I made a pupu platter for Thanksgiving dinner this year.
I pretty much make my own rules when it comes to food. Especially around holidays. Every single year, I make a completely different meal for Thanksgiving. Why? Because I want to, and because I can.
This year, inspired by Critiki’s ode to the endangered flaming pupu platter, I decided to make my own flaming pupu platter for Thanksgiving.
My first step was to source the platter itself. Etsy turned up a nice 1960s Hawaiian-made koa-wood lazy susan. I then found a mini hibachi on Amazon.
Then I read through pupu platter descriptions from the 1950s through today. As I read, I selected my pupus. Spring rolls? Yes please. Spareribs? Hard pass.
The day before, I made Sabu’s spicy coconut marinade and poured it over Gardein “chicken” strips to marinate. I also toasted the coconut flakes.
Then I marinated Gardein beefless tips in teriyaki sauce and prepped veggies for sweet-and-sour porkless skewers (Gardein again…no, they aren’t sponsoring me…I wish!). Finally, I cut bamboo skewers to a length that could realistically fit on my platter and soaked them in water overnight. (You can’t skip this step; soaking the skewers prevents them from catching on fire.)
The next morning, I assembled “crab” Rangoon (using fish-free “crab” from Sophie’s Kitchen) and defrosted frozen veggie spring rolls. Leftover faux crab was used to make “shrimp” toasts (I was out of sandwich bread, so I used baguette rounds). Closer to dinnertime, everything was sautéed in a pan (except the Rangoon and spring rolls, which I baked in the oven).
Finally, I assembled the platter and lit the hibachi.
Would I make a pupu platter for a holiday dinner again? Absolutely. It was relaxed, tasty, informal enough that I didn’t need flatware, and when it comes to food, everyone loves fire. (Go Go, a server at the Bahooka, was legendary for serving pretty much anything flaming upon request.)
And I might just make a pupu platter for Christmas. It was THAT good.