Nothing tastes quite as 'ono as freshly pounded poi, made with your own two hands. According to “Resource Units in Hawaiian Culture” by Donald D. Kilolani Mitchell, in most of Polynesia taro is preferably eaten unpounded, the Hawaiian preference for poi is unique.

“To satisfy this taste they were required to make a number of containers to store the semiliquid poi while it was fermenting and acquiring the desired flavor.”

Ancient Hawaiians used sharp shells or rocks to peel the taro crom after steaming it in the imu for two to six hours.

The following recipe is very similar to the way our kūpuna made their “unique” food except there are allowances for modern convenience.

Ingredients: Taro corms and Water

Cooking Instructions:

Preparing the taro
Wash the taro corms well. Don't peel. Place in a pot and cover with water. Cover pot and place over high heat. When it gets to a boil turn down to medium heat. Continue to cook until you can poke a fork through the center of the corm very easily. Remove taro from pot. Put in cold water. Now you can peel it with your hands.

Making Poi
Break the cooked corms on a poi-pounding board or a shallow, heavy pan. Break the taro into very small pieces with a poi pounder or potato masher. Wet your free hand, slip it under the taro and turn it over so it won't stick to the board. When taro is in small pieces, wet the bottom of the masher. Continue to mash and turn the taro until its smooth and thick. Keep your hand and the pounder wet. Scoop up the thick poi and place it in a bowl, adding a little water at a time. Mix it into the poi with your hand and fingers. Keep adding water a little at a time and mixing it until its as thin or thick as you like.