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Lū‘au Stew with Beef

Odelian Kaikana
June 2012

Here is a recipe that will surely come in handy when preparing for your next graduation party or other milestone celebration! This recipe yields approximately 100 servings.


40 lbs beef brisket
10 lbs sliced onions
40 lbs cooked lūʻau leaves (See recipe below: note that approximately thirty 20 lb. bags of raw lūʻau will be needed to make the desired 40 lbs. of cooked lūʻau)
4 lbs beef (bouillon) base
2 lbs flour
salt & pepper to taste


In a large pot, fill with water and bring to high, constant boil. Add a generous sprinkling of baking soda to the water. Once the water reaches a constant boil, submerse a large amount of raw lūʻau leaves. Push down with large wooden spoon or spatula to cover leaves with boiling water for several minutes until blanched.

Remove blanched lūʻau from boiling water with a fine mesh spoon or grate to retrieve all lūʻau and place in a cheese cloth or fine mesh bag and squeeze excess water out. Be careful not to burn yourself as the blanched lūʻau is drenched with hot water.

Repeat the process, refilling water as needed until all lūʻau is completely processed (1 large bag of raw lūʻau normally makes 1–2 gallon-sized Ziploc bags).

Let blanched lūʻau sit out to dry in the sun for a day. We normally hang a fine mesh bag from our clothesline.

Bag completely blanched, dried, and cooled lūʻau into gallon-sized Ziploc bags. Freeze for future use. After this process, the lūʻau keeps in the freezer just as well as frozen spinach.

Note: This process is for making smaller quantities of lūʻau. One 20 lb bag of lūʻau generally comes out 1–2 gallon-sized bags of finished lūʻau leaves. To make 40 lbs of lūʻau, one would probably have to use approximately thirty 20 lb. bags of lūʻau leaves and repeat the process accordingly.


Cut beef brisket into bite-sized chunks.
In a separate pot, coat beef with flour, salt and pepper to taste.
Cook in hot oil until seared. 
Fill water to cover meat. Bring to a boil. Add beef base and cook until beef is tender.
Add lūʻau leaves.
Adjust flavor if needed by adding Hawaiian salt to taste.
Heat through and serve hot to avoid oiliness.

Stew luau pic

photo courtesy of: Jalna Amoy

Peeking into Granny's pot, yummy morsels of beef in the creamy lūʻau makes the mouth water!

Raw beef brisket 0

photo courtesy of: C. John

Sometimes itʻs hard to accommodate a large portion of beef brisket on one board, but for a hundred servings or more, we will have to make space!

1 - taro fields

photo courtesy of: Joy Alama

Verdant taro fields in Hanalei will provide the lūʻau needed to enjoy this sumptuous dish for many graduations.

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