Here in Texas, I always look for a way to avoid grills, stoves, and ovens if I can during the summer. Fresh salads, salsas, and all kinds of cold soups become number one dishes in my kitchen. I also tend to spend more time in my swimming pool, even though its water is not as cold as I’d like it to be. Blinding sun, blue water, and my little palm tree in a pot make me dream of Hawaii. Thus, I decided to start working on a new menu — my favorite Hawaiian foods and drinks that remind me my Big Island holidays.
The name of this salad comes from its cooking method. Lomi lomi today is a term for “massage therapist” or “Hawaiian massage.” In Hawaiian, the word lomi traditionally used to describe an action of kneading, rubbing, or soothing, just like happy or content cats do. It is documented that for ages Hawaiians have been preparing fresh fish salads by mixing diced ingredients — fish, sweet Maui onions, tomatoes, and salt — and gently massaging them with hands, letting fish to get cured by salt and vegetable juices.
In 19 century, Hawaiian Islands were reached by the first fishing boats from the North-West of Pacific ocean. They introduced salted salmon, and since then lomi lomi salad is made with cured fish. I tried all kinds of salmon in this salad and liked them all — lightly salted sushi grade salmon, gravlax, tequila-cured salmon, etc.
There are no strict rules or proportions for this recipe. I add more fish if it’s not too salty. Salmon can be substituted with tuna and trout. There are three main ingredients and a few additional ones, which can be used to adjust the recipe to your taste — scallions, chives, green or red/fresh or dry chilies, lime or key lime juice. It is important to give this salad a couple of hours in a refrigerator to let all the flavors to combine. Lomi lomi is served cold, sometimes with finely crushed ice mixed in.