The Tongan region has been inhabited since the 5th century BC. Their cuisine has developed over 3000 years and includes many dishes. Lū Sipi is one of them; a Polynesian favorite of lamb and onion wrapped in taro leaves and backed with coconut milk.
Lū is lea faka-Tonga for the edible leaves of the talo/taro plant, as well as the traditional dish made using them. This meal is still prepared for special occasions and especially on Sāpate (Sunday). The dish consists of chopped meat and onions with coconut milk wrapped in a number of lū talo/taro leaves. This is then wrapped traditionally in a lū siaine/banana leaf (nowadays, aluminum foil is often used) and put in the ʻumu to cook. It has a number of naming varieties, dependent on the filling:
- Lū pulu – lū with beef, commonly using imported kapapulu (corned beef)
- Lū sipi – lū with lamb
- Lū moa – lū with chicken
- Lū hoosi – lū with horse meat
LU SIPI RECIPE:
- 1-2 large taro leaves per Lu
- 6-12 bite size pieces of lamb meat per Lu
- Coconut milk
- Aluminum foil
- Cut meat into bite size pieces. Measure other ingredients accordingly.
- Cut out a piece of foil for each Lū Sipi. Lay several lū leaves on the tin foil, overlapping the leaves on top of one another.
- Spread out several pieces of sipi (lamb) on top of lū leaves. Put onion pieces into Lū Sipi.
- Pour on coconut milk as desired.
- Gather lū leaves around, and close foil.
- Bake on cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 1 hr. or until finished.