makuakane brings hula to a new level and creates new dimensions to the dance form. He created a unique form of hula called “hula mua” that blends traditional movements with non-Hawaiian music, bringing greater depth and accessibility to the dance form than ever before.

Makuakane was born and reared here in Honolulu, beginning hula at age 13 and becoming a principal dancer with Na Kamalei, a premier male hula dance troupe in Hawaii. He has since performed around the country, including on Good Morning, America, at Carnegie Hall and at the Miss America Pageant. He’s a real credit to the Islands, having won such Mainland awards as the “Profile in Excellence” from KGO-TV for his outstanding work in the Asian/Pacific community in San Francisco, an Isadora Duncan Dance Award and a prestigious two-year Irvine Fellowship in Dance.

I would like to pay tribute to Makuakane with this dedication, and look forward to seeing Daughters of Haumea next month.

This recipe is a favorite in the Islands, and the use of low-sodium shoyu cuts the sodium content. I like to use fresh string beans whenever possible, but if they are not available, frozen beans can be substituted.

When purchasing fresh beans, look for firm, crisp beans that are a healthy green color and have a regular shape. Avoid beans with bruises or brown spots. The beans are fresh if beads of moisture form around the break when they are snapped in two.

Store fresh beans unwashed in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator; they will keep for about three days.

Raw beans are a good source of potassium and folic acid, and contain vitamin C, magnesium, thiamine, iron, vitamin A, and niacin as well as traces of copper, calcium and phosphorus.


* 2 pounds fresh green beans, cut ends off, or 2 pounds frozen green beans
* 1 tablespoon sesame oil or canola oil
* 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
* 1 small Maui onion, finely chopped
* 2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
* 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
* 3 tablespoons water
* salt
, to taste

Steam green beans in microwave until crisp-tender. In large saute pan, heat oil on medium heat and spread to coat bottom of pan evenly. Add garlic, onion and ginger and sauté on medium heat until lightly browned, stirring to prevent burning. Add green beans and stir to combine ingredients Sprinkle with pepper and stir to combine. Mix together shoyu and water, and stir into bean mixture. Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times until heated through. Add salt to taste.

Makes four side-dish servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 150
Fat: 2 grams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Sodium: 400 milligrams (depending on additional salt added)

(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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