Palaoa Linalina (Paniolo Pancakes)
On a lovely morning in Kapālama Kula, I had a taste of old Pololū Valley on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. That morning I visited my Tūtū Lani Kealoha’s hale to learn how to make her famous palaoa linalina. These are the most gooey, ʻonolicious pancakes that I grew up enjoying, and it’s a recipe that has been passed down in my ʻohana for generations: from my great-great-grandma Kumuhonua to my Tūtū Lani, to my mom Lilinoe Kealoha Wong, and now down to me.
This ‘old-school’ recipe was a Kohala cowboy favorite. My Papa Kealoha tells me how they used to cook it over a wood fire and serve it to our uncles heading out for a day on the pastures. My Tūtū brought this recipe out of the valleys of Pololū, down here to Kapālama Kula, where I can share it today.
Before I share the recipe, I feel it important to note that my Tūtū usually does everything food-related using the ‘eyeball measurement’ — seeing, tasting, and feeling the food like only a savvy veteran can do. She did however use the measurements listed here to make an amazing batch that you can make at home. My Tūtū made it clear that she only uses a good ‘old-school’ cast iron frying pan to cook them in, and that mastering it will take a little practice. Some of the tricky parts are learning how to manage the heat and oil and pouring the mix nice and flat in to the pan. I can assure you it is well worth it!
This recipe makes about 5 palaoa linalina.
2 kīʻaha (2 cups) all-purpose flour
⅓ kīʻaha (⅓ cups) brown sugar
½ puna kī (½ teaspoon) salt
2 ½ kīʻaha (2 ½ cups) water
4 puna pākaukau (4 tablespoons) butter
Coconut oil or any cooking oil
Cast iron frying pan
Heat the cast iron pan and coconut oil on high heat while preparing palaoa linalina mixture.
Pour flour and water into a bowl, and then add the brown sugar by hand, being sure to break up the lumps.
Blend the mixture by hand to smooth out all the lumps.
Add salt and mix to a smooth and runny texture, then blend until it turns a beige color.
Making sure the frying pan is hot, pour oil into the pan and wait until it gets a little smoky.
Pour mixture into the hot pan making a flat, thin layer.
Let mixture cook on high heat. When the bottom of the palaoa linalina appears cooked and the top is no longer runny, flip and continue to cook.
Once both sides are cooked to a little bit of a crisp and a touch pāpaʻa (burnt), take it off the fire and place onto a plate, spread butter onto the hot side of the palaoa linalina and line the middle with some of the guava jelly.
Once it cools, you can roll it up and enjoy!