After years of penning her food blog Fix Feast Flair, Maui girl Alana Kysar embarked upon another delicious endeavor: her new cookbook, Aloha Kitchen ($30, Ten Speed Press). Though Kysar now resides in Los Angeles, another colorful culinary destination, the recipes pay homage to the state’s unique fare. The book explores Hawai‘i’s history and the diverse cultures that have influenced the islands’ local food scene. Think satiating staples like loco moco and the ever-popular poke bowl. The recipes are Kysar’s interpretations of her own family recipes, but she suggests readers think of them as a foundation, not necessarily a strict formula. “I chose the paper in the book specifically because it’s easy to write on! People can scratch out things they don’t like, add new notes, and really take these recipes and make them theirs,” she encourages. Out of the 85 recipes, one of Kysar’s favorites is her mom’s mochiko chicken. “It’s a recipe that I tested and tried to improve upon about five times and, ultimately, landed on her original recipe wrapped in nori,” she says. Though she’s been living out of state for years now, Kysar’s heart is still very much here in Hawai‘i. “It’s hard not to miss how warm and friendly everyone is at home. I miss running into at least one person I know at the grocery store. I miss the way the islands smell,” she admits. That sentiment is one to which many people who have lived or visited the islands can relate. Surely Aloha Kitchen can bring a little piece of Hawai‘i to her kitchen and to yours.
Photography by: Alana Kysar by Joan Kysar