Cornbeef and Onions

We have several comfort foods that characterize how and what we eat in Hawaii.  My favorite growing up even as an adult was corn beef and onions!  Very simple recipe, but a favorite that brought comfort to me, my family and my friends.  I don’t prepare this anymore because my kids all left the nest and I have not eaten beef, pork, or lamb for over 25 years.  Why? Another story.

Cornbeef and Onions


  • 1 can corn beef Libby's
  • 1 large round onion
  • .5 cup of brown sugar
  • .5 cup shoyu sauce
  • .5 tablespoon of ground pepper
  • Sticky rice


  • Prepare the onions by cutting it in half, then slicing it across, so it looks like the shape of a rainbow.
  • In a large pan, sautee the corn beef, breaking it down into small pieces. If the corn beef is on the drier side (less fat), add some olive oil in the beginning. I usually use level 5 on the stove for this sauteeing.
  • Gather all the cornbeef into the middle of the pan and layer the onions over the a mound.
  • Add sugar, pour shoyu, and sprinkle with pepper.
  • Lower heat to 2 or low, and cover for about ten minutes. Check to see when the onions turn translucent.
  • Mix everything together and serve on warm sticky rice.


As the locals say...."So ono!" (So delicious)
Attending college, we found a place that made this dish and it was a bakery, Mori's Bakery in Moiliili (Oahu). Our late studying always turned to a hunger for comfort food and we made our early morning trek, around 5:00am, to Mori's Bakery and sat with a room filled with construction workers. Most were having the same. Corn beef and onions! Although I don't eat it anymore, I salivate uncontrollably remembering this special part of growing up.

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