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Three Hawaiian Cooking Ingredients to Add to Family Dinners

One of the best ways to add some excitement and pizazz to your everyday meals is to enhance your dishes with a few Hawaiian ingredients. Although traditional, there are three Hawaiian cooking ingredients to add to family dinners that will more than satisfy every taste bud.


Poi is a traditional staple food in Native Hawaiian cuisine. Not only is this amazing staple food hypoallergenic but it is naturally gluten free. In fact, poi is considered one of the best digestible foods on the planet. According to Nutrition Data, poi is high in vitamins and minerals, is a good source of vitamin B6, high in slow-release fiber, contains vitamin A and C, and is rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, thiamin and phosphorus. Poi also offers quite a few possible health benefits like creating strong bones, preventing cavities, reducing gastrointestinal issues and is good for those who are undernourished.

Poi is made from the corm or stem of the taro plant (known as kalo in Hawaiian). Generally it is steamed or baked and then mashed. Traditionally, it is baked for many hours in an imu (an underground oven). During the puree process, water is added to get the desired texture. In regards to consistency, Poi is known as “one-finger,” “two-finger,” or “three-finger”. One finger would be the thickest and so forth. The flavor is very subtle and rich, similar to sweet potato but not as smooth. It has a beautiful purple color that had a nice contrast to many Hawaiian recipies.

Traditional poi recipes include poi banana pudding, crispy poi pancakes, poi noodles with shrimp, peas and scallion, poi fries with chili lime and Poi-machha ( a spinach dish and fish plate that has many popular spices like garlic, chili powder, fennel, mustard seed and turmeric).


Purple yams are another favorite food in Hawaii. The tubers are typically a bright lavender or intense violet in color. Purple yams are in fact a delicious yam grown locally that add the perfect color and taste too many traditional Hawaii dinner plates. Actually, there are several Hawaiian recipies with purple yams that are quite inviting. Some of the dishes include Hawaiian yam casserole, mashed purple sweet potatoes and purple sweet potato Haupi (a cream pie with shortbread crust, sweet potato filling and rich coconut cream).


Liliko’I or passion fruit is a delicate tropical fruit that goes with just about anything. It is often used in creamy desserts such as chiffon pie, mouth-watering cheesecake, as a mousse and as a curd (which is very popular), butterfly cupcakes, scones and Liliko’I lemon bars. Liliko’I is also made into a butter which is similar to a curd or fruit butter. It is a common staple found in most every fridge in Hawaii. Liliko’I butter is served on toast, pancakes and crepes.

On the spicier side, Liliko’I is added to many tasty Hawaiian recipies like Liliko’I lemon chicken, chicken and rice with Liliko’I and passion fruit dressing for salads and greens. This tasty fruit is also added to numerous beverages and cocktails. Some favorites include Liliko’I and coconut smoothie, passion fruit and orange soda, Liliko’I mango cocktail and Liliko’I Mai Tai.