Hawaiian Airlines 'Flavor of Flight' Winner

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Erin Marie Williams is the winner of Hawaiian Airlines' "Flavors Take Flight" recipe contest. Her recipe for "Island Fire Fish" was inspired by Honolulu, one of Hawaiian Airlines' direct destinations. Executive Chef Chai Chaowasaree joins her in our Sunrise kitchen to demonstrate how the recipe is prepared.

Island Fire Fish
Recipe courtesy of Erin Marie Williams

"Inspired on Oahu when I purchased Ahi from a Native Hawaiian Fishmonger. I also like to call this dish "Fire Me" for fun..."


  • 1 Lb. Fresh Ahi (roughly two 1 inch Steaks)
  • 3 oz. 151 Bacardi
  • 2 Pineapple Rings for Garnish
  • Smoked Black Sesame Seeds for Garnish
  • Wasabi
  • Pickled Ginger

Marinade for Ahi

  • 1/8 C. Shoyu (Soy Sauce)
  • 1 tsp. Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp. Fish Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Pineapple Juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Ground Ginger Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Wasabi Paste
  • 1/8 C. Lime Juice
  • Dash Ground Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Oil (For Sauteing Shallots & Garlic)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Minced (Sauteed)
  • 1/2 C. White Wine (For reduction)



  • 2 C. Shredded Cabbage (Purple & Green Mix)
  • 1/2 C. Bean Sprouts (OPTIONAL, gives an extra fresh crunch)
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Soy
  • 1/2 tsp. Fish Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. Mayo
  • 1 Tbsp. Pineapple Juice


  • 1/2 C. Chopped Sweet Onion (Hawaiian if you can)
  • 1/2 C. Pineapple Chunks (fresh if you can)
  • 1 Tbsp. Oil
  • 1 tsp. Rice Vinegar finish onion
  • pinch salt (Hawaiian Salt = awesome)
  • finish w/ ground pepper


  • 1/2 C. Mango
  • Candied  Macadamia Nuts
  • 1/2 C. Raw Unsalted Macadamia Nuts
  • 1/4 tea. Oil
  • 1/2 tea. Honey


  • 1 Cup Rice (I like Jasmine Rice for this recipe)
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 2 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Green Onions Chopped

You can make part of the Slaw the day before for ultimate flavor, if you make the slaw the same day of the feast, no worries...  Just make this part first in order to marinate the cabbage properly.

Shred Cabbage into thin slices and cut up into 2 inch long strips.  In medium bowl, combine the rest of ingredients in part a.) of the Slaw Recipe (stir well) then mix in the Cabbage and the optional Bean Sprouts.  Refrigerate.

In small saute pan, saute Garlic and Shallots with oil for 3-5 minutes over medium heat stirring often until slightly browned.  In Medium flattish bottomed bowl, (or something of the like that will evenly marinate the Ahi) combine all Ahi Marinade ingredients (except the white wine) together, stir well, don't forget to add your sauteed Garlic and Shallots.  Add your Ahi Steaks, cover well with Marinade and place in refrigerator.  You are going to Marinate the Ahi for around an hour, flip your steaks a 1/2 an hour into the marinating process to insure full coverage of marinade to fish :)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  (While the oven heats up, you can start on your rice).

Spread Macadamia Nuts on cookie sheet, roast in the oven stirring occasionally for 6-10 minutes until roasted.  Remove from oven.

Rinse the Jasmine Rice once, moving your fingers through the rice, until the water runs pure without any milkiness then drain.  In a small pan, combine Jasmine Rice with water add Sesame Oil.  You can add a dash of salt if you want as well.  Bring to a boil with medium/high heat, stir once or twice making sure rice doesn't get stuck to the bottom of the pan.  As soon as rice comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover with a lid.  Most rice will have instructions of how long to cook it for, some rice takes longer than other rice.  Follow cooking instructions for time (the rice I use averages 20-25 minutes).  Once the rice is finished, turn off heat and let stand covered for 7 minutes. (Don't forget about the NUTS)!!!  During the rice cooking time, start on the next directions....

In small saute pan over medium/high heat brown the Pineapple Rings for color.  Remove and set aside.  Now it's time to do part b.) of the Slaw.  In the same pan used for the rings, add Oil, and Chopped Onions, saute over medium/high heat for 2 minutes stirring occasionally.  Now add the Pineapple Chunks, saute as before for 2-3 more minutes.  Finish with Rice Vinegar, salt and pepper.  Add Pineapple Chunks and Onions to the refrigerated Slaw.  Part c.) add in Mango chucks to Slaw, stir everything together.  Refrigerate.  (Did you flip the Ahi yet)?

Candy your Macadamia Nuts in the same small saute pan you just used (less dishes the better).  Place Oil, Nuts and Honey in pan on medium heat, stirring often for just one minute, or until nuts are fully coated with honey.  Remove from heat, place nuts on the cookie sheet to cool, separate nuts so nut clumps don't happen.  Once cooled, chop nuts and set aside.

Take the Marinated Ahi out of refrigeration and remove the fish from the marinade, set fish aside.  Place the marinade into the small saute pan over medium/high heat.  Add the White Wine and Pineapple Rings.  Start reducing for a finishing glaze sauce.

Read all further instructions ahead of time to be prepared for the last steps to complete "Island Fire Fish" properly.

Set your plates, for the Ahi is flash Seared within two minutes and fresh is best!!!  Put finished Slaw around outer part of your plates presentation (divide evenly between two plates). Evenly distribute/sprinkle 1/2 of the chopped candied Macadamia Nuts over Slaw on both plates.  Dollop Wasabi on outer rim of plate along with some pickled ginger.  Add Fresh Chopped Green Onions to the rice and stir.  Place finished rice in the center of both plates to make a bed for the Ahi.  You may garnish the plate with paprika if you want.

Now it's time for some FIRE!!!

I thought it would be fun to add some fire to this dish not only because fire is awesome, but Ahi means fire.  The Tuna Fish is referred to Ahi because as Hawaiian Natives fished for tuna with hand lines, the fish would "run" so fast the lines would burn their hands and the sides of their canoes.

How to Flambe your Ahi:

Safety Notes: Make sure your oven is clear of flammable objects, for the flame shoots up to 3+ feet (Microwaves & Eyelashes beware)...  Always have a lid handy to cover saute pan in case things get out of control.  Make sure you are not pouring straight from the Bacardi bottle, remove the quantity of liquor needed into a separate cup because flames can ignite and follow the liquid into the bottle then you'll have a disaster!  You can look up Flambe tutorial videos on the internet as well.

Have your Ahi Steaks, 151 Bacardi, a long match or long lighter and reduction sauce ready.  This is a very fast procedure!!!

Place oil  in a medium saute pan (with a long handle) on high heat. Coat the pan with the oil.  Get the pan nice and hot (to the point where you start to see some smoke).

Put both steaks in the pan, cook on one side for slightly less than a minute.  (The Ahi should only be seared, you do not want to over cook the fish).  Flip the fish, tilt the pan a little over heat away from you, immediately add the 151 Bacardi to the upper area of the hot pan(to help ignite the alcohol vapors).  Be careful of white/clear flames.  If the 151 didn't catch immediately, take the match or lighter and set the liquid on fire.  BE CAREFUL!!!  Move the fish and liquid around by using the handle.  The flame should die down in 20-30 seconds or so.

Add the Reduction Sauce to the pan, coating the Ahi.  Remove the Ahi and place on top of the Rice bed.  (Do not cook this side of the fish longer than 1 minute).  Stir Reduction Sauce so it doesn't burn.  Place Pineapple Rings on top of Ahi.  Add the remaining Macadamia Nuts into the Reduction sauce, stir and remove from heat.  Pour the Reduction Sauce over the Ahi Steaks.

Sprinkle with Sesame Seeds and ENJOY!!!!

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