Ginger and soy sauce are the secrets to this Hawaiian-style beef jerky, known as pipi kaula. It is made in a drying box in the sun, or in a conventional oven, or an electric dehydrator.
Now a popular snack, jerky was originally a way of preserving meat, fish, and poultry when refrigerators were just a glimmer in the inventor's eye. When live game was scarce or on a long trek, the dried protein was then reconstituted in soups and stews for a tasty, protein-rich meal.
Here are the origins of pipi kaula.
- Cut 2 pounds flank steak into strips about 1 1/3 inches wide. Combine 3/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons Hawaiian salt, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 piece crushed ginger, and 1 crushed red chile pepper, if using, and marinate beef in the sauce overnight.
- If you have a drying box, place the meat in hot sun for two days, bringing it in at night.
- If drying in the oven, set oven to 175 degrees F. Place meat on a rack such as a cake cooking rack. Place rack on a cookie sheet and dry meat in oven for 7 hours. If drying in an electric dehydrator, follow the manufacturer's directions. Store the jerky in the refrigerator.
Source: "Ethnic Foods of Hawaii" by Ann Kondo Corum (Bess Press). Reprinted with permission.