Pokémon Sun & Moon – Big Malasada

“It’s the miraculous munchy born in Alola!”

Even though Pokémon games don’t have the robust menu that most JRPGs boast nowadays, the few food items they DO have are just so unique and iconic that I just can’t help wanting to make them for myself! I especially like when the food item compliments the region like the Lumiose Galettes do in Pokémon X & Y.  The Kalos region in those games was based heavily on Northern France so they included a version of the classic galette des rois pastry. Pokémon Sun & Moon takes place in the Alola region (a fantastical interpretation of the Hawaiian islands) so it’s only fitting that the unique food item from these games be the traditional Hawaiian doughnut known as Malasada.

Close up of the sugared malasada doughnuts from the Pokemon game series.
lookin’ sweet

My girlfriend’s been playing through Pokémon Moon recently and it’s been pretty fun for me to watch as well. She actually spent a good chunk of her childhood living in Hawaii so it’s been kind of nostalgic for her seeing all the references they’ve thrown in. As you can imagine, I was interested to see if they had included any unique Hawaiian food in the game, so once I heard about the Big Malasadas, I started doing some research of my own.

To my surprise, it turns out that Malasadas aren’t actually native to Hawaii at all! In fact, they’re a traditional doughnut from Portugal, specifically from an island known as São Miguel. You may be wondering how a doughnut could travel 8,700 miles across the globe and you definitely wouldn’t be alone in your confusion! Apparently, during the 19th century Hawaii wanted to strengthen it’s sugar making industry so they threw up a big “help wanted” sign for immigrant labourers to come work on their plantations. Since the people of São Miguel and the surrounding islands had been processing sugar cane for centuries already, many of them took up the call bringing their knowledge and sugar harvesting skills, as well as their food, with them.

It’s kind of funny to note that the word “malasada” means something along the lines of “poorly cooked.” This is supposedly in reference to the fried crispy outside of the doughnut being so different in texture from the soft doughy interior.

A hungry Pikachu is looking at the mound of sugared malasada doughnuts from the Pokemon game series.
a mountain of malasada!

In addition to the Big Malasada that can be taken with you on the go, Pokémon Sun & Moon also allows the player to purchase 6 different flavors of malasada from the Malasada Restaurants found throughout the region. I thought about making all six flavors (sweet, spicy, sour, bitter, dry, and mystical) in addition to the regular version down below, but I might have to save that project for another time haha. It was fun to brainstorm some ideas though, based on ingredients grown or easily obtained in Hawaii. There’s actually a very diverse culinary environment out there! Here’s what we came up with:

Sweet: Pineapple or coconut bavarian filled.

Spicy: Gochujang, a spicy, fermented soy bean condiment from Korea.

Sour: Maybe some kind of tamarind jelly.

Bitter: Chinese bitter mellon. Actually tried this one with no luck, it’s reeeeeeally bitter.

Dry: Li Hing Mui (dried plum) Saw this on the Leonard’s Bakery website as a coating, seems interesting!

Mystical: Dragon fruit and Lychee (…what? dragons are mystical!)

Letting the malasada doughnut dough balls rise individually before frying.
it was the yeast I could do…

The malasada recipe itself is fairly straightforward. You’ll want to give yourself a good 4 hours from start to finish to accommodate the dough’s rising time though. This can be sped up considerably if your kitchen is warm, but it’s the dead of winter as I’m publishing this so my kitchen unfortunately was not :(. I’ve included a simple pastry cream recipe as well in case you’re planning on filling the doughnuts, but trust me when I say that these things are great simply rolled in cinnamon sugar.

A basket full of sugared malasada doughnuts from the Pokemon game series.
doughnuts, go nuts!

So, like they say on TV: “Today we’ll be filling our bellies with marvelous, magnificent, positively man-sized Big Malasada! Let’s dig in at once!”

+ Big Malasada +

This recipe is based on the one used at Leonard’s Bakery, a famous malasada shop in Hawaii. You can find the original recipe here

Ingredient Amount
Active Dry Yeast 2 tsp
Water (warm) 1/4 cup
AP Flour 4 cups  [653 g]
Salt 1/2 tsp
Nutmeg 2 tsp
Eggs 4
Butter (melted, but not hot) 1/2 cup (one stick)
Sugar 1/3 cup + extra for tossing
 Milk 2/3 cup
Vanilla 1 tsp
Vegetable Oil several cups for frying
Cinnamon as needed


  • Large mixing bowls
  • Electric stand mixer (recommended)
  • Plastic wrap or towels
  • Baking sheets
  • Parchment Paper and pan spray
  • Metal tongs or slotted spoon
  • Large heavy-bottomed pot for frying
  • Instant-read thermometer (recommended)

1) First things first we’ll want to divide our ingredients into 3 groups: the yeast, the dry, and the wet. In a medium mixing bowl combine the active dry yeast with warm water. This is called “blooming” the yeast and it works best when the water is right around body temperature; too cold and the yeast won’t wake up, too hot and the little guys won’t live long enough to be useful. Next, place the dry (flour, salt, nutmeg) and the wet (eggs, butter, sugar, milk, vanilla) ingredients into their own separate mixing bowls. Once the yeast has bloomed for a few minutes, you can mix it into the wet ingredients, then, add everything into the dry ingredient mixing bowl.

Mixing the dough for the malasada doughnuts from the Pokemon game series.

2) The next step is to mix the wet and dry ingredients together until we get a smooth, cohesive dough. If you’re lucky enough to have an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, I’d recommend using it, but manually mixed malasada can be just as good! Either way, the dough will be ready when it no longer sticks to your hands, but feels tacky and elastic.

3) Now it’s time to let the yeast do its thing. Spray the inside of a large clean mixing bowl with pan spray and place the malasada dough in the center. Be sure to cover the dough with either plastic wrap or a damp towel and leave it in a warm place to rise. Depending on the ambient temperature of your kitchen this could take between 1 to 2 hours, but you’ll know it’s ready when the dough has doubled in size. (*Feel free to use this time to put together the malasada filling! – see below.)

Malasada doughnut dough rising in the bowl.

4) Once you’ve given the malasada dough ample time to rise, equip TM23 and smack it down in the bowl. This deflates the dough and helps to redistribute the air pockets made by the yeast so the next rise will be more uniform.

5) Time to cut and shape the dough! We want to end up with 24 dinner roll-sized balls, so start by dividing the dough into 4 large, equally sized pieces with a bench scraper or sharp knife. Place them back in the bowl and cover with a damp towel so the dough doesn’t dry out [1.] Working with one piece at a time, cut them into 6 smaller, equally sized pieces [2.]  To roll into a ball, slightly cup your hand and place your palm on top of the dough making sure all of your fingers are resting on the table [3.] Keeping your fingers stiff, use a circular motion and slight pressure to bring the dough together [4.]

Dividing up the malasada doughnut dough and rolling it into individual balls before frying.

6) As the malasada dough is being rolled out, place each piece on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and sprayed. Like before, you’ll want to use a damp towel to cover the dough. Let them rest for another hour to proof while you set up your frying station.

7) For the frying station, grab a large, heavy bottomed pot and fill it about 2 inches deep with vegetable oil. The ideal temperature for frying the malasadas is 325F-350F (163C-175C) so place it over medium high heat and use an instant-read thermometer if you have one. If you don’t have a thermometer, just grab a little piece of dough and drop it in (be careful not to splash yourself with the hot oil!) The dough should float and turn golden brown very quickly if the temperature is correct at which point you can reduce the heat to low. You’ll want to have a place to put the malasadas when they’re done as well, so lay down a few layers of paper towel over a baking sheet nearby.

8) Once the malasada balls have risen for an hour and the oil is hot, we’re ready to fry! Using metal tongs or a slotted spoon, gently place 4-5 pieces into the hot oil. After two minutes, use your utensil of choice to carefully flip each malasada over to color the other side. Fry for an additional 2 minutes before removing them one at a time from the oil and placing them on the paper towels. Continue in this manner until all the malasadas are fried doing your best to keep the oil temperature as consistent as you can.

Frying the malasada doughnuts in hot oil before rolling them in sugar and filling them.

9) While the malasadas are resting, you can grab a bowl and combine about a 1/2 cup of sugar and a few pinches of cinnamon. Toss each doughnut in the cinnamon sugar to coat in order to get that tasty, authentic look.

At this point you have some classic homemade malasadas in front of you and seeing how they’re best eaten while still warm, I’d definitely recommend tasting a few of the fruits of your labor :9. If you’re interested in going the extra mile and filling the doughnuts like they are in-game, feel free to check out the following pastry cream recipe that’s quick and easy.

+ Big Malasada Filling +

Ingredient Amount
Eggs 2
Corn Starch 2 TBSP
Sugar 2/3 cup
Milk 1 3/4 cups
Butter 2 TBSP
Vanilla 1/4 tsp
Salt a pinch
Red Food Color 2 drops
  • Small sauce pot
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Rubber spatula
  • Small sharp knife
  • Pastry bag fitted with plain tip

1) To begin, place the milk into the small sauce pot and place over medium heat. In your mixing bowl add the eggs, corn starch, and sugar and whisk until completely combined.

2) Once the milk begins to steam, carefully pour a small amount into the egg mixture while whisking (you can use a ladle here to transfer the milk in order to avoid a mess if you would like.) This is called tempering the eggs. It helps gently bring the eggs up in temperature to ensure they don’t scramble. Add another small amount of milk and whisk together in much the same way.

3) Now that the eggs are tempered, you can add the warm egg and milk mixture back into the hot milk on the stove. We’re looking to heat the mixture until it begins to thicken, but in order to ensure a uniform consistency, you’ll want to use a rubber spatula to stir it constantly. (Be certain to scrape across the bottom and sides of the pot as this is where the heat will be most intense.) The pastry cream can take a few minutes to thicken, but it’s better to go slow and do it right than to go too quickly and end up curdling your eggs.

4) Eventually, the mixture will begin to thicken and you’ll notice it start to bubble soon after. Continue to stir for another 30 seconds to help cook out the corn starch taste and then remove it from the heat. Stir in the vanilla, salt, butter, and red food coloring and set the pot aside to cool. Once cool to the touch, pour the pastry cream into a pastry bag and place it in the refrigerator. It’ll be ready to go when the malasadas are done!

5) To fill the malasadas, first make an incision with a small sharp knife into the center of the doughnut [1.] Stick the tip of the pastry bag into the cavity you’ve made and squeeze until you feel a slight push back letting you know it’s full [2.} If you don’t feel like filling them, I’m sure the pastry cream makes a great dipping sauce as well!

Piping the filling into the big malasada doughnuts from the Pokemon game series.

6) Now go out and heal all those beat up Pokémon of yours!…

Or you could just stay home and eat Hawaiian doughnuts all day, it’s up to you ;).


Hey! Thanks for reading all the the way to the end! You’re awesome :D! If you haven’t already and are looking for more nerdy food stuff, consider following me on TwitterFacebooktumblr and Instagram. I post a lot of work in progress pictures for the blog as well as some stuff from my real job as a pastry chef. If that sounds like something you’d be into, please check out those links above! Anyway, take care everyone and I’ll see you soon with an all-new recipe!

– Bryan