Chef David “Jay” Ledee. Photo by Sean Michael Hower.
DAVID “JAY” LEDEE
Japengo, Hyatt Regency Maui
At Japengo we use Bigeye Ahi Tuna, because it’s from Hawaiian waters. Most people use Yellowfin Tuna, which is an inferior product. The Bigeye we use is graded a 34+ on a scale of 1-35 and it’s sourced from Tropic Fish Company, which is owned by generations of local residents. We source Ahi, Kanpachi and Hirame from Hawaii, along with Maui onions and mixed Kula greens and papayas from Hana. Cucumber Sunomono is a very simple recipe that’s very healthy and refreshing. It’s used in Japanese cuisine to cleanse the palette, but is very easy to make using local vegetables. You can also use other crunchy vegetables besides local cucumber.
After cutting, rinse Maui onions in water (in a strainer) to get the “gameness” out and highlight their natural sweet flavor.
Cut local Japanese cucumbers as thin as possible and let sit in salty water for 12 minutes.
Squeeze all water out and set cucumbers on side.
Put one part Rice Vinegar and one part cooking Mirin in a sauce pan and bring to simmer.
Cool vinegar mixture (called nihazu) and pour over cucumbers in small bowl and sprinkle sesame seed if desired.
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About Jen Russo
I write lifestyle and culinary columns for MauiTime. I love being a Maui girl and adore my big family. Dedicated food taster, blogger, internet fanatic, and Maui and Hawaii specialist.