I miss Poi from back home, and in all my 17 years in Hawaii, I actually never had fresh pounded poi. This isn’t exactly the same thing, but since you can’t even find the bag stuff here in California this is the best I got.
I was happy enough to be able to find the raw form, Taro Roots at my local Asian food store. So I bought some and did the basic thing. Cooked it and pounded it. Although I didn’t have the traditional poi pounding materials, I did manage to pound it into a nice consistency. For those of you who don’t know what poi is, here is the Wikipedia definition.
Poi- a Hawaiian word for the primary Polynesian staple food made from the corm of the taro plant (known in Hawaiian as kalo). Poi is produced by mashing the cooked corm (baked or steamed) until it is a highly viscous fluid. Water is added during mashing and again just before eating, to achieve a desired consistency, which can range from liquid to dough-like (poi can be known as two-finger or three-finger, alluding to how many fingers one would have to use to eat it, depending on its consistency).
Large Taro root, peeled and cut into chunks
Place the chopped up taro roots into a large steamer and steam until soft and cooked through. Depending on the size you chopped the taro root into it can take anywhere from 20-30 minutes to fully steam.
WARNING: DO NOT EAT RAW TARO, it may cause stomach pains and scratching throats and just lots of pain, so don’t do it. Causes major allergic reactions and may even cause death. Make sure it’s cooked through by piercing it with a fork.
Once steamed, let sit in cool before pounding.
To pound, you can either use a mortar & pedestal and pound it slowly. Or if you have a food processor, you can place in there to rush the process.
Add water while processing or pounding until desired consistency. Hand pounding will take longer. When you process it, you will eventually have to hand pound it as well to get it smoother and mixed well with water.
Serve on it’s own or add some sugar to sweeten flavor (especially for kids) and have some fresh made poi ready for your next luau!