If you live here in Hawai’i, you already know that Lau Lau is a local favorite. If you live elsewhere, I want to share this wonderful Hawaiian dish with you. A dear friend told me how to make it very easily in my slow cooker. This is not necessarily a traditional method – but it is onolicious. Traditionally, this dish is made by wrapping a piece pork and a piece of fat in taro leaves, and them wrapping an additional layer of leaves on the outside using ti leaf. These leafy packages would be placed in an imu and baked. The taro leaves steam inside the ti leaf creating a soft layer of steamed greens surrounding the meat, which is simply seasoned with Hawaiian sea salt. The ti leaf is removed before eating.
So here is the SIMPLE version of this delicious recipe! First you need your greens! You would grow or purchase luau leaves. The luau leaves are from the kalo plant, otherwise called taro leaves. If you live in a location where these leaves are not available, you can choose another green that would steam well. Some friends use spinach, and have told me they really enjoy that flavor combination.
First, wash the leaves well. Leaving them wet.
Line the bottom of your slow cooker with a few leaves.
Place chicken thigh in the middle of luau leaf.
Sprinkle each thigh with a pinch of Hawaiian sea salt.
Add a teaspoon of fat to each for moisture and flavor.
Wrap each thigh in the leaf as if you are wrapping a package.
Place packages in slow cooker, stacking them evenly.
After all the packages are in place, pour 2 cups of water over the top. Fold and tuck a large luau leaf over the top of the packages and place the lid on the cooker.
Turn temperature to low setting for 6 to 10 hours depending on the heat and cooking time of your appliance.
Okay, this looks simple, and it is…Please remember that looks can be deceiving. This is a wonderfully flavorful dish! Serve with your choice of rice, or quinoa and a mixed fruit salad of papaya and bananas topped with macadamia nuts, and coconut. Yum!