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« Squid Lu'au | Main | The Daily Grindz »

October 26, 2005



Hi Reid - Really looks good! Did you use Lu'au leaf for this, or did you go the "spinach" route? Can't forget the Chili Pepper Water! Funny, an unintentional Joint Cooking Post.....


hi reid, that looks so good - i've never had the good fortune to taste laulau before but i just know the combination will be phenomenal...salted fish and pork fat, yummm!


Fantastic! I have always wanted to try making my own laulau. Thank you so much for the recipe - I can almost taste it now. Do you have any suggestions on where to find salted butterfish and ti leaves? Maybe it's possible to purchase them online, or perhaps there's a good substitute?



In the absence or lack of ti leaves here on the mainland, most of us have adapted to using tin foil for wrapping lau laus. Also canned spinach is a good substitute for taro (luau) leaves if it's not readily available. Salted salmon could also be used instead of salted butterfish (black cod) as an alternate substitute. Liquid smoke should be added to replicate the taste of the imu in which the original method of cooking the lau lau was processed.
Just as a side note, I've also tried this as a casserole dish instead of individual wraps with great success. Oy, my stomach is growling right now!


Clinton - I totally agree on the Ti leaf thing - I actually tried using Ti leaf twice from different "Florists" here on the mainland, and even though they said, the leaves were "untreated", one left a waxy residue, and the other left a strange chemical "smell". After that I totally stopped using them.


No kidding.......steamed for only an hour and thirty minutes? Is it because of the amount you made? I usually steam about 10 laulaus at a time for 3 hours. I don't have to steam them that long?


Reid, great idea.. and great recipe! Thanks for posting this. I love it when there is a cube of fat in the lau lau. I once tried making lau lau in a crock pot, but I don't think I will do that again. Steaming brings much better, fresher tasting results. I was also amazed that it took only 1.5 hours... I usually leave mines in longer.. but maybe i'll try it shorter. I like it when the leaves have some texture (but not so that it makes your mouth itchy!).


Clinton! A lau lau cassorole sounds great! I think I will try that at my next potluck! Thanks!



A lau lau cassarole? That sounds good! Did you put the luau leaves in raw or did you steam them or something first? I really want to try that for my next potluck!


Hi Kirk,

I used fresh lu'au leaf for this. In my opinion, it's much simpler. And yes, it was quite funny that we posted the same thing on the same day!

Hi J,

Thank you! Nowadays, most people try to stay away from pork fat. I've never eaten it, but my dad used to.

Hi Melissa,

If you don't have ti leaves, you can use banana leaves as a substitute. If you're not going to attempt this right away, you could probably grow your own ti leaf plant. I can send you a cutting if you'd like.

As far as the salted butterfish is concerned, you could probably find fresh butterfish in the UK. It would go by the name of black cod, or perhaps even sablefish (which is what it really is).

Here's a picture of what the a large fillet actually looks like:

If you can't find it, let me know. I'll see if I can locate some for you. Good luck!

Hi Clinton,

Thanks for the information. I actually like the flavor that ti leaves impart on the laulau. For me, there is a distinct flavor that is missing when they are not used.

As far as making laulau using liquid smoke, I have never heard of that. I'm really not sure how the liquid smoke will actually make the laulau taste, but it's an interesting thought.

As far as the laulau casserole is concerned, there was a recipe for it in the Advertiser a couple weeks back.

Here's the link if anyone is intersted.

Hi Kirk,

Do you want to grow ti leaf in your yard at home? I can send you a cutting from a plant if you'd like.

Hi Lance,

Long time no hear!

I usually steam the laulau for 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes. I'm not sure how many leaves you are using on yours, but by most accounts, one hour of cooking should be sufficient for the leaves to become tender (and edible).

Hi James,

Thanks. =)

I only have a couple more posts to go, then the series is done. Whew! It was a big project for me.

As far as steaming laulau is concerned, I'm with you. I like some texture to the leaves and I find that an hour and a half is just about perfect. If you have any doubts, one hour and 45 minutes should be perfect.

I myself don't eat the pork fat, but it does give a distinct flavor to the laulau.

Hi Trisha,

I posted the link for laulau casserole above. If you want, I would suggest you cook the lu'au leaves ahead of time. You'd probably want to cook them for about an hour or so in a covered pot before baking.


I've been making "mainland" laulaus for years using available ingredients found in our local supermarkets like pork butt, chuck roasts, canned spinach, fresh salmon, liquid smoke, and Kosher salt. I salt my own salmon with the Kosher salt and freeze them in small batches for later use. I buy the gallon-size can spinach and liquid smoke at Smart and Final for a steal. Chuck roast and pork butt usually goes on sale every now and then at our local supermarkets so that's readily available. I like using both pork and beef in my laulaus since it gives it a meatier taste (I like meat). Kosher salt is a good substitute for Hawaiian salt and a lot cheaper. Pressure cooking the lau laus for exactly one hour has bave given me best results for meat tenderness and taste.


Hi Clinton,

Thanks for the tips. I'm sure my mainland readers will appreciate them. I've never made laulau with pork and beef before, but I'm going to try it next time I make up a batch. Years ago, I used to give homemade laulaus away as Christmas gifts to my co-workers, but it got to be too much work. *sigh*

I'm getting old....

Kaukau Kane

I'm an old guy from a "neighbor island" who believes you need fat in your laulau for flavor ... you have the option of pushing it off to the side. I also steam the heck out of the laulau to break the luau leaf down (HINT: a dip in a water baking soda solution during the wrapping process helps).

For St. Patrick's Day (when Corned Beef goes on sale), I make Irish-Kine Laulau with Fresh Corned Beef and a slice of fresh taro ... steam the heck out of it (5-hours) ... broke 'da mouth!!! OH, did I tell you about Beef Tongue Laulau ...

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