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Instant Pot Squid Lū’au

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Squid lū’au is a traditional Hawaiian dish made with vibrant green taro leaves, octopus, coconut milk and often served at family gatherings. This is one recipe that you have to try.

squid lū’au

Savory with a touch of sweet. Vibrant green lū’au leaves and tender tako simmered in coconut milk come together to make this delicious traditional Hawaiian dish.

Squid lū’au can be found at many family gatherings here in Hawai’i. From baby first birthdays to weddings. From graduation parties to good old plate lunch dishes.

Whether you like squid lū’au or lū’au stew, this is definitely one dish to add to your Hawaiian recipe collection.

First let’s talk ingredients

  • Water
  • Baking soda
  • Lū’au leaves
  • Octopus
  • Butter
  • Unsweetened coconut milk
  • Granulated sugar
  • Hawaiian salt
squid lū’au

Substitutes

  • Baking soda is used to keep the lū’au leaves green. It makes the water alkaline and helps keep chlorophyll in, which gives leaves it’s green color. It softens the leaves and breaks down the calcium oxalate quicker. Although some nutrients are lost if baking soda is added. You can opt to leave this out if you wish.
  • Lū’au leaves can be replaced with spinach or collard greens. The taste will be different, but it will work.
  • Traditional squid lū’au uses octopus (despite what the name says), however you can use squid if you wish.
  • Butter is an extra added ingredient to help give a more rich depth of flavor. Not a butter fan, you can opt to leave that out.
  • Swap out unsweetened coconut milk for sweetened coconut milk, however leave out the extra added sugar if you do.
  • Hawaiian salt can be replaced with table salt.

While traditional Hawaiian squid lū’au is delicious, it takes a few hours to make. But don’t you worry, call in the trusty Instant Pot. The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker that can help cut your cooking time down in so many recipes. 

squid lū’au

What are lū’au leaves?

Lū’au leaves are the leaves of the kalo or taro plant. These leaves should not be eaten raw as it contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause a very uncomfortable itch to your mouth, throat, and skin. If you have sensitive skin use gloves while working with these.

Where can I find lū’au leaves?

If you live in Hawai’i you can find lū’au leaves at most local grocery stores. Also check your local farmers market or kalo farmers to purchase your leaves as well.

Where can I find octopus?

Local grocery stores in Hawai’i often carry frozen, pre-cooked and sliced octopus in the freezer section. You can also use fresh octopus in this recipe if you are able to get your hands on some.

squid lū’au

What to serve with squid lū’au?

Squid lū’au can be eaten alone or with rice. Serve it alongside kālua pig, chicken long rice, lomi salmon, poi, haupia, and kūlolo for the ultimate Hawaiian plate.

How to store squid lū’au?

Once cooled, place squid lū’au in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will keep for 3-4 days.

How to reheat squid lū’au?

A quick way to reheat would be using the microwave for a minute or two. You can also reheat on the stove until heated through.

How to make Instant Pot squid lū’au?

  1. Set Instant Pot to saute mode. Add water and baking soda. Mix to combine.
  2. While the water is heating up begin cutting the luau leaves. Trim off stems. Peel the outer layer of the stems. Discard the peelings. Cut steams in about 3 inch pieces. Stack the leaves on one another and roll them up. Cut width wise into strips. 
  3. Add leaves to the Instant Pot. Close the lid and set to sealing. Cook on manual high pressure for 25 minutes. Natural pressure release
  4. Add the octopus to the pot. Put the lid on and set to sealing. Cook on manual high pressure for 5 minutes. Quick release. 
  5. Set to saute. Add coconut milk, sugar, and Hawaiian salt. Stir to combine. Simmer until thickened and ENJOY!
squid lū’au

Instant Pot Squid Luau

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Squid lū’au is a traditional Hawaiian dish made with vibrant green taro leaves, octopus, coconut milk and often served at family gatherings. This is one recipe that you have to try.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pound luau leaves
  • 1 pound octopus, boiled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Hawaiian salt

Instructions

  1. Set Instant Pot to saute mode. Add water and baking soda. Mix to combine.
  2. While the water is heating up begin cutting the luau leaves. Trim off stems. Peel the outer layer of the stems. Discard the peelings. Cut steams in about 3 inch pieces. Stack the leaves on one another and roll them up. Cut width wise into strips. 
  3. Add leaves to the Instant Pot. Close the lid and set to sealing. Cook on manual high pressure for 25 minutes. Natural pressure release
  4. Add the octopus to the pot. Put the lid on and set to sealing. Cook on manual high pressure for 5 minutes. Quick release. 
  5. Set to saute. Add coconut milk, sugar, and Hawaiian salt. Stir to combine. Simmer until thickened and ENJOY!

Notes

*If you are sensitive to taro leaves you can cook the leaves down for another 5-10 minutes.

*If using fresh tako that has not been pre-boiled, cook for 8-10 minutes in the Instant Pot.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 165Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 450mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 18g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

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By on April 12th, 2021

About Relle

Aloha, my name is Relle and welcome to my little home on the internet where I like to share all my favorite Hawaiian recipes (and local ones too).

I am a wife, mom of two, and nurse practitioner here in the beautiful state of Hawai’i. I was born and raised in Hawai’i and I am of native Hawaiian descent. In my spare time I love to cook and bake and I have compiled many of my favorite recipes here for you to enjoy.

More posts by this author.

10 thoughts on “Instant Pot Squid Lū’au”

  1. If you are using collard greens, should you shorten the time to cook them or stick with the 25 minutes? I am on the mainland and no access to Kalo leaves except for dried ones and I didn’t think that would be the same.

    Reply
    • Aloha Anne. I have not made this with collard greens myself. I’d assume it would take less time to cook down than the lu’au leaves, however you don’t want to shorten the time too far and the beef doesn’t cook down. If you try it let me know.

      Reply
      • Just finished making it and here’s how it went:

        Substitutions-
        I used collard greens instead of Taro. I didn’t have a lot, so I cut the recipe in half and added extra stems I had left over from another dish that I made with the same collard green bundle. I did not peel the stems because they were pretty soft and a lot smaller than the Taro leaf stems.

        Used coconut palm sugar instead of white sugar.

        I didn’t use the baking soda and I couldn’t find in the recipe where to add the butter, so I left that out also.

        Procedure-
        I cooked the collard greens first for only 15 minutes instead of 25 and they came out pretty well; then I added the octopus which I had pre-boiled. I was having some trouble with the instant pot sealing, so that was causing some problems, but I think I managed to make it work.

        Results-
        Taste wise it came out great. The collard greens were OK except they were way too many stems and nowhere near enough leaves, so when I make it for my party I’m gonna work on my ratios. I may leave out the stems all together. I wish I could magically find some Taro leaves out here because that would really make a huge difference but for what I have it came out pretty good.

        Mahalo nūnui for your kokua!

        Reply

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