TODAY   |  May 20, 2013

Willie, Natalie learn art of pounding poi

Poi, the purple paste made from taro root, is a staple in native Hawaiian diets and a large part of the culture. Daniel Anthony, a Hawaiian poi expert, demonstrates how to prepare the dish.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> reporter: now we're going to get a chance, natalie to pound poi ourselves. daniel anthony is an expert. what do we have?

>> we wanted to go through the process of how our sacred taro becomes poi. lot of people have questions, what is this piece, where does it come from.

>> that's the root.

>> this is a tube root, all of waikiki used to be and taro patches, this is the bredbasket of our island.

>> after you boil it, it's peeled off.

>> peeled off. the clean taro is separated into two types of beat and so what we have here is we have a little bit of the sweeter type.

>> like a sweet potato .

>> that's good.

>> and then we have a little bit of starch, put that back down there and what you're seeing is basically the steak and the hamburger. so we separate that.

>> interesting.

>> where does the banana leaf come in?

>> the banana leaf is just for show. this is what we use to wrap it in order to take it on long voyages.

>> people feed babies this, right?

>> people definitely feed babies.

>> high protein.

>> we want to see you work your magic .

>> all right, let me give you a sample.

>> show us how you pound it.

>> try a one-finger poi on the way there.

>> this is the art of pounding poi, natalie.

>> you talk about mixing it.

>> wow.

>> north to mix it, you take the pounded taro and begin to add water to it.

>> daniel, how do you know when it's ready?

>> that's a lot of muscle that goes into.

>> it you imagine our ancestors are making 500 million pounds of this a year.

>> wow.

>> so the water is pounding.

>> it's like a waist almost, right?

>> it starts off much thick ears a gel and it goes into, how is that, pretty sticky?

>> good, very quickie.

>> paired with something salty or sweet.

>> this is hard physical labor, though, this is no joke. you're working.

>> yeah.

>> look at his muscles.

>> the lifestyle of this keeps you in shape. the eating of it helps to fuel your body. you look at the last greatest sports player that ate fish and poi, big kahana muku.