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Kaulana Vares


Kukui (Candlenut)

Pākini (Basin)

Wai (Water)

Ipu Hao (Cooking Pot)

Hau (Ice)

Hamale (Hammer)

Kāwele (Cloth)

Lāʻau Hoʻokuʻi (Pounding Board)

Pahi Waiūpaka (Butter Knife)

Pahi (Knife)


1. Gather an ample amount of kukui. Spread out kukui that have the soft outer shell over a concrete slab and crush them with your feet.
2. While working next to a garden hose, deposit kukui into a basin of water, allow the kukui to settle at the bottom, removing floating kukui which won’t have suitable kernels. Wash and rinse until clear.
3. If time allows place kukui in a dry area with direct sunlight for a month. This step allows for separation of the kernel from the inner hard shell and easier removal. Another option for separation is to soft boil the nuts within a pot for an hour.
4. Place dried kukui flat on a pan, one nut high and cover with foil. Roast at 400˚ for two hours, tossing the pan every 20 minutes. Crack one open to see if it is done, noting the toasty smell and dark brown color.
5. While hot, place kukui into an ice cold bath. This also allows the kernel to separate from the shell, however avoid allowing exposed kernels to become saturated.
6. Place kukui onto a cloth, cover, tap with a hammer until a crack can be heard, remove the cloth and extract kernel meat with a butter knife. Good meat should smell pleasantly toasted and dry; bad meat will smell bitter and oily. If the nuts are still white, they can be chopped and toasted over a stovetop in a frying pan.
7. Carefully remove all shell bits and particles.
8. With a knife, chop until there is a finely grounded and dry consistency. You can also utilize a food processor or blender. Utilize a mortar and pestle for a wet consistency. Continue to scan for shell pieces that you may have missed.
9. Store within a jar or ziplock bag. Storage within the freezer for larger amounts.
10. Add this garnishment to your favorite ʻai Hawaiʻi! E pū paʻakai kākou!



ʻŌlelo Nane:      Hoʻokahi kapa, ʻelua kapa, aia ka ʻiʻo ma loko.

(Translation)      First covering, second covering, the meat is within.

Pane:                  Kukui