Garlic Buttered Kona Abalone, Coconut Luau Leaf, Pipikaula

Featured in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on April 5, 2017.
Recipe compliments of Chef Chris Garnier, Instructor, Contemporary Cuisines, LCC.



Garlic Buttered Kona Abalone, Coconut Luau Leaf, Pipikaula

Luau Leaves:

  • 2 pounds luau leaves, cleaned and stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce plus more to taste
  • 2 quarts coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

Garlic Buttered Abalone:

  • 4 pieces locally grown abalone (12 count size, raw whole in shell)
  • 2 teaspoon blend of canola/olive oil
  • Garlic butter sauce (see recipe below)

Garlic Butter:

  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • Salt and ground white pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced flat leaf parsley

Pipikaula Garnish:

  • 1/2 pound pipikaula meat, julienne cut


Luau Leaves:

  1. Boil luau leaves in a large pot with water until the majority of the oxalic acid crystals are broken down.
  2. Add more water if necessary.
  3. Cook a minimal 45 minutes.
  4. While luau leaves are cooking, in a separate sauce pot, sauté garlic and ginger, and deglaze with fish sauce on medium high heat; reduce fish sauce by half (about 1-2 minutes).
  5. Add coconut milk and brown sugar; reduce liquid by half (about 7-9 minutes).
  6. Adjust with more fish sauce and brown sugar.
  7. Strain out cooked luau leaves and chop.
  8. Immediately fold luau leaves into coconut milk mixture.

Garlic Buttered Abalone:

  1. While luau leaves are cooking, clean abalone with a soft non-abrasive kitchen scrub under cold running water, leaving entire abalone intact.
  2. Scrub the “foot” (suction) area of the abalone to remove excess grit.
  3. This portion of the abalone will be removed after it is cooked.
  4. Pat dry each abalone; set aside.
  5. In a non-stick skillet, on medium high heat, add oil; place abalone in pan, shell up, and sauté for approximately 1 1/2 -2 minutes until “foot” of abalone is light golden brown.
  6. Remove from pan immediately.
  7. On a cutting board, place abalone on its shell, and with a small spoon, remove abalone by scooping it out of shell keeping the eye, snout and viscera intact.
  8. With a small pairing knife, cut and remove the eye, snout and remaining viscera so that only the “foot” meat is left.
  9. Cut abalone meat in half lengthwise.
  10. Set aside until ready to plate.

Note: Leave abalone in its entirety; do not cut out or discard viscera (the internal organs).

Garlic Buttered:

  1. In a small sauce pan, combine vinegar and minced shallot.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium to bring to a gentle simmer for a few minutes until liquid au sec (nearly dry) (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add cream and reduce until cream is nappé (coats the back of a wooden spoon) (about 5-7 minutes), immediately turn to low heat and leave for 2 minutes.
  4. Slowly incorporate butter, a teaspoon at a time, until all butter is buerred (incorporated) into cream reduction.
  5. Strain out minced shallots and season with salt and ground white pepper.
  6. Add minced raw garlic and minced parsley.
  7. Place sauce in a warm area on top of stove until ready to use.

Pipikaula Garnish:

  1. Place cooked luau leaf sauce on the bottom of a large plate.
  2. Toss abalone pieces in garlic butter.
  3. Place abalone pieces in the center of plate in luau leaf sauce.
  4. Garnish with pipikaula.

Makes 4 servings.

Tip: Most edible taro must be cooked to dissolve the oxalic acid (needle-like crystals) that cause extreme itching in your mouth and throat. When handling taro root and leaves, it’s a good idea to wear gloves to prevent itching for sensitive skin types.

Approximate Nutrient Analysis per serving (not including salt to taste):
780 calories, 61 g fat, 37 g saturated fat, 215 mg cholesterol, greater than 1600 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 41 g protein


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