Spicy Beet Poke

Reinventing the wheel right here ↓

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com

Okay, I have to admit that this wasn’t my own inventive idea, but I do have to say I’m pretty darn excited that I’ve created my own version to enjoy WHENEVER I want. Spicy Beet Poke is going to be my jam for the foreseeable future.

I first tasted Beet Poke at Mud Hen Water on my trip to Honolulu in November. As soon as I took a bite, I kicked myself for not having thought of this idea myself. Basically, we’re talking all of the delicious flavors that go into making the classic ahi poke, but subbing in this hearty, sweet root vegetable instead of the fish. The version I had at Mud Hen Water was dressed as classic ahi poke is, but me being the heat-lover that I am, I had to go ahead and spice it up a bit.

Don’t get me wrong, I love good old Spicy Poke with fresh ahi just as much (or more) than the next gal, but I love it soooo much that sometimes I think I should cool it on my raw ahi intake (or drink a ton of green tea to counteract the mercury!) I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, balance is the key.

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com

P.S. Did you know my Spicy Poke Bowls are the number one pinned recipe on Pinterest??

This is also a great alternative for those who either (a) do not like or (b) cannot eat raw fish. I’m all about finding alternative versions of dishes that everyone can enjoy!

Plus, did I mention how healthy this Spicy Beet Poke is? Beets are chock full of Vitamin C, potassium and folate, and the dressing is incredibly light yet super flavorful. We use sesame oil and soy sauce, and feel free to use low-sodium soy if you’re watching your sodium intake. For the spice, we throw in some sambal oelek (aka Korean chili paste), and of course we need to add in the classic sliced green onions and white sesame seeds, for both great color AND flavor.

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com

In other words, this is the PERFECT dish for kicking off your New Year’s healthy eating resolutions on the right foot. And, if you roast the beets ahead of time, it comes together in less than 10 minutes flat. Healthy AND quick, how about that?

We’re heading back from Lake Tahoe today and, although it was so fun spending such quality time with our parents, I’m excited to get back home and get back into my routine again. I’m also working on my goals and content for 2017, so please let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see more of here at CaliGirl Cooking for the New Year.

Have a great rest of the week and I’ll see you on Friday with a “healthy” cocktail recipe!

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Spicy Beet Poke
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

A vegan take on the classic Hawaiian ahi poke, with beets taking place of the fish and a spicy kick that will keep you coming back for more!

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 medium beets, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek (or sriracha)
  • Seaweed salad, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place beets on a jelly roll pan lined with aluminum foil and drizzle on olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss a bit to combine. Roast in oven for about 40 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the beets with a fork. Remove and place in refrigerator until cold to the touch, at least 30 minutes.

  2. Remove the cold beets from the refrigerator and cut into cubes. Place in a medium mixing bowl. Add green onions, soy sauce, sesame seeds, sesame oil and sambal oelek and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with seaweed salad. This dish is best served cold.

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

It’s so healthy you can eat the whole thing!!

Healthier Hurricane Popcorn

Popcorn = life.

Healthier Hurricane Popcorn | CaliGirl Cooking

We’re back in the states and I’m feeling serious vacation hangover. I wish we could have stayed in Belize for just a little while longer! I just keep reminding myself that we took a shorter honeymoon so we can take some more big vacations later this year…It will all have been worth it in the end!

Right now all I want to do is sit on the couch with a big bowl of this Healthier Hurricane Popcorn and sift through all of our wedding and honeymoon photos. Do I really have to adult today?

Healthier Hurricane Popcorn | CaliGirl Cooking

Regardless of whether or not we have to face the real world again, I’m definitely going to be popping up some of this deliciousness today. Who here has ever even heard of Hurricane Popcorn? If you’ve ever spent a significant amount of time in Hawaii (or just gone to see a movie while visiting), you’ll likely have heard of Hurricane Popcorn. It’s essentially extra-buttery popcorn tossed with furikake (one of my absolute favorite Asian ingredients made up of nori, sesame seeds, and other seasonings) and arare (a.k.a. Japanese rice crackers.)

If you’ve never heard of or don’t have any idea where to find things like furikake or arare, have no fear. Both are available on Amazon (as is everything else under the sun.) So there really are no excuses not to stuff your face with this Healthier Hurricane Popcorn right away!

Seriously, this stuff is like crack. Once you start eating it, you’ll hardly notice that 5 minutes later you just MIGHT have eaten the whole bag. And you have the buttery fingers to prove it. Now aren’t you glad I’ve come up with a healthier version for you?

Healthier Hurricane Popcorn | CaliGirl Cooking

It’s a SUPER easy swap: I simply used coconut oil instead of butter! Not only is it healthier, but it adds an extra-tropical touch to a recipe that’s already associated with warm weather and humidity.

Here’s how we do it:

We pop up some plain popcorn in a pan and use coconut oil to pop instead of the usual peanut or canola oil one might use.

After the corn is popped, we add just a little more coconut oil and the furikake and give it a good toss.

Lastly, we toss in the arare and eat up all of the Healthier Hurricane Popcorn immediately!

Pretty easy, right? Healthy, delicious, addicting…This is the perfect “I can’t adult today recipe.” Now, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be sitting on the couch with a giant bowl of this and putting off any work I should be getting done today.

Healthier Hurricane Popcorn | CaliGirl Cooking

Healthier Hurricane Popcorn

15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Makes 6 cups

A healthier take on a popular Hawaiian snack: popcorn popped in coconut oil and topped with furikake and arare. A delicious movie treat!

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil (liquid state), divided
  • 6 tablespoons popcorn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon furikake
  • ½ cup arare

Instructions

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add a couple of unpopped popcorn kernels to the pan. Once they pop, add the rest of the kernels.
  2. Cover pan with a lid and shake gently over heat to ensure as many kernels as possible get popped. Once you no longer hear popping, remove pan from heat.
  3. Add 1 more tablespoon of coconut oil and furikake to the popped corn. Toss to coat.
  4. Finally, stir in the arare.
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Healthier Hurricane Popcorn | CaliGirlCooking.com

Feed me.

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This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Li Hing Pineapple Margarita

We’re well into summer so it’s about time that I shared a Hawaiian-inspired cocktail with you!

Li Hing Pineapple Margarita | CaliGirl Cooking

These Li Hing Pineapple Margaritas are the perfect, refreshing adult beverages to (a) make for your next cocktail party (b) serve ice cold at your next pool party  or (c) whip up when you get home from work this evening because, let’s face it, you will most DEFINITELY be needing a margarita after a long day at work. I must say that these would also pair perfectly with this Ahi Poke Salad with Macadamia Nuts, let’s just make it a Hawaiian-themed evening!

But what, you say, is this bright red ingredient called li hing? Li hing is actually officially known as “li hing mui,” which is a salty dried plum found at Hawaii’s numerous “crack seed stores.” I’m not a huge fan of the plums in their whole dried form, but li hing mui powder is one of my absolute favorite Hawaiian ingredients. It’s sweet, with just a little bit of saltiness. Some of my favorite uses for li hing mui powder are to sprinkle it over fresh mango and pineapple, mix it into the Japanese arare rice crackers or, of course, mix it into a margarita!

Li Hing Pineapple Margarita | CaliGirl Cooking

The slight saltiness of the li hing mui powder is the perfect contrast to the typically highly acidic margarita. Plus, I must add that it imparts such an amazing color to the drink! Go ahead, skip the lipstick for the evening, you definitely won’t be needing it if you’re enjoying one of these Li Hing Pineapple Margaritas.

Speaking of lipstick, I’m so excited to get dolled up again this weekend for one of my closest Napa friend’s wedding. Anyone else attending weddings this weekend? We’re certainly in the middle of the season! I’ve been in Santa Cruz the past couple of nights spending some time with Mom and Dad, but Chris and I are heading up to Napa tonight for the wedding tomorrow evening. It will be so great to be back in Wine Country, we miss it dearly every time we leave! Good thing we’ll be back in two weeks for our own wedding 😉

So, since I’ll be traveling this weekend and will most likely be consuming more wine than anything else, can you do me a favor and enjoy some of these Li Hing Pineapple Margaritas for me? The li hing mui powder can be found on Amazon (as can most of these zany ingredients I like to use) so hurry up and order some fast if you don’t already happen to have some in your pantry (or hit me up, I have quite the stockpile that you can borrow from!)

Once you have the li hing mui powder in hand, these drinks are a snap to make. We even get fancy and rim our glasses with a little extra of the good stuff because, when in Rome (or Hawaii?)

Li Hing Pineapple Margarita | CaliGirl Cooking

I used Trader Joe’s pineapple juice for this recipe (we love their juices because they don’t have a bunch of unnecessary added ingredients) BUT if you wanted to use fresh pineapple juice, you could easily make what juice you need and then cover any leftover pineapple in li hing mui powder. Just saying. Maybe even add it as a garnish for the drink? Now I’m kicking myself for not thinking of that before I took these photos!

Anywho, these Li Hing Pineapple Margaritas come together like any other margarita, so you know the drill. We simply add a ½ a teaspoon of li hing mui powder to all of the other ingredients when we shake them up in the cocktail shaker. Easy as that!

Do you have any fun recipes involving li hing mui powder? If so, please share! I have sooo much that needs to be put to good use.

Have a great weekend, friends, and be sure to follow along with me on Snapchat (@caligirlcooking) and Instagram for all of our travel adventures! XO

Li Hing Pineapple Margarita | CaliGirl Cooking

Li Hing Pineapple Margarita

5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: Makes one cocktail

A tasty margarita featuring fresh pineapple juice and Hawaiian li hing mui powder. The perfect balance of sweet and salty!

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounces white tequila
  • ½ ounce Triple Sec or Cointreau
  • Juice of 1 a lime, divided (you will need ½ for the actual drink and ½ for rimming the glass)
  • 1 ounce sweet-and-sour (I prefer Sonoma Syrup’s Five Citrus Sweet & Sour)
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • ½ teaspoon li hing mui powder plus ½ - 1 teaspoon more for rimming the glass

Instructions

  1. Combine tequila, orange liqueur, juice of ½ of a lime, sweet-and-sour, pineapple juice and ½ teaspoon li hing mui powder in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Using two small bread plates, squeeze juice from the other ½ of the lime on one and ½ - 1 teaspoon of li hing mui powder on the other. Take margarita glass and dip in lime juice first, then dip in li hing mui powder. Set aside.
  3. Shake ingredients in the cocktail shaker vigorously for about 30 seconds, then pour into rimmed margarita glass. Garnish with a lime wedge or li hing mui-covered pineapple chunk, if desired.
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Li Hing Pineapple Margarita | CaliGirl Cooking

I believe it’s high time for a margarita.

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Kamaboko Dip

Shout-out to all my Island peeps!

Kamaboko Dip | CaliGirl Cooking

Today I am sharing one of my favorite Hawaiian party dips and I couldn’t be more excited. I first have to give credit to Auntie Leona, who has been making Kamaboko Dip for us whenever we visit Oahu for, oh, since I can remember? This dish always has to make an appearance when we’re there, or else my brother would never forgive Auntie.

Now, my kane and wahine, this is so simple to make. The hardest part will be tracking down some of the ingredients, but I’ve included links to buy the tricky ones and easy substitutions for others so you have absolutely no excuse not to go into your kitchen and make Kamaboko Dip right this instant (or in two days when your Amazon Prime order shows up at your door.) Plus, I’m sharing this recipe a full TWO WEEKS before Super Bowl which means it better be making an appearance in front of the TV on game day (along with these Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates, this Caramelized Fennel, White Bean & Gruyere Dip, this Mango Salsa and this Pastrami Pizza.) Just saying.

Kamaboko Dip | CaliGirl Cooking

Did I mention this dip is also pretty darn healthy? Whoa whoa, let me back up a bit. The original Kamaboko Dip recipe, like “Auntie’s version,” is not exactly what we would classify as “healthy” (hello sour cream and mayonnaise!) And if you could care less about your Super Bowl Sunday being “healthy,” then by all means go for the full-fledged version (which I also tell you how to do here), but this blog is all about balance, right? I took the liberty of taking the original recipe and tweaking it just a leeeetle bit to make us feel slightly less guilty for consuming it all in one sitting using Maui onion potato chips as a vehicle from bowl to mouth. Oh, is that just me? You can tell I really love this dip.

So, although you may not recognize all of the ingredients, the list is short and simple: Greek yogurt, a tiiiiiny bit of mayo, kamaboko (fishcake), dashi powder and green onions. Shred up the kamaboko, chop up the green onions, throw everything together in a bowl and we’re ready before the National Anthem has even been sung.

Kamaboko Dip | CaliGirl Cooking

Even though we’ve “healthied” this recipe up a bit, it still tastes absolutely amazing (if the rate at which the fiancé and I ate it is any indication.) You really cannot tell that we’ve used mostly Greek yogurt instead of the standard version of half sour cream and half mayonnaise. There’s a slight sweetness from the kamaboko, the tartness from the yogurt, and the combined flavor of the green onions and dashi that make this Kamaboko Dip the perfectly balanced, healthy party dish. And, although it is delicious with plenty of healthy “dipper” options (vegetables, pretzels, pita bread or chips, etc.) please, please, please do me a favor and at least give the Maui onion potato chips a shot. You won’t be sorry, even if you have to do a few extra lunges the next day.

Kamaboko Dip | CaliGirl Cooking

Happy Sunday my friends! Aloha!

Kamaboko Dip

Yield: Makes 2-3 cups

An easy, healthy Hawaiian party dip utilizing the classic fishcake, kamaboko.

Ingredients

  • 2 green onions, chopped (both green and white parts)
  • 1 dashi powder packet
  • 8 ounces kamaboko, grated or shredded (OR you can use imitation crabmeat if you can't find kamaboko)
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir to combine. For best results, let dip sit for about a half hour before serving. Serve with crudites, pita chips, tortilla chips or Maui onion potato chips (the best!)

Notes

To make the "not-so-healthy" version, simply omit the Greek yogurt and use 3/4 cups each of mayonnaise and sour cream.

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Kamaboko Dip | CaliGirl Cooking

Come to mama.