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Poi: A Traditional Hawaiian Recipe for Fermented Taro Root

Poi: A Traditional Hawaiian Recipe for Fermented Taro Root

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When I started researching traditional first baby foods, I came across poi. This is a traditional food in Hawaii, which is fermented taro root.

Poi as a First Food

Poi is an easily digestible first baby food, due to fermentation. However, the poi recipe I am sharing is not just for babies; it is for everyone to enjoy. I have been eating it on my homemade crackers and it is delicious. Don’t neglect to add plenty of healthy fat to this recipe. It is very satiating this way.

Traditionally, poi is made by baking the taro root underground. It is peeled and the taro is pounded on a wooden board, which makes it stretchy. Pounding it also helps to sour it, aiding in fermentation.

My baby loves this recipe and kicks her feet together in excitement whenever I serve it to her! She especially loves it mixed with meat puree. It is so fun to see how much she enjoys eating new food.

First Foods for Baby

What are some other great first foods? According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, giving your baby a soft boiled pasture raised egg yolk with a pinch of sea salt is a wonderful first food. It is also good to grate some frozen raw grass fed beef liver (frozen for at least 14 days) on top of the soft boiled egg yolk. I tried giving my baby egg yolk and she loved it, but I think she had a slight negative reaction. Therefore, I am waiting a little longer to introduce egg yolks to her.

Other Fermented Foods

The recipe for poi I am sharing is a great one to get started making ferments in your kitchen. However, if you want to keep exploring, try making sauerkraut, raw yogurt, milk kefir, water kefir, and kombucha. I have included video tutorials for most of these ferments and they are all relatively easy to make. When you get in the habit of making them, they are wonderful healthy additions to your diet.

Poi: A Traditional Hawaiian Recipe for Fermented Taro Root
  • Approximately 3.85 pounds of taro root or sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons pasture raised lard (you may also substitute butter or ghee for the fat in this recipe)
  • 1½ tablespoons sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons of sauerkraut juice or juice from another fermented vegetable or whey
  • Filtered water, breast milk or broth to thin out (obviously use water or broth if you are using it for a family dish!)
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Wash taro root or sweet potatoes and poke holes all over them with a fork or knife.
  3. Bake for approximately 2 hours or until soft inside.
  4. Open the taro root and scoop out taro into a large bowl. Discard the skin.
  5. Sprinkle sea salt and sauerkraut juice or whey all over.
  6. Mix well with a spoon.
  7. Cover with a towel and secure with a rubber band.
  8. Leave on the counter to ferment for at least 24 hours.
  9. After 24 hours, melt fat in a saucepan.
  10. Uncover the taro root and scoop into a food processor.
  11. Add melted fat and additional water, broth or breast milk if needed to thin out consistency.
  12. Serve to your baby and or family and enjoy!

Below is a video of how poi is traditionally made. Let me know in the comments what you think!

Poi: A Traditional Hawaiian Recipe for Fermented Taro Root


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