I’m always homesick. Coming from Hawaii, I always miss the beaches, the people, the Aloha spirit, and the food. Since I’m on the mainland, I have always tried to make the local Hawaiian food myself to kill the food craving and homesickness. Trying out different kind of recipes.
I gathered this recipe from 3 different recipes. And so far, below is what I got and I have been happy with it. I have made it numerous times. Everyone loves it. It is the “lazy” shortcut kind, and mainland style because some ingredients you can’t even find them here, such as the taro and ti leaves. But, I found that, the banana leaves makes up for the ti leaves, and the canned spinach makes up for the taro leaves.
SO, it’s a lu’au!, and it’s ono! 🙂
Dried banana leaves
Cooking string/ twine
Cod or butter fish (optional- I normally don’t put any fish)
1 big slice of pork belly (I use this instead of fish), cut up into 1 inch cubes
Sea salt or kosher salt
2 cans (or more) of Del Monte spinach (I ALWAYS use Del Monte brand- to me, it has taste and smell like taro leaves)
1 lb pork butt, cut up or cubed
Season pork butt with salt. Give about 3-4 big pinches on each bundle (explanation below). If you use fish, also cut up the fish, or pork belly and season with salt. When you are done, prepare the banana leaves. Once you clean and dry up the leaves and they become soft, cut about 10- 12 inch in length. You want to make sure that at the end, you can wrap those pork like a bundle or a present. Place the cut up pork at the bottom, then the fish or pork belly, and season with salt on top. When they are done, place a handful of spinach on top of them then wrap your leaves into a bundle and secure it with the string on all fours sides. Make sure it is all tie up and secured.
Your choice of using steamer or crockpot, make sure you place the seam on the bottom to avoid the leaves from opening up. If you use crockpot, set it on low for 6-8 hours. I always put about 1/2 cup of water before I turn the crockpot on, so the laulau are moist and not too salty. If you use steamer, pile them in steamer, with metal strainer underneath so they don’t touch the water. You will be steaming for a while, at least for about 4 hours. Keep on checking though, especially for water level. You don’t want your laulau to burn. They will smell bad.
Easy and simple, right? That is why I called it “lazy”! Good luck.