CHEF SAMBRANO Food Articles Video Recipes




Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Plate Lunch Recipe BEEF TOMATO

Plate lunches are the "stuff" the "goods" in Hawaii when it comes to good eats. And plate lunches can be totally American influenced, or Pacific, or Asian influenced, to even...Italian influenced, or Portuguese influenced, or Mexican influenced.

One of my favorite meals if a diner has it, is Beef Tomato. It is usually made with Chuck or Flank sections, and braised with spices and herbs, and onions and tomatoes. Some chefs make it spicy, some make it sweet, or sweet and sour. Whatever style they create, if done right I'll maul a plate.

Of course if you are making a plate lunch at home, have some white rice cooked, or brown. Also have your macaroni salad at the ready. In fact let's make some macaroni salad right now.

Macaroni Salad

1 lb. elbow macaroni (cooked to the package instructions) and drained well.
1/4 cup minced round sweet onions
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup green peas (thawed frozen)
1 can of tuna drained of all oil or water
Mayonnaise- (Best Foods) is the good brand that local chefs and home cooks use. As for the amount, it is up to you. Add in sparingly while mixing it up.

1. In a large bowl, add in the cooked and drained macaroni noodles. Add in all of the vegetables from the sweet round onions to the peas. Mix it well with hands that are cleaned or use culinary gloves.

2. Add in the tuna and mix well.

3. Add in mayonnaise a few small scoops at a time until mixing to a good consistency that you like. Too much mayonnaise it gets too messy, too little it gets dried out. Remember you will chill it in the fridge for a while. Always cover it tightly with plastic wrap.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste, and wrap up bowl with foil or plastic wrap and chill.

Beef Tomato
Serves 2-3

2 lbs. of Chuck or Flank. If using Chuck, cut into cubes, if using flank, cut across the grain into 1/4 inch slices thick.

Salt and pepper to taste

3 tbsp. vegetable oil + more if needed when cooking floured meat

2 cloves garlic minced

1 inch ginger minced

1 cup AP flour

1/2 cup of cooking sherry

20 fl oz of tomato sauce

2 bay leaves

1 cup of beef broth

1 large round onion sliced

4 large tomatoes, peeled of skin, and cut into cubes, with or without seeds

Dash of Thyme and Rosemary

1. Heat up large skillet with oil, and quickly salt and pepper the beef slices, and dredge them in flour quickly.

2. When the oil is hot, add in the garlic and ginger and cook for a few seconds to release the aroma. Then add in the beef slices, small batches at a time and sear the meat so it browns and juices release. Remove cooked pieces and set aside.

3. Add a little oil in skillet if needed, then cook the onions and tomatoes for about 2-3 minutes, then add in the sherry, tomato sauce, and beef broth, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves. Lower heat to medium or low simmer, return cooked meat to skillet and cover.

4. Cook over low heat for about 50 minutes.

Note: Locals like my self love this dish when everything is melted in the gravy, though some of my culinary expert friends will have the onions and tomatoes looking fresh and crisp for presentation. When, we are not into presentation rather the flavors all working in concert with each other.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Local Foods Maui

Coming to Maui? You want what locals eat? O.k. I got the place just for you, it is not a corporate run restaurant, it's a total throwback to the mom and pop days. The eatery is called No Ka Oi Deli, (Meaning The Best). It is located on the Wainee Street side on Wainee St and Papalaua in Lahaina on the west side.

What do they sell? They sell, rather serve up great tasty home cooking, and get this the bread that they use for their awesome sandwiches are made in-house, so if you want fresh, No Ka Oi is the place to go, and they are excellent, the sell out for lunch, and the owners go home and have family time. What an awesome business model, work hard, play hard!

Located at 222 Papalua St. Lahaina, HI 96761  808-667-2244.

Affordable, Cash only, casual, great for family, healthy, take-out, wheel chair accessible.

People swear by the turkey subs, teriyaki chicken plates and sandwiches, crab salad, I like the Rueben. 

Great food is simply made, all of the time, if you want fancy, this is not the place to get a lunch, however, the portions are generous, and like I said it's made fresh daily.

Get there early because the lines could be long, and everything is made to order so it may take a few minutes to place your oder and get your food, but these are the best placed to eat. If you want fast? Go across the street to Mc Donald's and get a lousy unhealthy meal. Spend some time waiting for the best food locals crave.

South Maui Shopping & Eating

Rainbow Mall Kihei
2439 S Kihei Rd.
Kihei, Hi 96753

Cafe O'Lei
Ph: 808-891-1368

Da Kitchen
Ph: 808-875-7782

Maui Custom Beachwear
Ph: 874-5153

S&Q Coffee & Shave Ice Shack
Ph: 808-344-6598

Maui Thai Restaurant
Ph: 808-874-5605

Aloha Discount Liquor
Full service Liquor Store

Maui Fine Art Gallery & Frame
Ph: 808-463-9383

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Crisp Teriyaki Tofu (Diabetic)

In this blog post, I'll delve in simple cooking right from the skillet, and all of these ingredients are safe for diabetics, however please consult with your doctor or dietician before trying this recipe.

1 block 14 oz. firm tofu (pressed of water)
1 1/2 cup of Nayonaise from Nasoya any flavor
1 1/2 cup of garbanzo flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika

1 1/2 cups of light soy sauce
3 tbsp of agave nectar
3/4 tsp. minced scallions
1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1/2 tsp. minced garlic

Mix (Slurry)
3 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. arrowroot

1. Mix the marinade in a mixing bowl. Slice tofu into 6 slices, pat dry with a paper towel. Soak each slice in the marinade for about 2 minutes each and set aside. Save marinade, you will cook this and thicken it as a glaze to pour over the crisp tofu.

2. In another mixing bowl, add in the Nayonaise (Vegan Mayo). Smother each tofu slice in the Nayonaise, and set aside. In another bowl, add in the garbanzo flour ingredients.

3. In a large stainless steel skillet 12" diameter, heat up 1 1/2 inches deep of vegetable oil over high heat, then lower to medium high. To test the oil, drop a piece of bread in to the hot oil, if it sizzles, the oil is perfect to fry.

4. Take the Nayonaise covered tofu and dredge it in the flour mixture. Fry one or two pieces of tofu at a time, cook until each side of each tofu slice turns golden, and set aside.

5. In a small saucepan, add in the reserved marinade, over medium high heat, bring to a good boil, add in the slurry to the marinade, cook stirring until thickened. Platter the tofu in a nice assembly, and drizzle the thickened marinade over the tofu, garnish with sliced scallions, and serve as an appetizer.

Nasoya Nayonaise is an excellent product for healthy eating, dairy free, no cholesterol. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Plate Lunch Madness

Hawaii is or should I say the Plate Lunch is Hawaii! Are you visiting Hawaii and want what locals eat or "grine"? Great, let's get down to business shall we. There are many local restaurants on Oahu, the Big Island of Hawaii, Maui and Kauai islands. And this is where you'll need to make use of your iPhone 5 or your new Android phone, by Yahooing, Googling, or Binging info.

Believe it or not, roasted pork is huge in Hawaii, despite roasted pork is found on the mainland, local style roasted pork consists of a slow roasted butt or shoulder, with garlic, salt and pepper, and a gravy that's made from deglazing the pan. So if you are in Hawaii and you love pork, find a place that serves up delicious roast pork plates, complete with 2 scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad.

If you find an Asian diner, and they have Chinese roasted duck, get that as well, locals love roasted duck Chinese style. Also Kalbi ribs, the BBQ Korean style short ribs, usually sold with 2-4 choices of Korean style veggies, and kimchi is one of them for sure.

Filipino restaurants are big in Hawaii, and they have some Americanized dishes that are very popular, and also the Spanish influence can be found in lots of the dishes, if you do find a good Filipino eatery, try the pancit noodles, think of this as a chow mein, also the chicken or pork adobo dishes, this tangy meal is very popular, with vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, soy sauce slow cooked to perfection, this is a winner. And if you can, get a chicken and green papaya soup, usually it's a large bowl of homemade chicken soup with lots of chicken and green papayas in it with ginger, garlic, and fish sauce.

Look for hamburger steaks with gravy, deep fried shrimp, dim sum too, Hawaii is a melting pot of great comfort foods. In fact you need to try the Hawaiian Lau Lau, beef and pork with butter fish wrapped in taro leaves and again wrapped in ti leaves, and steamed for tender, and the only seasonings used is Hawaiian sea salt, simple but delicious.

You might find teriyaki meatballs, or miso fish, that's right, Hawaii has so much good food and a myriad of variety it's unreal. Roast beef, roast chicken, pot roast local style, the list goes on forever. Portuguese bean soup is huge here, if a restaurant sells this, you gotta try it, hammocks, beans, onions, tomatoes, herbs and spices, with rice and even cornbread this soup sells out in many restaurants if it's on the chef's special.

Or maybe it's won ton soup with Chinese cabbage, or a meal made up of Chinese sausage lupcheong, and eggs. Or a dish of Spam and eggs for breakfast. Portuguese sausage omelets is my favorite for breakfast with a spoonful of Best Foods mayonnaise on top, it's epic.

I'm not done yet, if you get a chance to sample a steamed parrot fish stuffed with sausage, vegetables and soy sauce with mayonnaise, try it, parrot fish (Uhu) in Hawaiian is good eat, and I mean good eat with a capital G! Hmmm, what else can I tell you to try here in the islands? Well Mexican foods are huge too and is part of our culture now, there's a few good Mexican digs around, some make some great soup, or braises we welcome it for sure.

Okay- good luck in finding a good local dig on your vacation.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Melting Pot 100 Wines R.I.P.

Fondue, lots of wines, posh? Lahaina's Melting Pot 100 Wines went down for the count in February, and looks like they aren't going to be resurrected  they are finish, done, pau! When they first opened a few years ago, I gave them maybe 3 years tops to stay in business. Why? I just did not see the West Maui demographics supporting this concept, not with the way the economy was and still is. So what could have survived this area in the Lahaina Gateway? Well, 2 doors down Outback Steak House still is in business, although their lunch has been canceled. So what kind of restaurant would work in this vicinity? Well, for one, the visitor market is huge, that's our bread and butter, and if restaurant people want to make money they'll need to focus on what visitors come here for. Melting Pot? They can get that shit back home. IHOP? Outback? They're corporate restaurants that can be found in a feeking airport possibly.
So I believe business minded people should wake up, and study the market, study why Michael Moore's Aloha Mixed Plate, Old Lahaina Luau, Star Noodle, and Leoda's is such a success. These restaurants serve food that people want, and will buy. I think Moore should write a book on business and success, he's a genius businessman on Maui, employing hundreds, now that's valuable, a man with vision, great big vision, and putting people to work. All these other Bozos don't have a clue, they'll open up some stupid ass concept restaurant and they'll tank!

What I would do is open restaurants that serve up very delicious local style comfort foods, foods that are rooted in our being, like Japanese foods, Chinese foods, Filipino foods, and even Vietnamese, Thai and Korean, and the Polynesian foods too. Why? Because that's the roots here.

I have talked to many people from all over the world and what do they ask me? It's this, "How come there's a lot of restaurants that look like they belong somewhere else? What do you guys like to eat?" As a matter of fact, some tourist told me that they found more local culture and food in Downtown Honolulu and I do agree to some extent. Melting Pot? Not!

So here's a little advice if you or someone wants to open up a restaurant in Lahaina, study how to cook local type dishes the right way, or hire some locals put them to work, and you should be a success. I mean Chicago Style Pizza? Heck visitors from Chicago don't want to see that. But if someone had Brother Kimo's Plate Lunch Hut, now we're talking.

The sign in the window says it all, R.I.P. Melting Pot, you gave me 2 years more than expected, good try, but guys like you will never last on this island, never!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Vietnamese Roasted Crispy Chicken

In Hawaii (Maui) where I'm currently residing, when you are talking what kind of foods we eat here as locals, we do tend to side on the Asian side of the cuisine tracks. Though recently, there's a lot of Euro influenced restaurants, and that Bistro Feel is here, there's nothing better than going into some Asian restaurant or eatery, be it Chinese, Japanese, Korean or a place that serves all of them. I love Thai, Filipino, and drum roll please.............Vietnamese food!

Roasted chicken Vietnamese, or Ga Ro Ti, check this out! Easy to make, easy to eat. 


9 chicken thighs, skin on, the bone removed

(To de-bone a chicken thigh, use a boning knife, make slits on either side of the thigh, the back side of it not the skin side, pinch the thigh folding it in half skin side towards you, using the knife, carefully slice on the side of the bone, keeping bone outside of the knife)


1/4 C. coriander stems
3 inch ginger sliced
6 mushrooms sliced
2 cloves garlic sliced
1 small sweet Maui Onion sliced thinly
3 hot small red chili peppers
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
5 tbsp. Nuoc Cham (fish sauce)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. Schezuan peppercorns
1 stalk celery chopped
1 small carrot peeled and chopped
1 stalk lemon grass chopped


2 1/2 tbsp. vinegar
5-6 tbsp of organic honey (real honey)
5-6 tbsp of lime juice
1 tbsp dark soy sauce


1. In a medium roasting pan, fry up the onion, carrot, celery, ginger, garlic, mushrooms, chilies and the lemongrass.

2. Add in the sugar and stir it up after that add in 1/3 cup of chicken broth and the other ingredients. (More broth may be needed if no broth add water)

3. Continue to cook as the liquid reduces, and the sugar will turn to a glaze, so the chicken will become...glazy.

4. Keep simmering low heat for around 30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 400 deg F

6. Take the chicken out of the poaching liquid, place chicken onto another baking sheet lined with foil.

7. Let the chicken rest a few minutes then brush the Vietnamese Honey Glaze over the chicken, and roast for about 12 minutes or until the chicken gets crispy.

Serve with cooked rice, Jasmine is good rice, or any starch you choose.

Nuoc Cham is a Vietnamese style fish sauce, if you can't get that, buy Patis the fish sauce of the Philippines.

Friday, March 1, 2013


Take your frozen saimin, cook per package instructions, and add some of these ingredients.

Left over Kalbi ribs, sliced up

Kalua pig leftovers

Uneaten Portuguese sausage from breakfast

Leftover fried chicken

Leftover scrambled eggs

Your babies' half beef hot dog he couldn't finish

Leftover chopped steak

Leftover charsiu

Left over BBQ chicken

Chopped leftover lettuce or cabbage

Shredded leftover carrots

Leftover oxtails from the soup last night

Leftover meatloaf 

Leftover grilled mahi mahi

You see folks, leftover foods were made for that frozen saimin that you heat up on the stove, it is a marriage made from heaven, so whenever you cook saimin, or ramen, look for anything leftover in the fridge. Don't waste food, even if it is is food, well, food is to eat, if you are starving I don't think you'll give a shit if the saimin is a GMO.