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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Luau Stew/ 99 Ranch

1 whole taro leaf
When I lived on Kauai, I was lucky enough to live on 2.5 acres. We had a fenced in yard which included some space for a garden. I loved the garden although I was terrified of centipedes.. When I wanted to make luau stew, I would walk outside to the garden (set aside my fears) and grab some taro root and leaves.. I would then go inside and start cooking.
Since I live in the Bay Area now I was very excited when I found out about 99 Ranch in the Easy Bay. I was so happy when I realized that I could make the foods that I miss so much from the islands without begging friends to mail me items.

sliced taro
Taro is a root that is similar to potato.  Locals like to pound it and make poi, a sticky starchy substance.. you can use the leaves to wrap up pork or chicken and make lau lau as well. There are lots of ways to use taro in the kitchen, but my favorite is using it for luau stew.

taro leaf
The taro root should be peeled and then sliced. Taro leaves should be de-veined and chopped. 
Get your stew pot warmed up with a good amount of coconut oil in it. Add your sliced taro root and sautee until golden brown. Make sure to add enough oil as the taro is a sticky starchy root and can bond to other pieces and become softly sauteed instead of golden brown if there isn't enough oil, or there is moisture in the pot. 
If you want to add chicken to this recipe, boneless skin-on thighs work wonderfully. I like to pan sautee them for a crispy skin. Then set them aside and add them at the end as everything is "stewing."

Chop up some garlic and ginger and add into the pot until the aroma fills your kitchen. That way you haven't overdone the spices and they will impart their flavor on the stew.
fresh lemongrass

 I also used lemongrass in this recipe. I chopped it and put it into some cheesecloth that I anchored on the side of the stew pot. This way the flavor is incorporated without biting into chunks of lemongrass, and or having to strain the lemongrass out of the pot.

Add two to three cans of coconut milk.( I don't like the low fat coconut milk as it is too watery.) I prefer organic regular coconut milk... Coconut milk is very similar to mother's milk, and it helps the body to process  fats ingested. Coconut fats are utilized by the body/ and they also help the body to utilize stored fats as well.
Add your taro leaves, chicken, and any other items you would like. Examples would be mushrooms, onions, more garlic.. whatever your heart desires.
alaea sea salt

Sea salt is the only spice that I use for this recipe. It really brings out the flavors of the stew so I add it to taste.
 Let everything stew for 40 minutes or so.   Towards the end, take the cheesecloth with the lemongrass in it and squeeze until all of your flavor has gone into the pot.
Serve over white rice and eat! xo
luau stew!
you will need:
1 large taro root
1 bag (12) taro leaf
4-5 chicken thighs (optional)
2-3 cans coconut milk
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 tb ginger
Hawaiian salt
serve with rice.

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