When Kate gives you poi,

6 Feb

make poi donuts?

This post was made possible by a lovely friend of mine, Kate, who up and moved from her comfy home in Seattle to the crazy shores of Hawaii.  To help keep us apprised of her antics, she has this hilarious blog that I read and laugh out loud to with great regularity.  A few weeks ago she had a little contest wherein a follower or commenter of hers could win something Hawaiian.  And I won.  Which is awesome because I never win anything and because it meant I would be getting something from Hawaii. And that something was a bag of poi.

I’ve never had poi before and Kate’s ringing endorsement of “disgusting”, “sour”, “sticky” and “weird” had me a little concerned that it might be a food I should only enjoy while marveling at a spectacular Hawaiian sunset.  But I didn’t want that pound of poi to go to waste and I wanted to do Kate proud, so I did little sleuthing and discovered a recipe for poi donuts that didn’t sound neither awful nor difficult.

Interestingly enough, the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) supplied the recipe.  It seems that back in the day HECO wanted to encourage the good people of Hawaii to cook indoors with these new fangled electric cooking machines called “stoves” and so they held demonstrations and exhibitions while cooking traditional and not-so-traditional Hawaiian delicacies.  This practice still exists today, with recipes often accompanying one’s electric bill.  I would be so much more excited to open my electric bill if it had a recipe enclosed in it.  Alas, ComEd isn’t so awesome.

Overall, I give them a solid B+.  They taste like funnel cake with a mildly earthy after taste–like you just made donuts with a root.  Strangely, when James came home from work, he asked me if I had cooked fish and when I said no, I had made poi donuts, he said, “Oh, that’s probably what I smell.”  He is odd.  They don’t smell nor taste like fish (nor did I use a pot that I had recently cooked seafood in).

The donuts were relatively easy to make, but I highly suggest using a standing mixer or a hand blender as the dough can get pretty tough once you add in the flour.  And just when you think it’s time to take them out of the oil, leave them in for a few more minutes (unless you like your donuts slightly doughy-chewy in the middle).  I used coconut oil instead of the salad oil (healthier with a little lighter / sweeter flavor) and dusted some powdered sugar on top once finished.

KATE, you should try these.  I’m not sure if the IC would be helpful.  Probably not.

Poi Andagi (Okinawan Donuts) adapted from HECO (original recipe from Chef Jason Kina of Ihilani Resort and Spa)


  • 3 cups coconut oil
  • 1 bag (16 oz) fresh poi (starchy paste made from mashed taro)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water


1.  In a deep skillet, or smaller sized sauce pan heat oil to 350F (or just very, very hot–when you sprinkle water in it, it should crackle).

2.  In a large bowl, combine poi, eggs, sugar, and vanilla; mix well.

3.  In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder; add to poi mixture. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened, adding enough water to make a smooth thick batter.

4.  Drop teaspoonfuls of batter into the hot oil; fry until doughnuts rise to surface and are golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

5.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.


3 Responses to “When Kate gives you poi,”

  1. brookebeals February 7, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    Strange, but worth a shot!

  2. leigh (@leleboo) February 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    “Like you just made donuts with a root” — well, you did. Poi is from taro, which is a tuber, isn’t it?

    I recently had potato doughnuts at The Kitchen in Boulder that were *awesome*, so it doesn’t surprise me that this would work well. As for James’ funny sense of smell, tell that boy to be quiet and eat. 🙂


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: