Well, I don’t really know much about this Hawaiian dish…other than I’ve only had Lau Lau a number of times from a chain eatery in shopping malls. Of course, not knowing what home cooked Lau Lau could possibly taste like; and seldom do I run across authentic Hawaiian food where I live, I decided to just make them myself!
Today, what I have for you is my own rendition of Lau Lau, with a slight variation…three-parts Hawaiian, three-parts Filipino, and one-part Sicilian 😉
Prep time approximately 1 hour. Cook time approximately 2 hours. Serves 6-8
- 2 lbs (32 oz) Smoked Pulled Pork, fully cooked (from Costco)
- 2 pounds fresh taro (luau) leaves, cleaned, washed and stems removed*
- 3 tablespoons Hawaiian Sea Salt*
- 1 small bottle Mang Tomas All Purpose Sauce*
- 1 tablespoon Silver Swan soy sauce* (as pictured, or similar) – can use low sodium if desired
- 1 tablespoon Datu Puti cane vinegar* (as pictured, or similar) – Can use regular white vinegar
- 6 Ti leaves or Banana leaves, cleaned*
*Mang Tomas All Purpose Sauce, Silver Swan Soy Sauce, and Datu Puti Cane Vinegar can all be found at local Asian specialty markets, some supermarkets in the Asian products aisle, or on-line.
* Taro Leaves (Luau Leaves) need to be purchased fresh and can be found at local Asian specialty markets. If unable to find locally, Swiss Chard, Beet Greens, Collard Greens or large spinach leaves can be substituted. I personally used Swiss chard for this recipe, which is the closest flavor to cooked taro leaves. Taro leaves are edible when properly cooked. Did you know that the first variety of chards have been traced back to Sicily?
* Hawaiian Sea Salt can be found at most gourmet or local Asian markets or ordered on-line. Kosher or sea salt can be use as substitutes.
* Ti leaves or Banana leaves can be purchased frozen at local Asian or Latin specialty markets, and also on-line. Allow frozen leaves to thaw, rinse and pat dry before using. If unable to purchase, lining crock pot with aluminum foil and covering top of pork snugly with foil can be substituted to create steamy environment. Both Ti Leaves and Banana Leaves are not edible.
- In a large mixing bowl (as pictured) add-in the fully cooked pulled pork, along with the Mang Tomas sauce, cane vinegar, and soy sauce. Toss until all the meat are covered evenly.
- Line a 5-quart crock-pot bottom and sides with 4 Ti leaves or banana leaves (shiny side up – facing food), forming a slight basket all the way up the sides of the crock pot. If unable to purchase the Ti or Banana leaves, lining crock pot with aluminum foil and covering the top snugly with aluminum foil can be substituted to create a steamy environment.
- Remove stems from taro leaves or swiss chards. Place 2 to 3 chunks of pulled pork in the center of the taro leaves or swiss chards.
- Wrap taro leaves or swiss chards around the pork chunks creating a bundle.
- Wrap the banana leaves around the taro leaves or swiss chards and tie each (like criss-cross applesauce) with a cooking string to secure everything in place.
- Place any remaining Ti or Banana leaves over top (shiny side down, facing food), tucking in edges. Cover the top of the crock pot with aluminum foil and place the lid on top.
- Since the pulled pork is fully cooked, cook on high for 4 hours or until Taro Leaves are fully cooked (dark green and soft). I turned off the slow cooker after about two hours, but kept the lau lau inside with lid on.
This dish is excellent with steam rice, and a side dish of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad! Ohoiho! Mahalo…