07 July

Mango Bread

July 22: National Mango Day

Our elderly neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. O, who live across the cul-de-sac of Islander’s childhood home, have renamed their mango tree as “Mr. B’s mango tree” after Islander’s Daddy. He is welcome to pick all their mangos anytime. After he does that, he leaves a few on their picnic table so they can enjoy the fruits of his labor, too (and eat what their tree produced in their own back yard). He drops off the rest to other neighbors in the cul-de-sac and everyone appreciates the thoughtfulness.

One summer, there was just an overabundance of mangos and we could not eat them fast enough. So Islander decided to make mango bread with the overripe mangos and share with the neighbors, too. Mango bread is the first fruit bread she ever made as a teenager for her ‘ohana (family). Now, instead of mangos (since good ones are harder to find on the mainland), she is sharing the recipe for mango bread with the whole world (wide web).

Make mango bread for National Mango Day!


(Adapted from “Flavors of Paradise Cookbook” by Pearl City Community Church)


  • 2 cups ripe sweet mangos, finely chopped
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped


Chop the mangos finely and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar.

Mix in the oil, eggs and vanilla and stir until moistened.

Fold in the mango bits and their juices until well combined. Stir in the macadamia nuts. Place batter in a well-greased large loaf pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 45-55 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly in the pan. Take out the mango bread from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Slice and serve. Store any leftovers in a sealed container.


  • Optional: Add ½ cup of raisins and ½ cup of coconut flakes in the batter before baking.

  • June is also National Mango Month.

  • Search our blog for more mango recipes.

Peruvian Roast Chicken

July 28: Independence Day of Peru

Happy Independence Day to the people of Peru! We work with a Peruvian family foundation based in the Midwest to raise funds and supplies (school and medical) to provide food and basic necessities and services to impoverished villages across the South American nation. Someday we hope to go to Peru and help with their missions as well as visit the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.

We get a literal taste of Peruvian cuisine and culture when we visit and stay at our friends’ Guillermo and Tina’s home. We help them and their family prepare for their charity fundraiser by assembling raffle prize packages, picking up orders, designing ads, decorating the venue, cleaning up, etc.

While volunteers are working hard to prepare for the event, Guillermo and his sister-in-law Odilia make sure we are nourished. They set out a buffet on their kitchen island with salads, fresh fruits, rice, spicy sauces, snacks, sweets and roast chicken. The main meat is tender, succulent, flavorful and filling—adding to the festive mood of family and friendship. Tina’s brother, Pastor Juan, would give thanks to God that we are blessed with a bounty in America that others in their country do not have, but God sends those with grateful hearts to help communities in need. Simple acts of kindness make the world a better place—and we need more compassion and understanding especially nowadays!

We roast a chicken Peruvian style once in a while at home. We save some of the meat to make other dishes (soups, sandwiches or salads) so nothing is ever wasted. The seasoning paste and green sauce (salsa verde) may be made ahead so preparation is faster. Below is a recipe post for Peru’s Independence Day.


From by Guillermo L.


  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt (plus a few more sprinkles for the chicken)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper (plus a few more sprinkles for the chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2-3 limes (1 zested, 2 cut in half)
  • 4 pound whole chicken, giblets removed


In a bowl, combine the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin.

Stir in the paprika and oregano. Add the zest of one lime then cut this lime in half. Squeeze the juice in the bowl. Cut another lime and squeeze the juice in the bowl. Mix until it has a paste-like consistency. Set aside.

Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Use kitchen shears to cut out the backbone of the chicken. Turn it around on press down to flatten (spatchcock). Rub some lime on the inside and outside of the chicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn the chicken breast-side down. Use a knife to loosen the skin but be careful not to tear it.

Spread half the marinade mixture underneath the chicken skin. Place on a foil lined roasting pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for half an hour. Remove from the oven and smear the remainder of the marinade on the skin.

Bake for another 15 minutes. Periodically baste the chicken with pan juices. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before slicing into pieces. Serve with a side of green sauce (salsa verde).

Bonus Recipe: Green Sauce (Salsa Verde)


  • Handful of cilantro (about a cup)
  • 1-2 small jalapeño peppers, de-seeded and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise


In a blender container, place the cilantro, sliced peppers, garlic clove, olive oil and lime juice.

Add the mayonnaise. Blend well, shaking the container until everything is mixed and pureed. Pour into a bowl and serve on the side with the Peruvian roast chicken.


  • Muchas gracias to Guillermo y familia for this recipe, their hospitality and world vision to help the less fortunate in both the Midwest American city in which they live now and in their home country.
  • Peruse our blog for more Peruvian recipe posts.

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

(Yan Su Ji 鹽酥)


July 6: National Fried Chicken Day

McDonald’s has chicken nuggets. KFC has popcorn chicken. Taiwan’s night markets have yan su ji—flavorful, seasoned bite-sized pieces of crispy fried chicken.

Ling-Chen (Monica) C., Islander’s roommate from our college alma mater, took us to the Night Market in Hualien when we visited her and her family in Taiwan. We went from stall to stall tasting popular foods like coffin bread, scallion pancakes, lu rou fan (braised minced pork over rice), pineapple cakes, soup dumplings, beef noodles in a cup, boba tea and fried chicken pieces on wooden skewers (also known as salt crisp chicken or popcorn chicken).

Some boba tea places in North America sell Taiwanese popcorn chicken as a snack, too. But Islander’s former ESL student, YaJu Y., also from Taiwan, taught us how to cook it, so we can enjoy it whenever we crave it. Garnished with crisp, flash-fried basil leaves, and this food is a surefire favorite when we gather with friends—everyone takes a toothpick and eats it hot as soon as it comes out of the deep fryer!

For National Fried Chicken Day, try a Taiwanese style treat: popcorn chicken.


(From YaJu Y.)


  • 4-5 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon rice cooking wine or sherry
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Sweet potato flour (see Notes)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt to sprinkle (traditional but optional)
  • Fresh Thai basil, washed with leaves trimmed


Trim fat from the chicken and dice into bite-sized pieces. In a separate bowl, mix together the minced garlic and grated ginger.

Mix in the sugar, five spice powder, white pepper, wine and soy sauce.

Toss the chicken in the marinade and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (better if overnight for more intense flavor). Beat the egg with the baking soda. Then coat the chicken pieces in a dish of sweet potato flour.

Deep fry in small batches for 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt (optional). Carefully fry the basil leaves for 30 seconds (beware of hot oil  splatters). Drain on paper towels. Mix with the popcorn chicken. Serve hot with toothpicks or skewers. May serve with a chili dipping sauce.


  • Sweet potato flour may be found at Asian grocery stores. Use the flour instead of the powder variety to give the popcorn chicken a coarser and crunchier texture. Instead of sweet potato flour or starch, other substitutions may include tapioca starch, corn starch or rice flour.
  • YaJu likes to marinate the chicken overnight for a more intense flavor. But even when we chilled the mixture for an hour, the flavor was still good. We did not sprinkle additional salt after frying since there is already a lot of sodium in the soy sauce. YaJu says others like to sprinkle more five spice powder and pepper as well.

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