Makanani Salā is the Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts. She was previously an instructor in Hawaiian Studies at Windward Community College and an event producer and cultural consultant.
She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Hawaiian Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and is ABD in the History department of the University of California – Irvine. She became a Kumu Hula in 2016 through the traditional practice of ʻūniki ʻailolo.
Makanani is also an educator, having taught Hawaiian history, mythology, hula, and ʻōlelo at both the secondary and tertiary levels. Makanani’s ʻohana comes from Nāhiku, Maui and Kalaoa, Hawaiʻi, but she was born and raised in Hālawa, Oʻahu.
Makanani and her husband Aaron Salā have 3 children and she shares with us one of their favorite recipes for Local Style Butter Chicken.
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Local Style Butter Chicken by Makanani Salā
- 3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 large onion diced
- 12 cloves or garlic minced
- 2 cans diced tomatoes (14oz.)
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 3 Tbsp minced ginger
- 2 Tbsp garam masala
- 3 tsp ground tumeric
- 1.5 tsp cayenne
- 3 tsp paprika
- 3 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp coriander
- 3 tsp salt
- 8 oz butter cubed
- 1.5 cup coconut milk
- olive oil to saute
- Chopped cilantro to garnish
- Saute onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat until soft, add spices and minced ginger, and saute for one minute more.
- Add tomato paste and tomatoes, sauteeing until combined well with spices.
- Place chicken on sauce, cover, and let simmer until chicken is fully cooked (about 10-15 minutes).
- Remove chicken from the sauce, use immersion blender to blend sauce until smooth.
- Add coconut milk and butter, stir until fully incorporated.
- Add chicken back to the sauce and bring to a simmer.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve.