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Luau Recipes

A request for help from one of our RealHula students for recipes for her Hawaiian themed party inspired me to write this column. It is my pleasure to share some recipes that you can prepare for your Lu'au no matter what state or country you call home.

Kalua Pig

We have an oven roasted version of the essential Kalua Pig using liquid smoke as an alternative to digging up your backyard for the imu pit. Included is an easy recipe for Chicken Long Rice - probably Chinese in origin, but now considered standard lu'au fare. It is very unlikely that our beloved poi will be available outside of Hawai'i, but I have included a receipe for Poi 'Uala or sweet potato poi. While we here in Hawai'i love our poi, this version is probably more palatable to malihini (visitors) than our regular poi which many compare to library paste. Lomilomi Salmon is a must, as well as our favorite coconut flavored dessert, Haupia. Fresh cut pineapple and a maitai complete your lu'au. 

Oven-roasted Kalua Pig

4 pounds pork butt

4 tablespooons liquid smoke

2 tablespoons Hawaiian salt or other coarse ground salt


Score the pork butt by making cuts ¼ inch deep and 1 inch apart. Rub the pork with the salt and liquid smoke. If you are lucky enough to have ti leaves, de-bone them and fasten them around the pork butt. Wrap the pork bundle in aluminum foil and allow to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place the pork on a meat rack above a shallow roasting pan. Bake for 45 minutes, then reduce to 400 degrees and cook for 3 ½ hours more. When done, cool slightly and then shred the pork. Taste and add more liquid smoke or salt is needed. Serves 10

Chicken Long Rice

1 whole chicken, about 2 ½ pounds 
1 piece of fresh ginger the size of a quarter 
1 clove garlic, minced 
Salt and pepper to taste 
4 ounces dried shitake mushrooms * (available in oriental section of your supermarket) 
1 (4 ounce)bundle long rice * (available in oriental section, sometimes called beanthread) 
1 onion sliced

Cut the chicken into small pieces, leaving in the bone. With a mallet, smash the ginger. In a saucepan, cover the chicken with cold water and add the ginger, garlic, salt and pepper. Over medium heat, cook the chicken until tender. Remove the chicken from the stock, reserving the broth.. While the chicken is stewing, in separate bowls, rehydrate the mushrooms and long rice by pouring warm water over them and allowing them to soak for about 1 hour. Drain and place in the warm chicken stock with the onion. Cook until the long rice becomes soft and trasparent. Return the cooked chicken to the broth and simmer about 30 minutes. Serves 12 as a main dish or 20 as part of a poi supper 

Lomi Lomi Salmon

2 pounds salt salmon 
3-4 fresh tomatoes (about 1 pound) 
1 bunch green onions, chopped using green tops as well

In a bowl, place the salmon and cover with water. Soak overnight, or about 8 hours in the refrigerator, changing the water two or three times. 
Remove the salmon flesh from the skin and bones with your fingers, shredding by hand. In a bowl, combine the salmon, tomatoes and green onions. Chill. 
Before serving, add about 2 cups of ice and serve. Makes enough for 20 as part of a poi supper. 

Poi 'Uala (Sweet Potato Poi)

2 cups sweet potatoes, boiled and peeled 
2 cups canned coconut cream *(available in the oriental section) 


In a bowl, mash the sweet potatoes and add hot coconut milk until it looks like mashed potatoes. Season with salt. Honey may be added if desired. Serve warm. Makes enough for 10 as part of poi supper. 

Haupia (Coconut Pudding)

1 can coconut milk 
1 can water 
2 cup sugar 
3/4 cup corn starch 

In sauce pan combine corn starch and sugar. Slowly add water and coconut milk, stirring well to dissolve. Cook over medium heat. Bring slowly to boil, stirring constantly, let it boil for just a few minutes until it thickens. For haupia, rinse a square baking pan or other container with water before pouring mixture into to pan to cool. This allows you to cut and remove the pieces easily. 

For pumpkin haupia pie, spoon the haupia on top of the cooled pumpkin pie. Recipe is enough for two pies. Top with whipped cream if desired. 

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