Healthy Eats: Aipa’s Laulau

 Posted by on 07/02/2012
Jul 022012
  • Sharebar

Everybody loves a hukilau, where the laulau is the kau kau at the big luau.

I miss Hawaii along with all its food, music, people, and aloha spirit.  Every so often I crave Hawaiian local food; poi (you know the purple pudding like thing that Andrew Zimmerman of Bizarre Foods couldn’t handle. Ah C’mon!), poke, lomi lomi salmon, chicken long rice, kalua pig, pipkaula, haupia, and the list can go on and on.

Many of those things I can make with no problem.  But there is one meal I wanted and had to get a little creative.  Just a little – The Laulau.

Now the laulau is simply described according to Wikipedia as a Hawaiian dish that is traditionally consisted of pork wrapped in taro leaf. During ancient Hawaiian times, laulua was put together using a few taro leaves with a few pieces of pork or fish, or both together placed in the middle and folded in. They were then wrapped in a ti leaf.  After they were all wrapped up nice and tight, it was time for them to go in to the imu – an underground oven – that my family still does today.

that's how we do it back at home

Present day, the laulau is still a Hawaiian favorite. But, instead of making an imu, the majority now use their stove tops to steam them.  It’s not the same as doing it underground, but it works. When my family makes an imu, we easily make close to 100 laulaus.

I’m not going to lie.  The best laulau uses the nice fatty pieces of pork. Who doesn’t love pork? When you dig inside this little gift, the meat is nice, tender, and succulent.

But, I thought you were a healthy guy?

Well, right now if there was a freshly made laulau sitting right in front of me, I would be all over it.  Especially with two scoops of rice, mac salad, and a heineken.  Talk about pau hana time – kanak attack.

Sadly I don’t have access to taro leaves nor can I dig up a hole and build a huge fire in the apartment complex I live in. But, I am trying to make healthier choices these days.  So one day when I was craving a taste of Hawaii, I used my creative mind and combined southern food with Hawaiian food and out came…GENIUS.

Aipa’s Laulau

The biggest difference with my laulau is instead of using taro leaves I use Collard Greens.  That’s where the southern food comes in.  When I first had Collard Greens, at first sight it reminded me of taro leaves cooked down.  The texture and taste was very similar too.

So hey why not? I took the simple idea of a laulau and put a little southern style to it. The great thing about making these with Collard Greens are the many healthy benefits they offer. Here are a few:

1) Contains no cholesterol, and helps to control LDL levels.  If you read my Coconut Oil post, you would know what I’m talking about.

2) 1 cup of cooked collard greens provides more than 70 percent of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C

3) Contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory benefits, and cardiovascular and digestive support.

Now for the awesomecombination that I’ve put together:

Aipa’s Laulau:

-4 Collard Green Leaves
-4 oz of salmon
-2 oz of chicken breast
-Sea salt and pepper for seasoning
-1/2 – 1 tsp of liquid smoke (don’t really need it, I just had some on the shelf)

*You can also put a little bit of sweet potato.

Cut ‘em, Wrap ‘em, Steam ‘em

Now that you have all the ingredients, it is time to assemble.  It really isn’t rocket science. Make sure you wrap everything nice and tight especially the foil.  We want to keep all the pressure inside.  For these 3, I steamed them for up to 90 minutes at medium heat.

Aipa Style Laulau

Each one of these contained:
Protein: 40 g
Fat: 14 g (this is healthy fats from salmon – we like this stuff)
Carbs: Who knows, it’s all coming from the Collard Greens or the sweet potato if you choose to put some in.

Aloha Kakou

Give this recipe a try and I promise you won’t be disappointed.  This is a great way to cook up a bunch of meals all at once.  You can still make it Hawaiian local-style kine grinds by adding two scoops of rice and 1 scoop of mac salad.  Or, you can keep it simple and eat this by itself for a healthy local kine grinds. Let me know how it comes out.

Pigin word of the day: GRINDS

Used in a sentence: So wot you like come ova tonight? My modda wen cook up choke kine grinds for us day why.
In English: Would you like to come over tonight? My mother made a lot of food for us.


  4 Responses to “Healthy Eats: Aipa’s Laulau”


  2. Aloha no,
    Iʻm smiling as i write this, knowing that here is another pono poʻe to inspire na honua.
    I have been doing lomilomi for 18 years and started this year PONO TODAY, every third thursday at Native Books, Ward Warehouse. As I read about your life and your inspirations, I am wondering if you would like to be a guest speaker. This is all done with aloha:))))
    I am looking forward to your response.
    Mahalo Nui,

  3. Oh wow that’s a far move! You definitely have to try with the collard greens, they hold up much better during the steaming and way better for wrapping up all the goodies inside. Aloha!

  4. Aloha no,
    Mahalo for the comment and I’m definitely interested in being a guest speaker for PONO TODAY. Mahalo nui, Aipa

 Leave a Reply



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>