Hawaii is equally famous for it's macaroni and potato salads (okay, maybe just "island famous") so it only makes sense that two great tastes would taste great together, right? For those that are skeptical (and I know you are reading), I say, you just have to try it once and you will be a believer.
By now you probably already know that Hawaii consumes more Spam per capita than any of the other 49 United States, but I would venture to say that Hawaiians also consume more Best Foods mayonnaise. When making mac or potato salads, there is just no substitute. There just isn't so don't try to argue with any islander. You won't convince her otherwise. Best Foods FTMFW!
This salad was a huge hit at our Memorial Day barbecue where it was made by my sister. I love tuna in my macaroni potato salad so I include it here (in a recipe adapted from the excellent cookbook, The Island Plate), but you can omit it if you are a purist. Don't balk at the amount of mayo used. You want the salad to be very white and creamy.
If you don't want to make chili pepper water, you can subsitute Tabasco sauce. Potato-Mac salad is a plate lunch staple in Hawaii where it is usually served alongside--you guessed it, MORE STARCH--two scoops of rice.
- 1/2 lb macaroni
- 2 white (waxy) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1.5 cups Best Foods mayo
- Chili pepper water* (recipe follows)
- 1 6-ounce can of tuna, drained and flaked
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
- 1/2 carrot, peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup minced celery
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- chopped black or green olives (optional)
- chopped parsley or paprika for garnish (optional)
Cook macaroni in salted water according to package directions. Drain, but do not rinse. Set aside.
Cook potatoes in gently boiling, salted water until just tender, about 7 minutes. Check at the 5 minute mark to make sure they aren't too soft. Drain.
Place macaroni and potatoes in a large bowl. Sprinkle with chili pepper water, salt, and pepper to taste, and let sit for 10 minutes, then toss with 1 cup of mayonnaise and refrigerate until very cold, at least 1 hour. Add remaining ingredients and refrigerate. Just before serving taste for salt and pepper and toss with remaining half cup of mayonnaise so salad looks creamy and fresh. Garnish as you wish.
Chili Pepper Water
Recipe adapted from The Island Plate.
- Water (or some use gin or vodka or a combination of gin or vodka and water)
- generous pinch of coarse sea salt, Hawaiian preferred
- 2-3 small, hot, red chili peppers, stemmed and sliced in half. Since Hawaiian (nioi) peppers are virtually impossible to find outside of Hawaii use small Thai chilis instead.(Available at any Thai or Vietnamese grocer.)
- 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and smashed
Fill an old, cleaned glass 8 oz. bottle (i.e. ketchup bottle) 3/4 full of water then pour water into a pot along with Hawaiian salt. Heat water until just boiling; turn off heat and throw in chilis and garlic. Allow to cool and pour into ketchup bottle. Keeps for 3 months in the fridge and gets hotter as it ages.