My first experience with poi was in Hawaii when I visited the island of Kawaii. It was one of those situations where you step back and take a look at your life and say, if I don’t do this now, I’ll never do it because something will always happen to prevent me from going. So, I chose Kawaii because it was about average size and seemed like it would be easy to drive around and find my way. Im so glad I did because I fell completely in love. I’ve never been so calm, so at peace than I was when I was on the island. There was every kind of terrain you could think of and the islanders were nicer than the tourists 🙄.
So, being that I’m a total planner, I had this whole trip planned out from beginning to end and booked everything in advance. I went on an amazing hike through the area where they shot Jurassic Park and found a hidden waterfall, we ate wild raspberries, and collected beads from plants along the trail. The tour guide and I spent a lot of the time chit-chatting and she was telling me about the poverty situation on the islands. She explained to me that poi is a staple in most homes because its cheap. Although I had seen the purple paste in pictures before, I had never tried it.
One day, I was at the mini mall near my hotel and got hungry. I stopped at a little outdoor kitchen and got a dish of a local favorite, poi topped with lomi lomi. I was completely intrigued and ready to try it. Though I am not a big fish eater, this fish was uncooked, similar to sushi. So, I dove right in. I melted. It was so simple, yet so amazing to me. When I attended the luau a few days later, I knew exactly what it was and how to eat it. I love it so much, I make it at home any time I have a luau themed party or just want something light. You can find taro roots in your local Asian market.
3 c taro root
1 ¹/² c water
First, you need to cut any dried ends off the taro root and peel them like potatoes. Steam them until they’re tender and you can easily slide a fork right through them. Transfer to a bowl and add water a little at a time. Mash with a whisk and add water, 1 tbs at a time, as needed until the poi develops a paste-like consistency. Serve with fresh lomi lomi.