“As soon as I heard your message, I knew what I’d prepare!” Nutcharee Case tells me. “My first restaurant was in Hāna. The pohole is so plentiful there. I made a dish with it that was very popular. You’re going to love it.” The chef/owner of Nutcharee’s Authentic Thai Food Restaurant was born and raised in Lopburi, northeast of Bangkok. Though she has lived on Maui for fifteen years, her food sates the taste buds with the salty, sweet, sour, and spicy flavors of her homeland. “I don’t cook fusion, she states. “I am a traditional chef that prepares true Thai cuisine.”
In 2015, Nutcharee opened a restaurant in Kīhei’s Azeka Makai Center. Four years later, she won the Gold ‘Aipono Award for Best Southeast Asian Cuisine. (She also has three Silver ‘Aipono Awards, two in the Southeast Asian category, one for Best Noodles. But who’s counting?)
After our phone call, I harvest pohole from my garden on the north shore and drive to Nutcharee’s restaurant. Her face lights up as I hand her the ferns, and she says, “We eat this in Thailand, too.”
To dine at Nutcharee’s is to take your taste buds to deliciously exotic climes. When you can’t get to Kīhei, this recipe will have you enjoying authentic Thai flavors in your own home.
Pohole & Shrimp Salad
Prep time: 1 hour
- 8 shrimp, peeled, cleaned and cooked in lightly salted water
- 4 scallops
- 4 calamari, cleaned and sliced
- 8 oz. pohole
- 1 package glass noodles*
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- 2 Tbsp. sriracha, to taste
- 1–2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. each cilantro, mint, and red onion, chopped roughly; and ½ c. carrots, thinly sliced.
Blanch pohole for 1 minute in boiling water. Drain and rinse under cool water. Prepare glass noodles according to directions on the bag. Drain well. In a small bowl, mix lime juice, fish sauce and sriracha. Taste for spiciness, adding more sriracha, if desired. Place noodles, seafood, and pohole in a serving dish. Drizzle vinaigrette over and top with garnishes. Toss well before serving.
*Look for glass noodles (also known as bean thread, vermicelli, and cellophane noodles) in the Asian section of supermarkets.