The Hawaiian ti plant (pronounced: "TEE") has long been an important part of the Hawaiian culture. Considered sacred, the green one is still utilized in religious ceremonies. Many islanders of different races hold to their belief that the plant wards off evil spirits. It is not uncommon to see homes, businesses and churches still surrounded by this plant.
Using ti leaf
The Ti leaves are still used today in preparing authentic Hawaiian food. The Ti is a member of the Lily family and it is a simple plant with very few branches. Mature leaves may grow to 6" wide and up to 29" long. Its long elliptical shaped leaf with its flexible, fibrous construction makes it a perfect wrapping for many authentic Hawaiian dishes such as Lau Lau's or kalua pork.
Prepare the ti leaves by cutting the stiff center rib and stripping it off to make the leaf pliable.
Individual servings of pork or fish are mixed with taro tops and wrapped in ti leaves for the imu. This is called laulau. Fish wrapped in ti leaves and broiled on coals is called lawalu. The Hawaiians also wrapped pudding in ti leaves before cooking it.
The leaves are removed before the food is eaten. Dried ti leaves, which can be found in some ethnic markets, must be soaked to soften before they can be used.
They used it also for carrying and storing bundles called puolo. A lei could be wrapped and carried in puolo to keep the flowers fresh.
Corn husks, foil, banana leaves
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