Fill wok with enough canola oil to deep-fry Kole. Fry the Kole over medium heat; while fish is frying, season with Hawaiian salt. Cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes on the first side.
When the first side is cooked, flip and season other the side with Hawaiian salt. Continue to cook the other side for 3 minutes. When fish is thoroughly crispy and golden, remove and set it on a plate lined with paper towels, allow oil to drain.
Mix soy sauce and Hawaiian chili pepper in a bowl, and use as a dipping sauce. Enjoy!
Recipe by Chef Sheldon Simeon Photography by Mieko Horikoshi
2 lbs. cow skin, cut into 3-inch pieces 1 thumb-size pc. ginger root, crushed ½ C. apple cider vinegar 1 Kula onion, julienned 3 thumb-sized pcs. ginger root, peeled and chopped finely 1 Hawaiian chili pepper, chopped salt and pepper
Place cow skin in a medium-sized sauce pan, pour in water to cover the pieces of cow skin, bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and discard boiling water.
Rinse cow skin with cool water to rid the scum and return to sauce pan. Add in fresh water up to about 2 inches over the cow skins. Add in crushed ginger and bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the cow skins are tender and chewable but not overly soft. Add more water as necessary. Drain boiling liquid and allow cow skin to cool.
Cut cow skin into thin slices and place in a large mixing bowl. Add vinegar, finely chopped ginger, onion and chili and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Chef Sheldon Simeon’s gratitude cup is overflowing. Since finishing Top Chef Season 10 as a top-three finalist and fan favorite, the talented toque has partnered with chef and restaurateur Mark Ellman to open Migrant restaurant in Wailea. The awards came not too far behind, with Simeon most recently securing Food and Wine magazine’s “The People’s Best New Chef Award” in the Northwest and Pacific Division.
Accolades aside, it’s Simeon’s humble demeanor and smile that endear him to both peers and fans. One gets the idea that his successes are merely byproducts of what the two-time James Beard finalist celebrates most: family and the Filipino-Hawaiian culture that raised him.
On Maui, where Simeon and his wife Janice raise their four children, Thanksgiving resembles those of the chef’s younger days. Simeon’s dishes, which are replicated from his father’s recipes, are a delectable and honest study on authentic regional Filipino cuisine, specifically Ilocano.
At a Simeon Thanksgiving, there will be a lot of guts, and it will be glorious. Tripe is stewed with tomatoes, reminiscent of Italian Trippa. Most innards and cartilage are boiled down to a softer texture and flavored liberally with shoyu (soy sauce), vinegar and the essence of bay leaves or a combination thereof. The dishes tell a poignant history of hard-working folks who turned parts that would otherwise be discarded into something comforting and tasty. When one of his uncles puts a whole plate of thinly sliced, vinegary cow skin aside to take home, Simeon considers it the most meaningful approval. “That’s the best feeling,” he said. “I would take that over anything.”
Other less “gutsy” fare is still quintessentially Filipino. Ensaladang katuday is a lovely salad of white flower buds, blanched and mixed with cubed tomatoes and patis (fish sauce). Sweet tocino is smoked pork belly cooked with pohole (fern) shoots. Balatong is a thick stew made with boiled green monggo (mung beans). Simeon adds crispy-skinned lechon kawali (deep-fried pork belly) from Lahaina’s Ilocandia grocery store, bagoong (shrimp paste) and ali‘i mushrooms. The delicious soup is finished with marunggay (moringa) leaves, which the Simeon girls picked from their yard and cleaned.
Warm and melty blueberry mocha, almond cheesecake and bibingka, a Filipino holiday sticky rice pudding, marvelously conclude the extraordinary feast. And ever true to tradition, Simeon picks up an ‘ukulele to wind down a splendiferous evening of gratitude with family and friends.
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