A poi recipe is mandatory for any luau or family celebration. Just what is poi? It is taro root, boiled and pounded to make a paste. While this may not sound appetizing, and it is generally an acquired taste, you can quickly learn to like it.
You can find it in different consistencies which are measured in "fingers". Yes, as in how many fingers does it require to scoop it and eat it. The thicker the poi, the less fingers required. It has a beautiful purple color. Fun!
It can be an acquired taste, but it is often seen, not only with the luau, but with any respectable box lunch or plate lunch that you see on the islands.
You have two options for making it. Prepared from scratch or with a powder purchased from the store. Here is a scratch recipe with two different options for preparation. The second one may be easier to do for your first try.
Traditional Poi Recipe Ingredients:
2.5 lbs taro root 2.5 cups water
Cook unpeeled taro root for approximately 40 minutes, or until tender. Drain and let cool until able to handle. Peel the cooked taro root and cut into a rough chop.
Meat grinder and Poi Pounder
Grind it in a meat grinder and place into a calabash (wooden bowl). Use a poi pounder to mash the taro root.
Wet your hand and flip the taro root so it doesn't stick to the bowl. Continue to pound and turn poi until it is smooth and thick.
Mix it with enough water to get the consistency that you enjoy. Thick or thin, it is a personal preference. Keep refrigerated and add more water, if needed, and mix by hand before serving.
Some prefer to sour their poi. This can be accomplished by letting it stand for 2-3 days.
Cook unpeeled taro root for approximately 40 minutes, or until tender, in 2 qts of water. Drain and let cool until able to handle. Peel the cooked taro root and cut into a rough chop. Place taro and 1 cup water into blender and process until smooth. Continue to add rest of 1/4 cup water until you have your desired consistency.
You can speed up the process by using a poi powder and following the mixing instructions.
This is very good served as fish and poi or with any traditional Hawaiian meal.
photo credit #1 Eponabri photo credit #2 Matthew Aromatorio