If you’ve traveled across Hawaii or simply love exploring the cuisines of different cultures, you may have come across this traditional Hawaiian staple called Poi.
It is a delicious pudding made from the roots of taro.
But since there are other similar desserts and food by the name poi, you may get confused as to what the Hawaiian poi exactly is, how to make it, or what does poi taste like.
Thus, if you want to learn everything about the traditional Hawaiian poi and get your hands on some delicious poi recipes, you might want to read on.
Before anything else,
What is Poi?
Poi is a staple food in the Hawaiian cuisine. It is made from the corm of taro (Colocasia Esculenta), meaning the root of the taro plant.
Taro is not unknown to the rest of the world. Many cultures cook and consume it.
However, only the Hawaiian culture is known for making Poi from this ingredient. Hawaiians like to call their taro as Kalo.
Remember, not to mistake the traditional Hawaiian Poi with Samoan Poi, a dessert made of coconut cream and mashed bananas.
Some people also get confused between Hawaiian Poi and Tahitian Po’e. However, the latter is just a sweet pudding made of different fruits.
The Hawaiian Poi is kind of purple in color, and you can make it in the comfort of your own home or buy it in stores.
What Does Poi Taste Like? Does Poi Taste Good?
The flavor of poi can vary from traditional homemade poi to the ones you find in stores. Generally, homemade poi has a fresh and sweet flavor.
But the flavor also depends on the type and quality of taro you use. Since poi is made of taro, you first need to identify the taro flavor to know what your poi might taste like.
Taro is a purple-colored root crop. Sometimes, it may even have lavender or white color with specks of purple.
Thus, the color of poi may also change depending upon the taro shade.
Taro has a starchy taste and texture. So, you can expect your poi to have a hint of starchy flavor.
Many people compare the flavor of taro to sweet potatoes and white potatoes as well. But taro seems to have the upper hand as it contains more fiber than other similar food crops.
In a nutshell, taro tastes somewhat starchy and slightly sweet. At times, it may even have an earthy taste with hints of nutty flavor.
And since traditional poi is simply mashed taro roots, you can expect the same flavor from poi.
As compared to the sweetness of fresh poi, fermented poi tastes quite different. If you allow your poi to pass the fermentation stage, it may give out a sour flavor.
How to Make Poi?
Poi is a traditional Hawaiian food. However, many people in the West have started noticing this ancient bowl of dessert and have actually loved it!
Since Poi is native to Hawaii, it may not be as easy to find a great packet of the classic Hawaiian Poi mixture in places out of Hawaii.
But if you had tasted this delicious dessert when you last visited Hawaii, or want to try it out for the first time, you’ll be happy to know that making the Hawaiian Poi isn’t very hard.
Today, you can find several processed poi packets from different manufacturers. However, these readily available store poi goodies may not be as good as traditional poi.
Traditional poi is simply mashed corm (taro root). You first need to either steam or bake the taro root.
There are different types of Poi based on its consistency and texture. Mashed corm, which contains no water, is known as pa‘i ‘ai. It has a dough-like texture and is starchy.
To turn pa‘i ‘ai into poi, you’ll have to add water while mashing the corm. The amount of water can vary as it usually depends on the type of consistency you prefer for the poi. The consistency of poi can vary from solid to watery.
Depending on its consistency, poi has three different classifications – “one finger,” “two finger,” and “three finger.” The number of fingers refers to how many fingers are needed to scoop out a mouthful of poi.
Once your poi is ready, you can eat it immediately when it’s fresh and sweet. Or, you can let the mixture sit out for some time in order to ferment it and enjoy it like some kind of yogurt.
While fermenting your poi, make sure to add some water on top to avoid crust formation.
We hope you now have a better idea about what poi tastes like and how you can make it. Poi is not only delicious but also healthy.
Its single ingredient, taro, is known for its many nutritional benefits. Taro is high in fiber and also contains potassium, magnesium, vitamins, and other nutrients.
Thus, the consumption of poi can help maintain low levels of blood sugar, weight loss, gut health, and heart diseases. Poi is also gluten free and easily digestible.
You can buy poi in most grocery stores and may even find it online. Or, you can make it easily at home and enjoy a delicious bowl of sweetness, which is also packed with nutrients!