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Hawaiian Long Rice
A culinary melding of Chinese and Hawaiian cuisine, our recipe of the month is Hawaiian Long Rice, a very popular dish for luau celebrations.

Long Rice

Chicken long rice is a dish that is popular at Hawaiian luaus but its origins are from Chinese cuisine that was brought over with Chinese immigrants working on sugar plantations in the mid 1800s. Chinese men who worked on the sugar plantations intermarried with Hawaiian women and the Chinese dish evolved into the uniquely Hawaiian Chicken long rice enjoyed today. Chicken long rice consists of a soupy mixture of chicken, a noodle-like ingredient made from mung beans called long rice (although it goes by many different names including bean noodles, glass noodles, or cellophane noodles), ginger and onions, all in a flavorful chicken stock. It is a simple dish that is very popular at Hawaiian luaus.

The luau is a tradition that started around 1819 with King Kamehameha II when he abolished the practice of separation of genders and classes during celebrational feasts. Before the tradition of luaus, Hawaiian people were separated by class and gender when having feasts known as 'aha'aina to celebrate life milestones. Because of Kamehameha II, the luau replaced the 'aha'aina tradition. The word luau is acutally the Hawaiian name for the taro leaf which is eaten at such feasts. Taro was highly regarded by Hawaiians because it was one of their main staple foods and essential to their survival. So important was taro that it was considered in their religious mythology as the elder sibling to the Hawaiian people. Traditional luaus were a major event and usually included hundreds, and sometimes possibly even thousands, of people. Today people still practice luaus but on much smaller scales; usually friends and family come together to celebrate special events.

This recipe makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 pounds of chicken thighs
  • 3 quarts of water
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger root
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 8 ounces of long rice
  • 3 green onions, chopped

Preparation:

  1. Put the chicken into a 5 quart saucepan
  2. Add 2 quarts of the water, the salt and ginger
  3. Bring to a boil, skim, lower heat, and simmer for forty minutes
  4. Remove from heat and drain, while saving the broth
  5. Remove meat from chicken, while discarding the bones
  6. Shred the meat and set aside
  7. Put broth, onion, bouillon cubes and the remaining 1 quart of water into saucepan
  8. Bring the broth to a boil
  9. Add the long rice, then lower the heat and cook, covered for 5 minutes
  10. Turn off heat and let stand about 30 minutes
  11. With kitchen shears, cut the long rice into approximately 3 or 4 inch lengths
  12. Stir in the chicken and heat briefly before serving
  13. Sprinkle with green onions
  14. Add soy sauce to taste if desired

* Ths recipe uses tradtional ingredients. Many people now add additional vegetables such as what one might add to a stirfry.

Recipe submitted by Ian Williams
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