Kaiulani's Exotic Curry Fried Rice with Cranberries

Kaiulani Spices: Kaiulani Cowell prepares her signature Exotic Curry Fried Rice with Cranberries

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may remember hearing about Kaiulani Spices from the KCC Farmers’ Market walkthrough featured here this past March.

The photo set above gives you a preview of how this spice is used to make one of the most delicious Curry Rice dish’ I’ve ever had, as done by Kaiulani herself with the help of her assistant.

In this installment, here we shall give it a real spin at home as I finally got around to putting the bottle I bought back then to use in the kitchen.

While I can’t technically confirm it, off the cuff I’d say what sets Kaiulani’s Curry blend apart from other curry seasonings on the market are 1: its simplicity; and 2: again its simplicity in combination with just the right ratio of Hawaiian Salt and brown sugar. Those two basic ingredients are key in giving this curry just the right amount of robustness and depth without going over or underboard.

Here’s the backside label with all the important details…

Being this is “exotic” fried rice, the recipe calls for day-old Jasmine Rice, which is exactly what I did, letting it sit at room temperature in the pot overnight to let it dry out a bit. In case you’re not familiar with Jasmine Rice, it’s considerably more expensive than your usual Hinode medium grain white rice. But what it offers is a distinct nutty flavor. This the brand most commonly found in grocery stores and the one I used…

Its cooking method is similar to medium-grain white rice. I always add a little bit of vinegar to prevent it from prematurely spoiling.

Along with the core ingredients – the curry spice blend and the rice – you need a few other complimentary ingredients, including finely-chopped Cilantro (Chinese Parsley), Scallions (green onions), minced garlic and dried cranberries (a.k.a. “craisins”)…

As you see, we have these key ingredients set up “Mise en place”, which is the established French method of having everything ready to cook in place. And this is very important with a dish like this, as you want flexibility of quantities based on personal taste.

To start this off, of course you gotta’ have your 4 cups of day-old cooked Jasmine Rice. Got that? Good. Then you have your Mise en place of ingredients as shown above. With that, you pour about 1/3 cup of Olive Oil, which in this case I used Extra Virgin (a.k.a. E.V.O.O.) into a sautee pan. Swapping out a smaller saute pan I have on hand, I chose instead to use here this more substantial-sized and accommodating non-stick electric-powered Wok, which works (“woks”) great…

As per the recipe, the first ingredient that hits the oil is the curry blend…

It’s important to keep the temperature on the low side, otherwise the sugar in the blend will burn. You keep stiring this until the Hawaiian Salt melts, after of which you add minced garlic, cilantro and cranberries…

Kaiulani’s execution of it looked like this…

Ah, close enough, yet I gotta’ admit, hers looks more incorporated.

This is the point where you need “Smell-O-Vision” to appreciate the absolutely delicious fragrance given off as the curry, garlic, cilantro and cranberries heat up and infuse in the olive oil. This is gonna’ be good eats alright.

After I was confident all the flavors were infused in the olive oil and the garlic was tender and cooked down, I added the cooked, day-old Jasmine Rice…

Then gently tossed and stirred to combine, until every rice grain was evenly coated a golden curry yellow tinge…

As you see here in Kaiulani’s execution, a generous helping of scallions are added as it’s stirred to combine…

and I must say after making this myself for the first time, the green onions (scallion) are a very important final flavor factor in this dish, and would be shortchanged without it, so keep that in mind. Actually, this is such a simple dish to begin with, really, why would you leave anything out?

Here you see with Kaiulani’s preparation of the dish, it’s pretty much done…

Same here with mine in a second batch, this time in a saute pan..

After all the rice is thoroughly coated, check for seasoning and add salt if necessary or to taste.

This is Kaiulani’s sample…

and here’s my “sample”, actually in the form of a complete dish, including an entree of sauteed Mahimahi…

The way I saute the Mahimahi is very simple and comes out perfect every time no matter which fish you use: lightly rub some EVOO on fish then add a light sprinkle of garlic salt and fresh-cracked black pepper evenly on both sides, then saute in a half-blend of EVOO and butter until a golden brown crust is formed on the outside, while remaining medium-rare inside, cooking it no further than that. Remove from pan. By the time the fish sits for a few minutes on the side after it’s cooked, it goes into the medium range, which comes out absolutely moist and tender without being dried-out. I start with the pan on medium high to brown the outside, then turn it down a little, depending on the thickness of the cut.Comes out perfect every time.

That moist, almost buttery, golden-brown sauteed Mahimahi, combined with the complex blend of nutty, savory, acidic and sweet flavors going on with the exotic curry rice with cranberries results in a dish worthy of being served in any resort restaurant.

What I’d like to try next time is incorporating coconut milk into this dish. I love coconut-flavored curry as well.

I highly recommend you try Kaiulani’s Exotic Curry Fried Rice recipe using her proprietary blend of spices. If you’re a curry rice fan, you’ll love this one, I can almost guarantee it.

What? Kaiulani’s Medium Exotic Curry Rub & Seasoning
Where did you buy it and how much? KCC Farmers’ Market, $4.99/3 oz. bottle (also available at these fine retailers)
Big shaka to: An absolutely delicious and easy to prepare curry rice recipe/dish using this product. Perfect balance of salt, sugar and curry spice blends. no MSG. Incredibly delicious-smelling aroma as it cooks. made in Hawaii
No shaka to: n/a
The Tasty Island SPAM Musubi rating: 3 in and of itself (4 or perhaps 5 with the olive oil and butter-sauteed Mahimahi)

P.S. Here’s a plate of grindz from Chun Wah Kam Kapolei served with Kaiulani’s Exotic Curry Fried Rice. In this case including your standard Cinese style shoyu chow funn noodles, pork hash, along with traditional steamed Charsiu Manapua and Honey Garlic Chicken Manapua…

Now that is what you call a SPREAD my friends. Oo-uh-right! CWK’s Honey Garlic Chicken Manapua is a winnah too, gotta’ say. It tastes like there’s Azuki beans in it, though it says there’s mushroom…

This is a luscious mix of garlic, honey, mushroom and chicken

Char Hung Sut not withstanding, Libby’s still got the best buns, while CWK has the edge on a more robust, moister, fuller filling™ (notice the Trademark) as it stands in the current and highly-competitive Oahu Manapua market.



8 thoughts on “Kaiulani's Exotic Curry Fried Rice with Cranberries

  1. absolutely fantastic execution pomai!!!! it reminds me of a pineapple chicken thai fried rice found here at my local thai take-out place on campus. they use raisins. awesome to see you in the kitchen cooking! cheers! 😛

  2. You’re making it really difficult to convince myself that oatmeal for is much better for me than other things I could be eating for breakfast. Oatmeal is goooood….oatmeal is taaaaasty……(sigh).

  3. Pomai, they should Thai Fried Rice also. Your brine should be package and sold. I think it great for chicken before you roast it or bar b q it since last entry you mention it was dry. Here in Safeway for two turkeys brine mix 7.00 that so high of a cost. I like Chun Wah Kam manapuas for more filling.

    But Libby you get something called extras that is rudeness. My friend got number 3 and other got number 2 in extras Ha Ha.

    That Guri Guri recipe is in all blogs which I change it to more juice than condensed milk to get that sherbet texture. I use fruit punch instead.

  4. Pomai, Dude Man you cooking again?!!! I will try it out too. Went to Chun Wah Kam and like their stuff but something missing. Like other people I like the extras also. He He He.

  5. Looks ono! It was all I could do to stop myself from sniffing the screen when I saw the photos of the spice hitting the oil.

    I think the sweetness of dried cranberries are an excellent balance to anything spicy. I keep a Costco-sized bag of Craisins in my pantry and like to snack on a mix of those and some Thai-spiced cashews that I get from Trader Joe’s.

  6. Jenny, can’t beat the price at Costco for that massive bag of Craisins. For about half the price, you only get a little “teaser” bag at the supermarkets.

    Kelike, Diner A’s experiences grabbing grinds at Chun Wah Kam Kapolei have been been a mixed bag as far as “extras”… as in SERVICE. The first time he went there, the server was kinda’ rude. But this last time, he was the only patron (he was there early), so it they were very cordial.

    Betty, thanks for the Guri Guri tip. If anyone can figure out the Tasaka “secret”, it’d probably be you!

    Spotty, at least the Oatmeal is helping to reduce your cholesterol count as well as well providing lots of fiber.

    Raph’, IIRC, the Panda Express in Hawaii Kai had some kind of Pineapple Chicken dish.

    Okihwn, soon you’ll be able to check out the Farmers’ Market yourself. The days are counting down!

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