The Luau is a Hawaiian tradition that started in 1819. Before that the sexes were segregated during meals and certain special dishes were reserved only for high-ranking me. King Kamehameha II decided that feasts should be shared by everyone, and so the luau was established. Whether you have Polynesian roots or want to celebrate in the Polynesian tradition, there are several dishes that you can put on your luau menu.
Kalua pig is common main dish at a luau. Traditionally a whole pig is smoked for hours under the sand with hot coals but you can make your own Kalua pig in the oven or slow cooker with pork butt, salt and liquid smoke. Laulau is another authentic luau dish consisting of chicken thighs, boneless pork chops and butterfish wrapped in ti and luau leaves then steamed for up to six hours. If you want to utilize your barbeque for a luau consider making Huli Huli chicken. A mixture of pineapple juice, white wine, chicken broth, soy sauce, ketchup, ginger and Worcestershire sauce is rubbed over chicken thighs, wings and breasts and slowly grilled over the barbeque.
From the Sea
Shrimp is a traditional Luau menu item and can be prepared in a number of ways; grill shrimp on the barbeque and serve it with a sweet orange sauce, bake a macadamia nut crusted shrimp for a nice crunch or fry up a coconut beer battered shrimp. Lomi salmon is seafood dish made with salted or canned salmon mixed with skinned tomatoes and Maui onions. The mixture is served cold and topped with sliced green onions.
Poi is starch dish made by pounding cooked taro roots and mixing them with water until a smooth consistency is made. Poi can be served thick or thin depending on preference and eaten with salt or sugar. Taro rolls are dinner rolls made from taro flour that have a distinctive purple color; the taro plant is one of the main native crops cultivated on the Hawaiian islands. Baking rolls with taro flour will make for an interesting dish your guests will surely remember.
No luau is complete without a number of authentic Hawaiian desserts. One of the most popular Hawaiian desserts served at a luau is haupia, a custard dish made with cornstarch, coconut milk, sugar and water served on trays lined with ti leaves. Incorporate the Hawaiian native fruit guava into a guava cake made with strawberry cake mix, guava juice and a decadent frosting made with cream cheese, whipped topping and more guava juice. For the chocolate lover bake a chocolate macadamia nut cake with warm chocolate sauce.
Guests will love a light and refreshing Mai Thai to complement the delicious Luau-inspired dishes. A Mai Thai consists of light rum, Jamaican rum, French Orgeat almond syrup, orange Curacao, rock candy syrup, fresh lime and orange juice. All of the ingredients are shaken in ice and served with a garnish of mint leaves and pineapple slices.
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