Hawaii is home to a diverse and tasty array of cuisine, and if you’re new to the islands’ menu, you’ll discover many dishes, such as poi, you’ve never seen before. You’ll find this ubiquitous Hawaiian food served at luaus and on plate lunches alike. Find out more about what to expect from this purple starchy dish below.
What Is Poi?
Poi often serves the role that rice does in a meal. It’s made from taro root, or corm. Ancient Hawaiians considered the taro plant to be their ancestor, and poi was revered as a sacred dish.
Poi is a purple paste, its color derived from the taro root. Its flavor profile evolves quickly; fresh poi is plain and can be served alone. Each day after, the poi sours with natural fermentation, which is why many people mix it with milk or sugar to sweeten it or eat it alongside more savory Hawaiian foods.
How Is It Prepared?
To prepare poi, the corm is first boiled for three to five hours to remove the natural defenses of the root. If it’s not boiled long enough, it can cause throat and mouth irritation. Once softened, the corm is peeled and pounded into paste. When water is added, it can become dough-like, so it must be carefully added until the ideal texture is achieved. Poi is served cold or at room temperature and can be eaten with the fingers in the traditional Hawaiian way or with a spoon.
What Is It Paired With?
Poi’s bland flavor and soft texture make it the perfect complement to bolder Hawaiian foods. It balances the fishy flavors of lomi salmon and poke or the saltiness of kalua pig or squid luau. It’s also rich in fiber and nutrients like manganese, potassium, and phosphorus, which can help balance blood sugar, promote weight loss, and aid digestion.
If you want to try poi and other Hawaiian foods, head to Laverne’s. In addition to running a lunch wagon at Waikele Shopping Center, the family-owned and -operated business provides catering services. They use their 20 years of experience to craft delicious local dishes like garlic shrimp and pork adobo. Explore their menu on their website, Facebook, and Instagram, and call (808) 551-8214 to learn more about their catering services.