Hawaiian LauLau Recipe

Maybe it’s the typical cold and rainy Pacific Northwest winters…or perhaps it’s the “Hawaii or Bust!” fund that my wife and I just launched for a (hopeful) trip to the islands this spring…whatever it it, I’m jonesin’ for some sand between my toes, the trades in my hair, and a platter of island grub to tuck into.

Which is why I’m re-writing my New Year’s Eve dinner to include my beloved laulau.

LauLau is a traditional Hawaiian dish of fish, pork beef or chicken or a combination (most typically salted fish and pork) which is wrapped in leaves and steamed slowly.

The first time I made this, was in our friend’s timeshare kitchen in Poi Pu, Kauai. A very rich, delicious dish.

BTW, if you don’t think that atmosphere effects the flavor of a meal…try enjoying your laulau from a lanai 20 yards from the surf in Kauai, under the light of a tiki torches, with palm trees swaying overhead, and a live Hawaiian band playing in the courtyard below!

Anyway…here is one of my favorite chef’s, Sam Choi’s, recipe for LauLau:

1/2lb Salted Butterfish (Black Cod)
1lb Pork Butt
4 Chicken thighs
1 TBS Hawaiian Salt (Rock salt, Kosher will do)
20 Luau leaves(Taro leaves)
8 Ti leaves
2′ butcher’s twine

Serves 4

Cut fish and pork into 4 equal portions. Sprinkle with salt. Rinse luau leaves, trim stems and veins. Rinse Ti leaves; cut back of ribs until flexible.

For each portion stack 5 luau leaves. Place 1 portion or pork, chicken, and fish into the center; sprinkle with salt and wrap tightly. Roll tightly in two Ti leaves; tie with twine.

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Steam 4 hours.(this can be done with a Bamboo steamer over a pot of boiling water or a covered Dutch oven a wire rack on the bottom)

Check occasionally to be sure there is enough water.

Note: Taro leaves can be bought at most Asian Specialty stores. The same with the Salted Butterfish in the freezer section.