Friday, June 1, 2007
My wife wanted me to make "a lot" of the faux lau lau (lau lau being a Hawaiian dish where you place meat and taro leaves in a ti leaf (or maybe a banana leaf, I forget...) and steam it, faux lau lau being taro leaves and meat layered in a pressure cooker or crock pot and cooked until it's no longer itchy).
Here's a close up of taro leaves. The entire plant is edible. Mostly when I make faux lau lau I use the leaf and the petiole (stem attached to leaf), because I like both, but if I'm going to share the stuff I usually just use the leaf. The entire plant is edible, but you have to cook it quite a bit to get rid of the "itch." Taro contains high amounts of oxalic acid, a type of crystal that will make your mouth and throat itch if you eat it when it's not cooked enough. Handling the plant in a way so that the inside of the plant touches your skin can make your skin itch as well.
And here is a picture of the plant after I've taken it out of the ground. I still need to pare off some corm and roots before they're actual "huli," and then I'll plant them in a different bed and start all over again. Notice that only one has an actual corm (large chunky root)? Well, recently I learned that you have to plant the huli's at least 6 inches deep so that the corm can grow. I planted all mine only a couple of inches deep. Live and learn.