Kālua

vt. To bake in the ground oven; to burn brick or lime; baked. (kā-, causative + lua, pit).

We are all familiar with kā¬ua pig, or puaʻa kālua. What an ingenious way of cooking. It is the Polynesian way, as kālua is not just done here in Hawaiʻi. I have seen it done much the same way in other Polynesian islands. Samoans have what is called an “umu” which is similar to an imi although it is done in a shallow pit and then piled high, above ground level, whereas the imi, when filled and covered is ground level.

The kā in kālua is actually a causative, similar to hoʻo- (for those who have taken a Hawaiian language class). The -lua, is for pit, because in order to kā¬ua you need to bake in an imi which is a pit oven of sorts. Thus the name, kālua.

And you know anything can be cooked kālua style, including pig, dog (yes, dog, but maybe that is a word for another day), chicken, as well as kalo (taro, ʻuala (sweet potato, ʻulu (breadfruit). In traditional times, there was an imi for women’s food and an imi for men’s food. There were strict eating restrictions and certain foods that the women co uld not eat, such as puaʻa, bananas and certain fish. On a positive note, for the women, it was the men who prepared all the food, AND they had to prepare them separately. I would surely give up pork and bananas for the luxury of not having to prepare meals!

Ua kālua ʻia ka iʻa – the fish was cooked in an imu.

ʻOno loa ka puaʻa kālua – Kālua pig is very delicious.

Copyright:  2015 – Liana Iaea Honda. All rights reserved. All versions of He Momi e Lei ai”, in its entirety, past and present, is the property of L. K. I. Honda. Reproduction and use of any kind other than the sharing of this website is prohibited. Alteration to the original content in any form is prohibited in every and any instance, and use in any other variant is prohibited without written consent of the author. Adress inquiries to: hemomi [at] gmail.com. Definitions and wise sayings are from: Hawaiian Dictionary by Pukui and Elbert, 1986. ʻŌlelo Noʻeau – Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings by Mary Kawena Pukui, 1983.

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