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The Electric Kitchen: Sharing food is a neighborly act

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Merle Takahashi wanted to help the many people who have been hesitant to leave home during the pandemic.

Every Saturday, the Honolulu resident and her daughter Mia, along with neighbors Teri Kashiwamura and Glori Inafuku, deliver locally grown produce and prepared dishes to neighbors. Their husbands, Hawaiian Electric Co. employees Brian, Eric and Jon, also pitch in.

This effort has assisted more than 30 neighbors during the past year.

Being a good neighbor has its rewards. They’ve gotten to those who live nearby and are making healthier home-cooked meals. Their efforts help local farmers and fishermen, who are also challenged during this pandemic.

This week, enjoy a few recipes from the Takahashi and Kashiwamura ohana.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 3 (14.5-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 to 6 cups water, divided
  • 2 teaspoons Hawaiian salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 (2-ounce) package long rice, cut in half
  • 1 bunch watercress, cut into 2-inch lengths

In a large pot, heat oil on medium-high; add pork and brown. Add chicken broth and 4 cups water; bring to boil. Add salt, long rice and watercress. Boil until long rice and watercress are tender, about 5 minutes. Add more water and salt, if needed. Serves 6.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 380 calories, 27 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 85 mg cholesterol, 750 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, no fiber or sugar, 23 g protein.


  • 6 small or 3 large daikon, sliced into rounds 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick
  • >> Marinade:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • Yellow food coloring

In a small bowl, combine marinade ingredients to make a paste.

Mix daikon and marinade, then place in a jar. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 6 cups.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 35 calories, 300 mg sodium, 9 g sugar, no fat, cholesterol, carbohydrate, fiber or protein.


  • 1 pound chuck or round steak, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 green peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 1/2 pound green beans, sliced
  • 4 large tomatoes, quartered
  • >> Seasoning:
  • 1 tablespoon EACH sugar, cornstarch and cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon EACH vegetable oil and salt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 slice fresh ginger, crushed
  • >> Gravy:
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon EACH cornstarch and cooking wine
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium shoyu
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar

In a large bowl, combine seasoning ingredients. Add beef and let stand 15 to 20 minutes.

Combine gravy ingredients; set aside.

In a large saute pan, heat oil on medium-high; add all vegetables except tomatoes. Saute until almost cooked, then add beef and tomatoes. Add gravy; bring to boil; cook until beef is done. Serves 6.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving (not including salt to taste): 280 calories, 11 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 50 mg cholesterol, 800 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 17 g sugar, 20 g protein.

More Hawaiian Electric Co. recipes are available at

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