This week we’re going to be talking about one of Hawaii’s most famous dishes: Lau lau.
Do You Have To Use Lau Lau Leaves To Make Lau Lau?
Lau lau is a traditional Hawaiian dish that traditionally involves wrapping cooked meats with taro leaf bundles and then steaming them until the leaves are tender.
It can also include other ingredients such as potatoes or sweet potato.
The word “lau lau” means “wrapped up” or “dressed up” in Hawaiian, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that there has to be actual leaves involved.
The main ingredient in this recipe is chicken, which is marinated overnight in pineapple juice and soy sauce.
You will need to prepare your own Taro Leaves (see below) before making the rest of the meal.
Once everything is ready, wrap the chicken, along with some other additions like onion, green pepper, and mushrooms if desired, in the leaves.
When all of the ingredients are prepared, steam the bundle over boiling water for 30 minutes, turning the leaves occasionally while cooking.
When done, serve the lau lau with rice and enjoy!
What Kind Of Meat Do You Use For Lau Lau?
Lau lau can be made with various meats including chicken, beef, or even a combination of both (called “kalua pig”).
Traditionally, it’s made with pork but there are many variations on the theme.
You could also try making this dish using turkey instead of pork if you prefer.
The main ingredient in lau lau is the taro leaf which adds texture and flavor when cooked.
It’s best served fresh so look out for those bright green leaves at your local grocery store!
How Do You Cook Lau Lau?
Lau lau is traditionally made from pork, but it can also include chicken or beef as well.
The key thing to remember when cooking any type of this dish is the temperature.
You want your meats cooked medium rare to slightly pink inside.
If they are too hot, or if they are overcooked, the outside will start to get tough and dry out before the insides have properly heated up.
You should also keep track of how much liquid is left over after cooking.
It is important not to add more than what was needed during preparation because adding extra water will dilute the flavors of the sauce.
When finished cooking, remove all of the excess juices by placing the entire package into an ice bath (a bowl filled with cold water) until cool enough to handle.
Then drain the contents of the lau lau completely so there are no leftovers.
What Does Lau Lau Taste Like?
Lau lau (pronounced “loo laoo”) is a traditional Hawaiian dish made with pork, fish or chicken, and other ingredients such as seaweed, green onions, ginger, garlic, pineapple, kalua pig, and more.
It is often served on special occasions and can also be used as a side dish for many different types of meals.
In this article, I will show you how to make a simple version of lau lau using boneless lean pork chops and fresh spinach.
However, there are many variations of lau lau recipes out there, so feel free to experiment with your own favorite flavors!
What Is The History Of Lau Lau?
Lau lau (pronounced “loo laoo”) is a traditional Hawaiian dish made with pork or chicken and wrapped inside a taro leaf.
It originated as an inexpensive meal for laborers who didn’t have time to cook at home but wanted something filling without making too much effort.
The word “luau” means “feast,” so it makes sense that this was originally served during festivals and celebrations.
In fact, it wasn’t until later when people started eating luau on their own, usually after a long day of work, that they began serving them more frequently than just around special occasions.
It quickly became popular because it was cheap, healthy, and full of flavor.
Even though today many people find it difficult to get fresh taro root, you can still easily substitute canned or frozen taro leaves if necessary.
If you want to try your hand at creating a lau lau, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- You don’t need any special equipment to prepare lau lau. You can use tongs to wrap up your meat and veggies instead of using bamboo skewers or toothpicks.
- To prevent burning yourself while cooking, wear gloves.
- Don’t forget to season everything before wrapping it up!
- After preparing your ingredients, remove excess oil by placing them over medium heat and letting them simmer for several minutes.
- Once the mixture has simmered down, place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Then spoon it onto a piece of aluminum foil and fold the sides together to seal the edges securely.
- Place the folded package back onto the stovetop and let it steam for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove it from the burner once it begins to look tender.
- Serve with rice and macaroni salad.
- For added flair, serve with pineapple chunks.
How do I know what kind of food is authentic Hawaiian?
There are plenty of restaurants around America that claim to sell Hawaiian cuisine, but few actually offer anything close to authentic Hawaiian food.
If you’d rather eat something closer to home, here are three things to note:
1. All of the ingredients should originate from Hawaii.
2. The preparation process should take no longer than 10 minutes per person.
3. All of the food should be cooked directly over open flame.
Where Does Lau Lau Come From?
Lau lau is a traditional Hawaiian dish made with meat (usually pork), fish or chicken, and fresh vegetables all wrapped up in banana leaf.
It originated as an evening meal for royalty, but it became so popular that people would eat it throughout the day too.
The name comes from how the food was served – on a banana leaf plate, which had been laid out like a bed, and then nestled into the mouth of the diner.
The original version of this dish included many different types of meats including beef, goat, sheep, pigeon, and even dog, although these days it tends to feature only pork and poultry.
Sometimes it will include seafood such as sashimi tuna or squid rings, but more often than not, it is accompanied by vegetables such as green beans, mushrooms, cabbage, squash, potatoes, and tomatoes along with rice and noodles.
As well as being eaten during the daytime, lau lau can also be enjoyed at night time.
Traditionally, it is cooked over open flames, but nowadays electric kettles are used instead.
Most recipes call for the use of taro leaves, either raw or boiled before wrapping the ingredients together.
Today, there are two main versions of this classic Hawaiian dish – one uses white meat, the other uses dark meat.
One has become very popular among tourists, while the other remains much less common.
Lau lau is traditionally prepared using a type of banana called ‘ulu, which is native to Hawaii.
However, since the introduction of other bananas to the islands, they have now replaced them as the preferred cooking material.
Banana leaves are usually sourced locally, however some supermarkets sell frozen packages that can be thawed and used straight away.
If you live outside of Hawaii, your best bet is to order online.
How Do You Make Lau Lau Wrappers?
Lau lau comes from the Hawaiian language which means “wrapped meat.” The original recipe for lau lau contains pork (which is why it’s also known as pig in a blanket), but modern versions are much more diverse than this.
You can find everything from chicken to fish inside these wraps!
The main ingredients used in traditional lau lau are usually marinated pork or beef, kai (fish) such as tuna, ebi (shrimp), and even vegetarian options like tofu or edamame.
Some recipes call for other meats like lamb or chicken.
You will need:
- Pork – cut into strips
- Marinade – mix together equal parts soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil
- Tofu – cut into cubes
- Edamame – shelled fresh green beans
- Eggplant – sliced thinly
- Cucumber – diced
- Mushrooms – chopped finely
- Carrots – grated
- Peas – frozen cooked
- Scallions – minced
- Shredded cabbage – 1/4 cup
- Spinach – shredded
- Bamboo shoots – drained canned
- Leafy greens – washed and torn up
- Wrapping material – banana leaf, plastic wrap, wax paper, etc.
In addition to all of those items above, you will probably want some utensils to help you get your job done.
For example, a bamboo skewer might be useful if you’re making skewers out of the tofu pieces, while a pair of scissors would work well when cutting up the eggplant for wrapping purposes.
Once you have all of your supplies ready, here’s how to make lau lau wrappers at home.
What Is Lau Lau Traditionally Served With?
Lau lau is primarily eaten as part of the traditional meal called poke.
Although it can also be enjoyed on its own, lau lau is often accompanied by raw fish or cooked meats like chicken, beef, or pork.
It is usually served hot but can also be chilled if desired.
The word lau comes from the Tahitian language meaning “to wrap up in leaves.”
The word laula means “leaf,” so when combined they mean the leafy substance used to wrap the food inside.
In addition to being an essential ingredient for poke, lau lau has become a popular side dish in restaurants across America because of its versatility.
It is made using only what Hawaiians have available at any given time.
If you don’t want to use taro leaves, try cabbage leaves, banana leaves, or even lettuce leaves instead.
You may need to adjust the cooking time depending on how thick your leaf material is.
You should cook this dish slowly over low heat until all the ingredients are tender.
Can You Freeze Lau Lau?
If you’ve ever eaten laulau at the hale (Hawaiian for “household”), then you know it’s an incredibly delicious meal. It’s made up of ingredients like pork, fish, and vegetables all wrapped in taro leaves and cooked together until tender inside a steamer basket over boiling water.
The result is a hearty stew full of flavor.
But what if you want to save your favorite laulau recipe for later?
Can you freeze it so you can enjoy it any time you want it?
The short answer: yes! You absolutely can freeze lau lau—and here’s how to do it.
How to Freeze Laulau
First things first, you’ll need to decide which method you want to use.
There are two primary methods for freezing foods: flash freezing or conventional freezer storage.
Flash freezing involves placing food into sealed bags and submerging them directly in liquid nitrogen.
Once frozen solid, they are removed from the liquid nitrogen and placed in dry ice before being transferred to your freezer where they will remain cold indefinitely.
While this method does preserve color and texture, the process takes much longer than just putting items straight into your regular freezer.
Conventional freezer storage uses plastic containers and vacuum sealing technology to keep contents as fresh as possible while still allowing moisture to escape.
After placing your food in these containers, seal them tightly using either heavy duty aluminum foil or double layered plastic wrap.
Vacuum sealing works by drawing air out of the container through holes on the top of the package, leaving no space between the lid and the food itself.
These packages should be stored upright so that all excess oxygen trapped within the packaging is released back into the atmosphere.
If you store your laulau in this way, you won’t have to worry about spoiling the taste of your meal when thawing it because there won’t be any bacteria left behind.
Now that you know how to freeze laulau, let’s get started making our own authentic Hawaiian classic!
What Are Some Variations Of Lau Lau?
The name “lau lau” comes from the word for “tenderloin,” which is what this dish uses as its main ingredient.
The meat can also come from other parts of the pig like shoulder or leg.
Other ingredients include pineapple, green onion (scallion), tomatoes, cabbage, olives, and more.
But there are many different kinds of lau lau, so it’s important to know how to prepare each type correctly. Here are five common lau lau recipes:
- Lau lau with rice
- Soy sauce lau lau
- Spam lau lau
- Pork lau lau
- Chicken lau lau
- ½ pound salt butterfish
- ½ pound pork butt
- 4 boneless chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon Hawaiian sea salt
- 8 ti leaves
- 1 pound taro leaves
- Hawaiian sea salt is a good way to season fish, pork, and poultry. For each of the 4 servings, arrange 2 ti leaves in an X shape on a level surface.
- Put a quarter of the fish, pork, and chicken in the middle of three or four taro leaves. Place each wrap on a set of ti leaves after tightly wrapping with taro leaves. Use a piece of twine to connect the ends of the ti leaves.
- Put the bundles in a sizable steamer, and let them cook for three to four hours.