When Raymond Sylva was in high school, he asked his grandpa to teach him about his Hawaiian heritage. His grandmother, who’s Portuguese, asked Sylva if he was interested in learning about his Portuguese heritage, too.
“All I knew was malassada and Portuguese sausage,” Sylva recalls. “So I asked her to teach me.”
That lesson was cut short when his grandma died of a heart attack a couple days later. “I felt so guilty that I let her down,” he says. “She never got the chance to share what she wanted to teach me.”
Sylva decided to teach himself about his Portuguese heritage. He went to the library to read books about Portuguese history and culture, he got the national flag, researched his genealogy, learned some of the language, and got involved with Camoes Portuguese Club Hawaii.
The club will celebrate annual Portuguese National Day at St. Louis School in Honolulu on June 22. The event will feature authentic Portuguese cuisine made from recipes that Sylva brought back with him from his travels to Portugal.
Raymond Sylva (right) and his cousin's wife, Cheryl Sylva.
“More people are becoming interested in connecting to their Portuguese heritage,” he says. “We’re not just about bean soup and malassada.”
Caldo Verde (Portuguese Green Soup)
This is a traditional soup from Portugal made with potato and kale. “It’s called the hangover soup,” says Sylva. “When people are out late drinking, they’ll eat this soup in the morning to sober up.”
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 Russet potato, peeled and diced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 qt. water
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 1 bunch kale, finely chopped
- 8 oz. chorizo or linguica, sliced
Heat half of the oil in a pot on medium heat. Add onion, potatoes, and garlic. Cook 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add water, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer 30 minutes until potatoes are soft.
Using a hand blender, whip potatoes until soup reaches a smooth consistency.
Add kale. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Add chorizo and remaining oil and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.
Recipe courtesy of Raymond Sylva