This is probably the oldest continuously consumed preparation of taro in the world today. Ancient Hawaiians were said to have eaten somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 to 15 pounds of poi A DAY! So, it is no wonder that is was, and still is, eaten both fresh and fermented. Although no real modern Lu'au would be complete, or polite, without the fermented stuff!
2 1/2 lbs. taro root
2 1/2 cups approx. water (or milk)
Boil the taro until it is soft and mealy. Peel and cut into small pieces. Place the corms in a wooden bowl and pound with a wooden bean or potato masher until smooth--you are looking for a heavy paste here, add water (or milk if using) as you pound to get the paste just right. When done pounding, add more water (or milk) to thin out and strain out the fibers. Knead into a thick paste, add more liquid as needed. Serve immediately, for fresh poi, or cover and allow to ferment for 2 to 3 days.
Poi is traditionally made in thicknesses counted by fingers. 1 finger poi is the thickest, and usually the freshest, while 5 finger poi is the thinnest, more often fermented and the most beloved by Hawaiian natives. If you want to refrigerate poi at any time after making it, be sure to add a little water to it and cover.
|Native Hawaiian men making poi, early 20th century?|