Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hawaiian Mac Salad Recipe--Don't overthink it!

After 5 years of trying to trust Google to give me the recipe that would make Hubby happy, I decided to just use what I had learned from all the experimenting and created the most basic Mac Salad EVER! And Hubby Likes it.

Google for Hawaiian Macaroni Salad and you'll find all kinds of fancy stuff. I have a Hawaiian cookbook that tries to make it all fancy with Water Cress. Seriously? No. You'll find people claiming it's the Maui Onions that are the secret, or the Brand of Mayo. Nah, the secret is to think SIMPLE.

When you look at the
Mac Salad from a Plate Lunch 
place like Kenekes or a Lunch Truck/wagon like they have all over, it's basically just greasy elbow macaroni with some tiny Cubes of Questionable Origin.

You don't see any chunks of egg or potato or carrot, it's just greasy macaroni. My hubby loves it. His theory is that it should be so dripping in Mayo that you are forced to stir in the rice to get the right ratios of grease to carb.  But, when you try to figure it out, it obviously ISN'T JUST PLAIN MAYO. There's more. But what? The internet will convince you that you require fancy stuff like Maui Onions or Best Foods Mayo or Carrots of Freaking Water Cress. Newsflash!  Best Foods= Hellmans. It's just the standard mayo you already have, unless you buy some nasty cheap-o off-brand.  Hawaiian food is NOT FANCY. The best Hawaiian foods have less than 6 ingredients. They are simple, made with ingredients that you have in a regular kitchen and, like Hawaii's beloved SPAM, the ingredients have LONG SHELF LIVES. Carrots? no. Fresh Maui Onions? Not thinking those were actually popular with normal, everyday Locals back when this dish was created, probably during WWII, from what was issued in war rations boxes.

Just for the record, I'm a Miracle Whip kinda girl!

So, we were in Hawaii from 2006-2008, and during that time and ever since I've been trying recipe after recipe from the internet for Mac Salad just like Hubby loved at the lunch wagon on base.

Today, I said SCREW IT, none of these are it. I've tried every variation of fancy ingredient at least twice. And he finally liked it.

Here is what made The Le Cordon Bleu trained Hubby happy:

Overcooked Macaroni, cooled and dried (years of research HAS shown that this is key to any good mac salad)

Hellman's/Best Foods Mayo (two big plops)

cheap dried garlic powder (shake enough to cover the surface)

cheap dried onion powder (a tad bit more than the amount of garlic)

Sugar (plain white sugar...1/3 cup might have been too much)

Salt & Pepper

NOTICE THERE IS NOT MILK IN THIS. The milk makes the mayo runny and ruins the greasiness of the salad. You are not aiming to create anything healthy here. This is not a health food. No amount of milk or carrot flecks or Water Cress (seriously?!) is going to make it a health food.

Now, stir the gloppy mess together and mix it into the dry, cold, overcooked macaroni. Put it in the fridge until dinner time. The garlic and onion powders and mac will absorb the mayo mixture. You might need to add more mayo mixture. There is no such thing as too much mayo on this dish.

As the garlic and onion powders absorb the moisture from the mayo, they grow, and turn into those Cubes of Questionable Origin that you remember from your cheapest (and best) plate lunch. So, be sure to give it time to absorb. Mine had about 4 hours today and was good.
Here is tonight's Winner, it could have used a bit more mayo in the pic, but you can see the chunks of rehydrated spice:

For the record, I made a batch of normal, "Amish" mac salad for me with Miracle Whip, and left the Goopy Hawaiian stuff for Hubby. Blech! Mayo!

1 comment:

Hilarie said...

Keeping it simple makes so much sense! I will have to buy some full fat mayo and give it a try.


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