Basalt, the trendy restaurant in Dukes Lane Market and Eatery in Waikīkī that opened last July, has quickly made a name for itself giving beloved classics a thoughtful and refreshing update.

Executive chef Keith Kong likes creating new dishes using standard items with a twist and local ingredients.

One very traditional dish he’s revived and redefined is one that you do not see often on menus anymore, even in Hawaiʻi.

It is his a vegetable piele ($16), a traditonal Hawaiian pudding-type dish that uses either ‘uala or ‘ulu mixed with coconut cream or shredded coconut meat. 

The mixture is traditionally wrapped in tī leaves and cooked in an imu, then cooled, sliced and dried in the sun.

At Basalt, the piele is layered with cooked kale, beets and locally grown hearts of palm.

The layers are pressed into a pan, then steamed for about 45 minutes.

This vegan and gluten-free dish was surprisingly filling, delicious and nutritious. 

Chef Keith’s piele uses sweet potato and ali’i mushroom from the Hāmākua Coast, sweet local onions, coconut milk and fresh herbs.

Yields 6 portions

¾ sup Alii mushroom, small diced      
½ cup sweet onion, small diced                                  
1 tablespoon shredded coconut, unsweetened                      
1 sprig fresh thyme, picked leaves     
¾ cup coconut milk
1 pinch kosher salt
½ pinch ground black pepper
¾ pound sweet potato, peeled and shredded            
1 each ti leaf

1.    Combine the first 7 ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well                       
2.    Shred the sweet potato and add to the bowl, mix well                      
3.    Place onto a small cookie sheet lined with parchment and press evenly     
4.    Cover with ti leave, wrap in plastic wrap then aluminum foil                       
5.    Steam for 45 minutes                                                 
6.    Remove, carefully check for doneness, replace foil and rest at room temp 30 mins
7.    Turn out onto a cutting board and cut into 6 pieces