„Taro is one of the most nutritious starches on the planet.” – Cousin Benny’s quote, the Polynesian Cultural Center Ambassador of Aloha.
Poi, the traditional Hawaiian staple, is a starch dish made by pounding boiled taro roots and mixing with water until it has a smooth consistency.
Note – taro is originally from Asia, however, it is now most commonly found in the Pacific islands.
Some Hawaiians eat their poi with sugar, some with salt, even soy sauce. Some like it thinner or thicker.
No matter how you eat it, is one of the most nutrition-packed starch dishes in the world.
The plant taro is so central to the foundation of Hawaiian tradition that the Hawaiian word for family, „ohana”, comes from the shoots that sprout up around the taro plant.
Health benefits of poi
It is the result of boiled or mashed steamed taro root. The plant, or kalo as it was known to early Hawaiians, is a tropical plant with large green leaves. Its root is starchy and high in dietary fiber and is most frequent compared to a yam or sweet potato with pleasantly purple insides.
The taro corm is very high in carbohydrates and potassium, yet very low in sodium (salt) and calories.
In addition, it is a healthy source of calcium, vitamin B, C and E, magnesium, copper, and phosphorus, making it a nutritional food for babies and even adults with digestion problems. It’s also fat-free and a good source of good carbs.
Medicinally, taro is a healing food. For example, it can be used to settle the stomach due to its beneficial compounds and probiotic activity.
If combined with the rich Hawaiian noni fruit, it can be used topically as a poultice for boils and other skin injuries and infections.
Fresh poi, 1 bag
Place taro in a large bowl. Mix by hand, adding a small amount of water at a time. Continue mixing and adding water until of desired consistency.
To store in refrigerator add a thin layer of water over the poi to prevent it from drying out. If poi is hard, remove it from the bag and place in a baking pan, covering it with clear wrap. Steam for twenty minutes.
Remove and add cold water and mix until reached the desired consistency. You can serve it cold or at room temperature.
With each passing day, it loses some of its sweetness and turns slightly sour, due to a natural fermentation process.
When consumed raw, the plant is toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate, which is destroyed by lengthy cooking or can be removed by steeping taro roots in cold water overnight.