The Great Pohole Challenge

Five award-winning chefs share recipes—and oh, how far the humble fern can go!


mochiko pohole fries


Alvin SavellaWhen Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay held a “battle of the islands” in 2018, Alvin Savella lived up to his nickname, “The Kitchen Assassin.” That was also when he won Chef of the Year at the ‘Aipono Awards. I’ve followed Alvin since his days at The Westin Kā‘anapali’s Pūlehu, an Italian Grill, and The Banyan Tree at The Ritz-Carlton. Last year the Grand Wailea Resort gave him the reins to its signature restaurant, Humuhumu. Alvin’s culinary creations can range from whimsical to dramatic. His flavors are always spot on, and his food styling never disappoints.

The pohole challenge was right up Alvin’s alley. His creation: “loaded” mochiko pohole fries. “I thought this would be something that I’d like to eat.” Its secret weapon: a new spice blend he created for Spiceology. The Kitchen Assassin Citrus Ginger Seasoning hits all the right notes with a balance of citrus flavor, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper. Pohole fries dipped into punchy, creamy tobiko aioli, followed with a nibble of crunchy pickled onions… it’s bliss in a bowl!

Loaded Mochiko Pohole Fries

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus at least 4 hours to marinate onions

  • 1 lb. pohole, cleaned and cut into 3” pieces
  • oil for deep-frying Marinade
  • 1 c. mochiko flour
  • 1 c. cornstarch
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ c. tamari
  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Citrus Ginger Seasoning*

Tobiko Aioli

  • 2 calamansi limes, juiced
  • 2 oz. black tobiko
  • 1 tsp. Citrus Ginger Seasoning
  • 3 oz. mayo

Combine all ingredients and reserve for plating.

Pickled Red Onion

  • 1 red onion, julienned
  • 1 c. red wine vinegar
  • 2 oz. ginger, minced

In a small pot add vinegar and ginger and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Cool. Add onions to the vinegar mixture. Let marinate for at least 4 hours.


  • 2 Tbsp. scallions, cut on diagonal and iced
  • 1 tsp. white and black sesame seeds
  • ¼ c. katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
  • 1 calamansi, halved, seeded and charred

Pour half the cornstarch and mochiko flour into a mixing bowl, stir together, and set aside. Pour the rest of the cornstarch and mochiko flour into a second mixing bowl, and add marinade ingredients: eggs, tamari, brown sugar, and Citrus Ginger Seasoning. Add pohole fern, tossing to coat, and marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature.

Heat oil to 375 degrees. Drain pohole from marinade and toss with the dry mochiko flour and cornstarch. Fry immediately until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.


Top fried pohole with tobiko aioli, pickled onion, sesame seeds, katsuobushi, scallions and charred calamansi.

*Available for purchase at; search “The Kitchen Assassin Citrus Ginger Seasoning.”



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