How to Reheat Laulau [Top 5 Ways to Keep the Flavor]

How to reheat Lau lau

Reheating a dish of laulau takes special care. You don’t want the luau or ti leaves to fall apart from overcooking or the rice to lump up. You also want to preserve the meat’s tenderness and juicy flavors. 

There are many different ways you can reheat laulau. You can use a stovetop and simmer for 4 hours. You could steam in a steamer or keep heated in a chafing dish over a Sterno flame. You could also use a standard oven or a microwave. 

For all the reheating options sure to preserve the flavor and texture of the classic Hawaiian laulau dish, read on for our top tips. 

1. Steamer

Reheating in a steamer is arguably the best way to warm laulau. The recommended way to reheat is:

  1. Take the laulau wrapped in ti leaves and wrap in foil. 
  2. Put some water in a steamer or lower part of a double boiler. 
  3. Place the top part of the double boiler ensuring the water doesn’t touch the laulau. 
  4. Place the lid on top. 
  5. Bring the water to boil. 
  6. Once the water boils, reduce the temperature for a slow simmer for about 20 minutes. 
  7. The laulau is ready to serve.
Reheated Lau lau on a plate
Lau lau is a traditional Hawaiian dish. Credit: arnold | inuyaki, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2. Chafing Dish

Chafing dishes are perfect for reheating laulau. They offer a slow reheat, which works best for laulau. The chafing dishes can also reheat for long, which works for times when not everyone is eating at the same time or there’s lots of leftover laulau and people are expected to serve second helpings. 

To reheat using chafing dishes:

  1. Add water to the bottom bowl of the chafing dish. 
  2. Place the laulau wrapped in ti leaves on the top part of the chafing dish. You can wrap in aluminum foil or leave as is. 
  3. Light up your Sterno flame and set it under the chafing dish. Sterno flames work best for a slow and consistent heat resulting in evenly warmed laulau. 
  4. After 20 minutes you may serve though you can leave the laulau on the heated chafing dishes for up to two hours without risk of overcooking. 

3. Stovetop

The stovetop is the most traditional way of reheating laulau. In ancient Hawaiian cooking, a pot would be filled to about a third of the way with water, place rocks inside rising higher than the level of the water, then place the laulau on top. This was an easy way to steam without overcooking. 

A stovetop is easy to manage and often results in better preservation of laulau texture and flavors. The steps for reheating are:

  1. Add an extra layer of luau leaves to wrap the cold laulau. 
  2. You can also add a layer of aluminum foil tied tightly to prevent moisture from entering. 
  3. Pour about an inch of water into a pot. 
  4. Place the laulau inside the pot on medium high heat. 
  5. When the water comes to a boil, reduce to medium low heat and let the water simmer for about 20 minutes. 
  6. Remove the laulau, unwrap the luau leaves, and serve while hot.
Lau lau with fried rice and a green salad
Lau lau with fried rice, bean sprouts and a dark green salad. Credit: Neeta Lind, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

4. Slow Cooker

Reheating in a slow cooker follows a process that’s midway between using a pot on a stovetop and using chafing dishes on a Sterno flame. To reheat laulau in a slow cooker you should:

  1. Pour an inch of water into the slow cooker. 
  2. Wrap the laulau in an extra layer of ti leaves. 
  3. Add another layer of aluminum. You don’t have to add all these layers, but it’s best to be careful not to let additional moisture into the laulau. 
  4. Place a trivet inside the slow cooker, ensuring the bottom of the trivet is well above the surface of the water. 
  5. Place the laulau onto the trivet. 
  6. Close the lid of the slow cooker and set the timer to 30 minutes on low heat. 
  7. You can serve in 30 minutes or let it stay warm inside the slow cooker for up to an hour.  

5. Microwave

A microwave is a time saver when reheating laulau. The very simple steps are:

  1. Wrap the laulau with an additional fresh layer of ti leaves if you have some. If not, just leave it in the ti leaves it was cooked in. 
  2. Place a half-full glass of water inside the microwave. This will help reheat the laulau evenly. 
  3. Line the microwave plate with a layer of paper towels. 
  4. Place the laulau onto the microwave plate. 
  5. Place another layer of paper plates on top of the laulau. 
  6. Spray some water on top of the paper towels covering the laulau. 
  7. Reheat in medium heat for 5 minutes.
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