Oh, Boy, it’s Poi!
What is Poi?
Poi is a staple in Hawaiian cuisine. It’s made with water and taro root, or kalo, in Hawaiian. Pounding the kalo and adding water creates a pudding-like consistency. That’s the traditional way of making poi.
A modern method is boiling kalo in a pot, mashing, and mixing it with water to create the same traditional poi version.
Some people like to ferment their poi for a few days, producing a sour taste. However, poi is full of probiotics, so even when it’s tart, it’s safe to consume.
Best Poi Ever!
Throughout my lifetime, I’ve tried several brands of poi. But nothing compares to the fresh poi at Hoʻokuaʻāina. Several years ago, my company introduced me to this lovely organization. They provided educational presentations about the significant connection between kalo and the Hawaiian culture. They also offered a virtual tour during the pandemic.
I’ve never made my own poi. However, making it would be an extraordinary experience, even if it’s not the traditional way. Ho’okua’āina sells raw kalo in addition to prepared poi. One day, I will purchase the kalo, boil and mash it, and mix it with water to create this fulfilling side dish.
Taro Dishes from Around the World
Taro is a sacred food in Hawaiʻi, referred to as a “Gift of Ancient Gods.” Due to its emblematic importance, taro is consumed daily and included in several special occasions and rituals.
Taro is formulated according to the cultural traditions of each local community. For example, taro stems, petiole, corms, and leaves can be consumed as a common practice in Hawaiʻi. However, taro corms are usually considered the edible part of this plant and taste best when cooked.
Achu, an ancient taro paste, is usually prepared by African women. First, taro and bananas are peeled, boiled, and pounded to form a smooth starchy paste. Then, the paste is mixed with different soups and sauces.
In Brazil, taro can be fried or steamed, prepared as a soup, or mashed.
The corms are made into flour, chips, fermented alcoholic beverages, ice bars, ice cream, and canned taro. However, these taro derivatives are unavailable globally, as taro crops are centered in China, Taiwan, and Hawai’i.
Taro flour can be used as an ingredient for many other preparations, like bread, cakes, cookies, noodles, and cereals, and as a partial substitute for traditional whey flour.
Father’s Day Wishes
Wishing you dads, grandpas, uncles, and father figures a Happy Father’s Day!
Pereira, P.R., Mattos, E.B.D.A., Corrêa, A.C.N.T.F., Vericimo, M.A., & Paschoalin, V.M.F. (2020). Anticancer and immunomodulatory benefits of taro (colocasia esculents) corms, an underexploited tuber crop. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7795958/