Spicy Poke Nachos Recipe & Kawaihae Kandyz on the Big Island

Delicious, fresh ahi Poke that’s little sweet, a little spicy and sits atop the perfect gluten-free crunch. Spicy Poke Nachos Recipe & Kawaihae Kandyz on the Big Island By the end of our week on the Big Island of Hawaii, I’d asked every local I’d met what their favorite place to eat was.

I promise you, this is how you will find the best, most authentic food! It’s almost always where the locals eat!

Remember when I went to Hawaii a few years ago, that’s how I found the Hale I’A Da Fish House, that I loved so much?Spicy Poke Nachos Recipe & Kawaihae Kandyz on the Big IslandDon’t get me wrong, there are plenty of other restaurants with fabulous menus and gorgeous, tasty food — and we ate at those, too.

For me though, part of traveling to other places is learning about their culture through their food, and the best way to do that is to go to the off-the-beaten-path places. Spicy Poke Nachos Recipe & Kawaihae Kandyz on the Big IslandAt least three locals told me about Kawaihae Kandyz, so I had to try it.

It was about 45 minutes away from our resort, the Fairmont Orchid (about 30 minutes north of Kona). And it was well worth the (beautiful) drive! Spicy Poke Nachos Recipe & Kawaihae Kandyz on the Big IslandI was so excited to pull up to this colorful building where the restaurant was located.  The colors were so fun — just like the food!Spicy Poke Nachos Recipe & Kawaihae Kandyz on the Big IslandIn Hawaiian, the word poke simply means “chunk.”  Throughout history, poke could refer to any meat or seafood that was cut into small pieces and marinated. Today though, it will usually refer to seafood, and most often ahi tuna. Spicy Poke Nachos Recipe & Kawaihae Kandyz on the Big IslandAt Kawaihae Kandyz you order at a window, and there’s only outdoor seating — a handful of small tables and a long counter with chairs.  It’s perfect.Spicy Poke Nachos Recipe & Kawaihae Kandyz on the Big IslandThough they have fish tacos and several sides, like kimchi, pickled cucumber and mac salad, the menu is all about poke!  So of course I ordered the Poke Sampler and the Kandyz Sampler — this way I was able to try almost everything.    Spicy Poke Nachos Recipe & Kawaihae Kandyz on the Big IslandEach and every bite was absolutely delicious.  Spot on!

Today I’m sharing a recipe I created for Poke Nachos, inspired by those included in the Kandyz Sampler.

It’s similar to theirs, but not exactly the same. Their nachos were served on crispy wontons and included a bit of seaweed and different sauces. Oh, and their ahi tuna was likely only out of the ocean for an hour!  It was SO fresh!  Spicy Poke Nachos Recipe & Kawaihae Kandyz on the Big IslandI made “chips” out of rice paper to keep the dish gluten-free so my son with Celiac wouldn’t miss out. I might have even preferred them— they’re so light!Spicy Poke Nachos Recipe & Kawaihae Kandyz on the Big IslandThis dish is an explosion exquisite flavors and textures.  I really hope you try it!  And should you find yourself on the Big Island in Hawaii, you should definitely try Kawaihae Kandyz.

Kawaihae Kandyz: 54-3886 Akoni Pule Hwy, Kapaau, HI 96755 | (808) 896-2767 | Hours: Wed – Sat, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Spicy Poke Nachos Recipe & Kawaihae Kandyz on the Big Island
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon light sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Tamari
  • ½ teaspoon Sriracha sauce, plus a bit more for drizzling
  • 1 finely chopped scallion (white and green portion)
  • ¼ pound sushi grade Ahi Tuna
  • grapeseed oil for frying (amounts will vary -- see instruction no. 3)
  • 2 (approximately 6-inch diameter) round rice papers
  • mayonnaise for drizzling
Instructions
  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the sesame oil, Tamari, Sriracha sauce and scallion. Stir to blend and and set aside.
  2. Cut the tuna into a small dice and add it to the bowl. Mix to be sure it’s well coated with all of the ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, over medium-high heat, heat about 3-inches of the grapeseed oil to 340 degrees F. (Amounts will depend on the size of the pan you choose.)Spicy Poke Nachos Recipe & Kawaihae Kandyz on the Big Island
  4. Cut the rice papers into six triangles each with scissors, and line a baking sheet with a layer of paper towels.Spicy Poke Nachos Recipe & Kawaihae Kandyz on the Big Island
  5. Once the oil is hot, drop the rice paper triangles into it, being sure there is space between them. They will turn bright white and puff up in literally 1 or 2 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to remove them and place them on the towel-lined baking sheet. Once they’ve cooled, arrange them on a serving platter and then evenly distribute the poke on top.
  6. Drizzle gingerly with a bit of the Sriracha and mayonnaise.
  7. Serve!
Notes
If you don’t have a thermometer, to check the temperature of the oil, you can test it with a tiny piece of the rice paper. If it instantly sizzles and puffs up, it’s ready.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Share on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrEmail this to someonePrint this page

Subscribe to Cooking On The Weekends so you don’t miss any new, mouth-watering recipes!

Comments

  1. Jagruti says

    Whenever I hear the word Hawaii, I only think of Hawaii50 🙂 glad you enjoyed your trip. This dish looks so nice, like the idea of using rice paper.

  2. says

    Such a great idea to ask locals about their favourite places to eat in to find the best of the best! Will keep it in mind next time I travel to a new place. And the recipe looks amazing!

    • valentina says

      Asking the locals is the best! And also, the places they send you to, are always WAY less expensive than any touristy restaurant. 🙂

  3. says

    I absolutely love your photos, gorgeous. I’ve never had a “poke” before.. In Ireland it’s something we wouldn’t have. the dish looks so tasty and vibrant.!

    • valentina says

      Thanks so much, Karyn! I hope you get to try poke one day! And Ireland has always been high of my “where-I-have-to-travel-to” list! One day . . . 🙂

  4. says

    Valentina – just so many things about this post make me happy! First, learning how to make my own rice puffs is brilliant! I never knew you could do that. Second, The recipe for poke is brilliant! And, third, Hawi and Kapaau were our two favorite places on the big Island. They were quiet, local, and authentic. We had some of the best sushi of our lives in Hawi. I really wish I had known about Kawaihae Kandyz! Did you ever hike into the gorge just north of Waimea? Sigh… now I want to go back to Hawaii!

    • valentina says

      We LOVE the big island! We didn’t do that hike, but we did go down the Kilauea’iki Trail to one of the black sand beaches. I spent most of my time sitting in a chair directly in the lagoon at our hotel. 😉 Next time we go I’ll have to hit you up for where you ate! Cheers! XOXO

      • says

        Absolutely! I hope our favorite places are all still there! And you definitely need to do that hike – it is a hidden gem. Seriously one of the most magical and spectacular hikes (and easy!) that I have done. Happy weekend!

        • valentina says

          You too, David! I’m writing that down at the top of my list for our next trip there. (In three years or so!) 🙂

  5. Emily says

    I made this recipe, and while I am not an amazing cook . . . it worked! My family loved it – I loved it! So, so delicious!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: