I love poi. The taste of it. The texture. The versatility of pairing poi with salty (dried fish), sweet (teriyaki beef), or crunchy (orange chicken) foods.
So, the other day, while grocery shopping, it occured to me that Greek yogurt tastes a lot like Hawaiian poi, especially when the yogurt is mixed with blackberries.
I know. Poi. Yuck. Most mainlanders dislike the look of poi (brown/grey mass), the consistency (thickness of clam chowder). The smell? Poi doesn’t have a scent unless it’s sour, like yogurt, and that’s when it tastes the best. Similar to Yoplait yogurt, poi undulates off the spoon back into the bowl. Though almost silent to its connoisseur, poi can make a slight sound when one dollop hits another, like when it’s being stirred. Oh, yummmm.
In Hawaii it’s common knowledge that poi, the cornerstone of Hawaiian cuisine, is a perfect food. It contains vitamins, minerals, and anecdotally, healing properties. Among Hawaiians it’s usually the first food babies are given when they transition from formula to table food.
Poi can be watered down to a liquid consistency. Coats the belly. And gives baby’s immune system a great start in life. And a great night’s sleep.
Getting poi in the mainland is tough. Hard to find. Usually only stocked in small “mom & pop” stores that carry island goods. Marukai in Gardena, California is my source.
Once purchased for almost $10 per bag, the poi must be brought home, mixed with water to the perfect consistency. Then, for me, it’s got to spend a day or two on top of the refridgerator where it will ferment.
Remix. Pair with fried fish, lau lau, or even pork chops and spinach, and you’ve got a meal.
When that’s not convenient, I go to my local supermarket cold storage bin, choose a 4-oz tub of Greek yogurt. While I’d rather have a spoonful of poi, Greek yogurt satisfies that craving. It’s inexpensive. Easy to find. And has great nutritional value.