These Hawaiian Haystacks are a fun family-friendly meal great for a get-together where everyone can personalize their own bowl! Some may call these Chinese Sundaes, but they are the same fluffy rice with chicken gravy and other fruity and crunchy toppings that you pick!
I've been serving my family Hawaiian Haystacks since 2008 or 2009. One of my favorite former co-workers first told me about "Chinese Sundaes" when we worked together. She convinced me to give them a try, even though I looked at her in disgust after she recited all of the ingredients. Stand in my shoes for a minute and listen:
"Chow mein noodles."
<Ok, so far, so good.>
"Shredded cheddar cheese."
<Skuuurrrr! Hold the phone! What!?>
<And, you said this dish is GOOD!?>
Oh, friends, it is just that. G-double-oh-D, good! Please please please do not shy away without trying it first! This is how it goes. You make a simple chicken gravy (from scratch or using cream of chicken) and pour it on a mound of cooked rice. Then, go at it and layer up whatever toppings you choose from the rest of the list above! Most people I know include everything. I do it all, except the coconut flakes.
It is a big wonder why all of the ingredients combined actually taste sincerely amazing, but I'm not going to question it any further. Back then, I was happy to have another family-friendly meal added to our rotation. And, now that I have kids, it's a super fun meal for them to put together themselves. Judah first frowned at his plate during dinner time, until I told him he got to build his own haystack. He had so much fun putting everything in a pile on his plate and then was totally excited to eat it all up.
My ingredient list is what we typically use, but you can add other toppings you see fit. Scour the Internet and you will find many variations of Hawaiian Haystacks. I usually keep it extremely simple by using cream of chicken soup and canned fruit (mandarin oranges and crushed pineapple) but you can go all fresh, too!
If this recipe looks familiar from my blog, you are not going crazy. I did post about this dish in my early years of blogging, but decided it needed a new photo, title and recipe revamp. So, here we are. 🙂
Have you ever had Hawaiian Haystacks (or Chinese Sundaes)? What do you use for toppings?
Hawaiian Haystacks (or Chinese Sundaes)
For the Chicken Gravy:
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 can (10.5 oz.) cream of chicken soup
- 1 cup sour cream
- Salt and pepper , to taste
For the Base:
- 3 cups Cooked rice (white or brown is fine)
For the Toppings:
- Mandarin oranges
- Crushed pineapple
- Chopped green onions
- Diced celery
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Coconut flakes
- Diced tomatoes
- Sliced almonds
- Chow Mein noodles
- Heat the shredded chicken in a large pot over medium heat. Mix in the cream of chicken and sour cream and cook until heated through, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, assemble the rice and toppings into separate bowls for serving. Once the gravy is cooked, transfer to another serving dish. Set all servings dishes on the table and let guests make their own plates (haystacks), starting with the rice and gravy and using any or all of the toppings they choose.
- Store any leftovers separately in the fridge.