Easy Slow Cooked Kalua Chicken Salad
Nothing reminds me of home more (well food-wise) then the smokey aromas of kalua pig, best when fresh from the imu, but who are we kidding – we can’t all be committed to having a huge pit in our backyard. And so much time and effort into making authentic kalua pig, which is why the smart lazy ones like us use the slow cooker instead! Do yourself a favour and try this easy Slow Cooked Kalua Chicken Salad recipe.
Have you ever tasted authentic Kalua pig cooked in an imu? If you ever get the chance then you must try it! Beautiful smoky, tender, succulent meat that has been slow cooked/steamed in an underground “oven” for half the day. The pig is wrapped in banana or ti leaves and picks up all the smokey flavours of the items it’s cooked with. Usually only made for a luau (large party) on a special occasion (first birthday, graduation, etc.). It takes hours of preparation and half a day to cook thoroughly so you can see why many choose a modern alternative to achieve those delicious flavours with minimal effort.
While I absolutely love kalua pig, this is a slight variation using chicken breast. I was worried that it may turn out too dry, but it actually turned out delicious and moist! You could try it with chicken thighs as well. Chicken breast is the cheaper option here in Australia and with a fairly high cost of living and a large family, staying on budget is always at the forefront of my mind. You don’t need to add any liquid to the slow cooker with your meat, just the chicken, salt and liquid smoke.
This easy slow cooked Kalua chicken salad recipe is very simple, but it does require a key ingredient that may or may not be hard to find…liquid smoke. I found it in Australia in a speciality store, so it is around, but may or may not be available in your area. I don’t know of any good substitute for this ingredient, unfortunately. It’s the special ingredient use to achieve that smokey flavour without actually smoking the meat.
Also, check out my post on American to Australian food substitutes here.