Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Goodbye BBQ: Lau laus

One of my really good friends just said "Aloha" to his mom and little brother, they moved back to the mainland. We are all really sad to see them go and will miss them terribly. But we did our best to send them off right; make-your-own lau lau BBQ!

Lau lau is a traditional Hawaiian dish that usually consists of pork and fish wrapped in taro leaves. This is a very nutritious meal...taro leaves are practically BURSTING with vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.

We have had lau lau BBQs before where you bring all sorts of fillings. This time we stayed traditional and had pork, fish, sweet potato, and ulu fillings. You seriously can't beat sweet potato and ono!

The easiest way to cook your own lau lau at home is with a pressure cooker. They are no longer scary things that could blow up at any minute! I swear! They don't make 'em like they used to...luckily! In just 40 minutes you can have up to 10 large lau lau cooked! So go get one pressure cookah! :)

Hawaiian lau lau:
Makes about 15 large lau lau

3 lbs pork (butt is normally used but we used tenderloin this time)
3 lbs fish (butterfish is the norm, we used yellowtail tuna)
6 sweet potato, washed and cubed
6 ulu, peeled, cored and cubed
Hawaiian salt or sea salt, to taste
3-4 taro leaf per lau lau, washed and de-stemmed
2-3 ti leaf per lau lau, washed and de-stemmed
Aluminum foil

My only warning for lau laus is there is a TON of prep-work. Make sure you have many hands to help.

It took us a good hour and a half to get all the prep work done for our lau laus.

These steps all happened simultaneously, make sure everyone has a job!

We had to peel the ulu. It is very messy because the ulu fruit secretes a white glue-like fluid when it is cut. I would recommend just slicing off the peel with a knife...our peeler is probably going to be thrown out after peeling all those ulu! All gummed up!

Dan and Nick peeling the ulu

At the same time have someone prepare the taro leaves. This is an easy task, you just need to cut the stems off of the leaf as close to the leaf as you can.

Hunter cutting all the taro leaves
Cut all the meat and veggies into chunks.

Me chopping the Okinawa sweet potatoes for the lau lau
We are fortunate enough to have an abundance of ti plant in our backyard, so getting ti leaf is not difficult and takes no time at all. Pick the nicest looking ti leaf and make sure you wash all the dirt and ants off of them.

Ti leaf that Dan and Nick collected and washed
Next you de-stem the ti leaf. This process can be a little tricky. You must first break the hard stem by bending the leaf in the middle back and forth until it snaps.

Dan de-stemming all of our ti leaf to wrap the lau lau in
After you have broken the stem, face the bottom-side of the ti leaf towards yourself and gently pull the leaf away from the stem. You might get a few tears in the leaf during this process but that is OK!

Dan just broke the stem and began pulling the leaf from the stem



Ti leaf with the hard stem removed

Once the ulu has been peeled you need to take out the "core" and cube it. The core of the ulu isn't hard like a peach pit but it is a tough fiber that you do not want to eat (unless you are making ulu chips and then it's post idea!)

Nick showing the "core" of the ulu, the part that you want to cut out

Nick coring the ulu

 Once you have prepared the fillings you are ready to construct the lau laus! I like to set up our table like an assembly line, it seems to work really well and it makes me feel super organized! :)

Table with the lau lau assembly line all ready

Start with the taro leaves

Add the sweet potato and ulu.

Add the rest of the ingredients. Try not to over fill your lau lau, it is very easy to do!

Well, I took a hiadus from writing this blog and this goodbye BBQ was several months ago, 6 I believe. I am just now putting the finishing touches on it. I can honestly say that I miss Daria and Hunter-Gatherer terribly. How could you not miss this goofball? :)

1 comment:

  1. Good to see you back at it! I've missed your recipes, writings and photos!