Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kūlolo Anyone?

Disclaimer: pictures are taken with my iPhone. I feel SO distraught about this because the pics do not truly convey the exhilaration one feels having successfully pulled off the feat of making kūlolo. An ʻono kūlolo. And this one is. I perused several recipes and settled upon, sort of, this one:

I say sort of because I didnʻt use ti leaves, and I used brown sugar for most of the sugar part and regular organic sugar for the rest.  So the recipe (which I doubled the first time I made it) is as follows:
2 cups grated raw taro
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 cup brown sugar (or a combination of brown sugar and white sugar or even some honey)

As for the steps:
1.  Peel and grate Hawaiian taro (I am saying Hawaiian taro because I am not quite sure how this would work with Chinese taro. I never do anything with Chinese taro, no offense to the Pākē since I am 1/8 Pākē myself.   
Not my favorite job to do but thank you to Kaipo for helping. She insists on using gloves so her hands don't get itchy. My gloveless hand didn't get itchy at all. But I remember times in the past when it did. I like to live life on the edge.
I use an electric grater so I need to then cut my peeled raw taro into smaller pieces.
I love my Champion Juicer. Besides grating by hand, I don't know what else you might use, perhaps the grating attachment on a food processor would work but it would be a bit larger than I would like although a "chunkier" kūlolo might be interesting.

2. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
I grated my raw taro right into my 4 cup measuring cup

Everything but the milk so far

This is the brand I used and I LOVED IT!

Nice and smooth with a cake batter like consistency but DO NOT TRY TO EAT IT!! Itchy city!!!

3. Line a suitable container with foil or parchment paper. The first time I made it I greased the parchment and foil with butter. I didn't do it the second time (with parchment) and it didn't seem to make a difference other than everything tastes better with butter!

4. Pour the "batter/mix" into the container until it is about 1 inch from the top. Cover tightly with foil. You don't want water dripping into your kūlolo.

5. Put the container(s) in the steamer. I used a pyrex/glass container (a casserole dish) for one and a metal container. I think a nice 8x8 pan would work too.

I used a two tier steamer the first time so I had two separate dishes going. I had doubled my recipe so it was just right for two containers. I figured for all the time it would take to steam the kūlolo I should at least double up. Plus the beautiful taro from my son's harvest was just begging to be put to good use.
I set the timer on my stove to just four hours so that I would remember to check the water. I knew I had enough water in there for at least 4 hours. I put a lot of water in that bottom portion, about 2/3 way full.

6. Steam for 5 hours. Or pressure cook it for 2 1/2 hours. Yup. I also tried pressure cooking.
Here it is, fresh out of the steamer
Great to add a "liner" to the container, whether it's parchment or foil. easy to lift out and easy to peel down.

7. Let cool and then cut and wrap in plastic wrap. And enjoy. I tend not to refrigerate it because I think it should either be eaten right away or within 2 days. Refrigerating it tends to make it hard. And cold. And I like neither traits in my kūlolo. 

It was a beautiful thing. Taste testers far and wide loved it. And there was no detection of itchiness, a problem I have had in the past with making this 'ono dessert.

Of course if you're going to make kūlolo, you might as well take some time to make poi. Here is a picture of all the poi I made simultaneously. Plenty to feed the mo'opuna!

Happy eating! And please post your successes and findings!


  1. Looks so ʻono! You're so amazing! Does the lekapī come from the book by Audrey Wilson? I can't wait to try!

  2. Aloha!

    I'm a new follower from Maui, on a journey to incorporate a more local & healthier lifestyle. I can't wait to try this, as my 'ohana are kulolo fanatics!

    BTW, pake taro is good for taro chips! I use a meat slicer to achieve the thinness, haven't tried baking it, but usually just fry. And what did you use to make your poi at home?

    Mahalo for sharing your recipes! Hoping to try the quinoa salad too :)


  3. To make my poi I use anything BUT pake taro AND my trusty Champion Juicer! I peel my taro first before boiling. I think it makes the whole thing much cleaner.



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