Good times and ono grinds were had by all at the first annual Pupupalooza appetizer contest, part of the Puna Culinary Festival, held at Kalani Oceanside Retreat.
Guests were treated to live music as they selected which pupus to try. Scripts for tasting were sold 10 for $5 which was a great way to keep down the feeding frenzy that tends to happen at free tasting events. Guests were relaxed as they perused the offerings and made their choices, getting the chance to talk with contestants as well as vote for their favorite pupu.
The big winner of the day was Lori Kong, owner of Aloha Lehua Cafe, with her Hawaiian Nachos which took the best overall award and the people's choice award. Other prizes went to Ellen Einhorn (Most Creative), William Butako (Best Presentation), and Josef Schneider (Best Use of Local Ingredients).
As far as cooking contests go, and I have been to A LOT of them, this was one the most enjoyable and best organized events yet. I hope they host this contest again next year.
I didn't place at this contest, but if you are interested, the recipe I submitted is below.
Avocado Kim Chee Potstickers
· 1 package locally made potsticker / gyoza wrappers (about 50)
· 1 ripe Big Island avocado
· 1 Big Island, organic egg
· 1 cup locally made kim chee
· 1 chopped Big Island green onion
· ¼ cup chopped Big Island cilantro
· ¼ cup chopped Thai basil
· 1 Big Island lime
· Salt to taste
· About 6 TBL spoons coconut oil
For dipping sauce:
· ½ cup Hawaiian shoyu
· ½ cup water
· 4 TBL spoons rice vinegar
· 4 tsp Hawaiian sugar
· 4 tsp sesame oil
· 1 chopped green onion
· 2 chopped garlic cloves
· 1 tsp chopped Big Island ginger
Make dipping sauce first, so it can marinate. Combine ingredients in a mason jar and shake well.
In a small bowl, combine and mash avocado, chopped herbs, lime juice and salt.
In a food processer, pulse kim chee until shredded.
In another small bowl, beat the egg.
Working one at a time, fill each wrapper with 1 tsp avocado mixture and 1 tsp kim chee.
With your finger, put a little egg on edge of wrapper, fold over and press to seal.
In a skillet over medium heat, add about1 tsp coconut oil.
Cook 6 – 10 potstickers at a time - do not crowd in pan.
Cook covered for 2 minutes, flip and cook another 2 minutes uncovered.
Repeat until all potstickers are cooked, adding coconut oil as needed.
Serve with dipping sauce and enjoy!