Maui Food and Dining

Extra Moist Poi Muffins

November 23, 2010, 9:21 AM HST
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Poi is a sacred part of daily Hawaiian culture and the following recipe uses it to make extra moist muffins.  But first a little trivia:

1)      What plant is poi made from?

2)      Is taro cultivated in the dry uplands or in the marshy wetlands?

3)      Name all the regions of the world where poi is made.

4)      Why is a bowl of poi a sacred addition to the dinner table?


Answers appear at the bottom of this post.


Directions to Make Traditional Poi

Cook the starchy, potato-like taro root for three hours in an imu, or above-ground oven.  Then pound the root with heavy stone poi pounders into a smooth, sticky paste.  Place paste into a large bowl and slowly add water, mixing and kneading, until you achieve a pudding-like consistency. Hawaiians prefer their poi sour, and ferment the mixture for up to a week to achieve the desired taste.


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes


  • 2 cups sour poi
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup milk (optional)


Sift together dry ingredients.  Then fold eggs and melted butter into poi, and then gradually add the dry mixture.  Stir but do not beat ingredients together until completely blended.  Test the consistency of the batter- if soft, omit milk, if dry, include milk.  Spoon batter into lined muffin pan and bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until tops spring back when pressed.

Answers to quiz:

1)      Taro root.

2)       Both.

3)      Taro root is grown all over the world, but Hawaii is the only region that makes poi.

4)      A bowl of poi is thought to contain the spirit of Haloa, the ancestor of the Hawaiian people, and when it is present, all conflicts between family members must cease.

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