Poi Palaoa

Author: 
Farden Family Collection, Courtesy of Hailama Farden

 

 
 

Poi palaoa -- flour poi -- was made by stirring boiling water into flour. An 1879 Hawaiian language newspaper article credits the invention of poi palaoa to a kanaka Hawai‘i living in California, but it is likely that the recipe was developed independently, many times over, by Hawaiians who were unable to get hold of the real thing. Some ate their poi palaoa "straight," others stretched their limited supply of poi kalo by mixing the two together -- as in the following recipe.

We found this handwritten recipe on a blank page of the 1944 cook book Maui Cookery, by Frances Wadsworth.  The book belongs to the Farden Family, and is now in the possession of Hailama Farden who believes that the writing is that of one of his kūpuna wahine kuakahi.  We have reformatted the original slightly for clarity.

Poi Palaoa

1 bag poi ($1.00)
3 cup flour
2 cup corn starch

4 cup boil water
Mix flour and corn starch
Add a little [boiling water] at a time to flour mixture and stir
Mix your poi (not too soft)
When the flour mixture is cool, add poi little at a time, stir
Let stand 1 or 2 days

Ka Poi Palaoa.
From Nupepa Kuokoa, March 15 1879

E KA NUPEPA KUOKOA; Aloha oe:

Eia ma ka panalaau o na mai lepera ma Kalawao me Kalaupapa, ua hana ia ka palaoa i poi, ua like me ka poi ulu ke ano, ka lelo, a o ka ai ana he ono maoli no, ua ano like loa no me ka poi kalo, aole hokuku o ka opu, a he maona maoli no, no ka nele i ka poi ole, aole e hiki mai ka ai o na pali Koolau nei no ka ino loa o keia mau mahina.

Ua hoomaka ia keia poi nuhou ma Iliopii, e kekahi kanaka Hawaii i noho ma Kaleponi i maa i ka hana poi palaoa malaila, a pela oia i hoolaha ai i keia poi nuhou maanei, a ua ike ia ka pono oia ai i keia manawa, nolaila, ua pau ko makou pilikia poi no keia wa ino, a i na e hiki mai ka wa malie, alaila e loaa no i na mai na pai kalo.

He ai maikai loa ka poi palaoa no ka wa hana he ano mau ka maona, a he hoihoi ma ka hana ana ke maa iho i keia ai, a pela no ka raiki i huipuia me ka barena, a kawili pu iloko o ka ipuhao, i ka wa e paila ai a moa, he manawa paa ka houpo a he mau no hoi ka maona. . .

S. K. K. KANOHOKULA
Kalaupapa, Feb. 18 1879