Forever Poi, Forever Hopeful

It’s Linda on post patrol today.  The Boss is still under the weather, but then the weather in her neck of the woods is under-whelming.  <LSMH>  (Winter’s on its way and she’s not overly excited about it.)

Given I’m a food and wine blogger when I’m not a P.I., I thought I’d post about poi—firstly, by explaining the significance of “Forever Poi”, the fourth Triple Threat Investigation Agency case and, secondly, providing a little background about poi (with recipes).

The Boss explained it quite nicely, succinctly, in her new Smashwords interview: “In terms of me: it’s an homage to Hawaii.  Poi is a Hawaiian staple, a delicious food made from taro.  Hawaii [a hope, a dream] is in my heart and soul and always will be; hence, forever poi.”

In terms of the case, there’s mention of “Forever Poi” as associated with a comment from an intriguing [if not dangerous] individual who shall remain nameless.  (Alternatively said: please read our new adventure.)

The three of us enjoy poi different ways.  I love poi as “cereal”, sprinkled with raw sugar and cinnamon.  Rey prefers taro in the form of chips.  And JJ likes it in the form of soft-serve ice-cream or mooncakes.

For those not in the know about poi, it’s an essential Hawaiian staple, made from the underground plant stem of a root vegetable known as taro.  There’s a lot of fascinating information re its origins and where and how it’s used, but I’ll leave that for another time.  Feel free, however, to go Googling.

A quick note, though: traditional poi is made by mashing the cooked corm (plant stem) of the taro.  The time-honored method is performed on a wooden board with a pestle (pounding implement) while the modern method involves a food processor (I’ll opt for traditional anytime, thank you).  You can enjoy it fresh or allow it to ferment.

There’s an intriguing way of measuring consistency: “one finger”, “two finger”, and “three finger” poi relates to how many fingers are necessary to scoop a mouthful of the delicious mashed product.  The thicker the poi, the fewer the fingers.  Thickness or runniness is a purely personal preference.

Now that I’ve condensed a plethora of info into a pint-sized post, let me share some easy-peasy recipes: Simple Poi (a fav of mine), Simple Poi Mochi (a fav of JJ’s), and Simple Poi-Nut Bread (a fav of Rey’s).  . . . Can you tell the three of us really like “simple”?  <LOL>

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Simple Poi

♥ 4 lbs taro root 2 ½ tbsp coconut oil   ♥ 2 ½ tbsp butter   ♥ 2 tsp sea salt or pink Himalayan salt   ♥ 6-8 tbsp celery or asparagus juice   ♥ water

⇒ Preheat the oven to 300°F.     ⇒ Wash the taro root and pierce consistently all over.     ⇒ Bake for about 2 hours (until soft all the way through).     ⇒ Cut open the taro root and spoon out the taro into a large bowl. Throw away the skin.     ⇒ Add the salt and juice.     ⇒ Mix well.     ⇒ Cover with a cloth and leave to ferment for a minimum of 24 hours.     ⇒ Once fermented, melt the butter in a saucepan.     ⇒ If you’re going traditional and mashing the taro with a wooden board and pestle, do so, and then add to a bowl.  If you’re going modern, add the taro to a food processor and “mash”.     ⇒ Add the oil and butter.     ⇒ Add the water and blend to the desired consistency.

(You can add various “flavors” or serve it as is.  As mentioned, I like sugar and cinnamon, but anything’s doable.  Feel free to experiment.)

Simple Poi Mochi

♥   1 lb poi, ready-made/bought or homemade (see “Simple Poi” recipe above)   ♥ 2 cups water, give or take   ♥ 2 10-ounce packages Asian sweet rice flour   ♥ 1 ½ cups sugar   ♥ 1 quart canola oil for deep frying

⇒ Combine everything except the oil.     ⇒ Add water slowly (you want a thick batter).      ⇒ Drop by the teaspoon into the heated oil and deep fry until slightly crisp.     ⇒ Drain.     ⇒ Makes about three dozen pieces.     ⇒ Feel free to dust with sugar or a sugar-spice combination.

(You can add various “flavors” to the mixture before frying.  JJ likes red-bean paste.)

Simple Poi Nut Bread

♥ 1 lb poi, ready-made/bought or homemade (see “Simple Poi” recipe above)   ♥ ¾ cup water   ♥ 2 cups flour   ♥ ¾ cups brown sugar   ♥ 1 tsp cinnamon   ♥ 1 tsp nutmeg   ♥ 2 tsp baking powder   ♥ 1 tsp sea salt   ♥ 3 eggs, beaten   ♥ 1 cup oil   ♥ 2 tsp vanilla   ♥ 1 ½ cups macadamia nuts (or substitute your favorite nut, or a combination thereof)   ♥ ½ cup currants (or dried fruit of preference)

⇒ Mix the poi and water together.  Let stand in a bowl.     ⇒ In a second bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt.     ⇒ Combine both mixtures.     ⇒ Add the remaining ingredients.     ⇒ Add to an oiled/buttered pan and bake at 350°F for about 45 minutes.

Hope you enjoyed the post about poi.  It’s a bit of a departure from the usual, but what’s wrong with digressing now and again?

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