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Warm Milk & Poi

Continuing on this culinary journey down memory lane, or as we say in Hawaii, “Hanabaddah dayz”, we have Warm Milk and Poi. Yes my friends, no need to adjust your monitor or reading glasses, as, bizarre and possibly horrifying as it sounds, I personally think it’s far from that!

There’s actually a drink called ‘Poi Cocktail‘, which is made with milk, poi, sugar and/or salt, along with a few other personal flavorings all blended together. This is said to have been made back in the day to “appeal to western tastes”.

Not quite the same as that, Warm Milk & Poi was considered more of a health food dish my grandmother (who was half English, half Hawaiian, and spoke both languages fluently) fed us when we were young kids to settle our stomach, or simply as comfort food. Which makes sense, as Poi is said to be one of the easiest foods to digest for infants.

The key difference with how my grandmother prepared it is that it wasn’t blended all together into a homogenized liquid mixture, but was served more like in porridge/cereal/soup form, with the warm milk floating around and over the slightly-sweetened poi in whole form in a bowl like this…

To make it, warm whole milk up on the stovetop (don’t microwave it, as it doesn’t taste as good) to just below the boiling point and pour it over a bowl of VERY FRESH POI served at room temperature, mixed with just a pinch or two of sugar in it. The key is that the poi is as fresh as you can get it. 2-day old or longer aged Poi won’t work for this. Gotta’ be fresh, fresh, fresh.

To eat it, simply spoon some poi along with the warm milk and throw it down.

Buggah’ so ono!  At least for me anyway. 5 bowls of Poi rated!

That said, like many other childhood favorites when it comes to food, Warm Milk and Poi is something you would have had to have grown up with eating in order to appreciate. Otherwise, you’ll probably think it taste like Wallpaper Paste multiplied by 1,000,000. Gotta’ admit, that does kinda’ look like concrete mix with acrylic fortifier added to it. Something you might find at the local hardware store.  lol

Another good example of having to have grown up eating a particular treat or ethnic food in order to fully appreciate it, we have here Goldilocks Cheesy Ensaymada….

This is a product of the Philippines that Diner C shared with us, which she got from a family member who recently returned from a trip back to P.I..

Along with this, there’s also one by Goldilocks filled with pieces of ham in it called ‘Hamonado Ensaymada’…

Here it is removed from the package…

Here’s the cheese model cut in half…

And the ‘Hamonado’ model…

How did I like it? Eh… emmmm…. errrrrrr… kinda’ weird. I dunno’. The combination of the “fatty” grated cheese generously sprinkled over the powdered sugar-dusted crust didn’t really work for me.

The cheese itself has this strange combination of tasting like American, Cheddar and mild Parmesan all in one. All while being a bit unnerving that it’s packaged for sale at room temperature.

The cuts of ham within the hamonado model didn’t really add much to the party for me either.

The bread itself was very soft and supple, while being a bit spongy, so props on that. Otherwise, uh, yeah, err, eh, umm, O.K..

See, but Diner C grew up eating this stuff, so she’s extremely fond of it, and I totally understand and respect that. While I don’t really “get” these Cheesy Ensaymadas from the Philippines myself, neither would I expect her, you, or 99% of the rest of the world population to “get” Warm Milk & Poi.

These are the kinda’ ethnic or regional foods you had to have grown up with from “small keed” (a.k.a. “hanabaddah dayz” or childhood) time to really appreciate.

Just don’t try to use Warm Milk and Poi to set fence posts in the ground around your yard anytime soon. Chances are highly likely it won’t work. lol

P.S. In case you’re going to ask, that 16 oz. (1 lb.) bag of fresh Taro brand Poi was $5.19 today (1.22.10) at the Kaheka Don Quijote.


7 thoughts on “Warm Milk & Poi

  • January 22, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    This is a first for me. I’ve seen (and tasted) Sweetened Condensed Milk poured on a bowl of poi, but never warm milk. I can see how this would be a very conforting and filling treat. Thanks for sharing.

  • January 23, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Pomai, you got me going now to create a milk and poi mochi roll in roasted soy bean flour. I might try one batch with sugar and another without. Maybe with sweetened condensed milk.

  • January 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Pomai, I been to Goldilocks Bakery in San Franciscoand South San Francisco. It very big bakery with lot of pastries I never seen or tasted before. They have a restaurants setting in both with may kind of Filipino food and drinks. Their ensaymada with cheese is what I go for.

    Now I wonder about making poi mochi too since reading Kelike ideal of it and like it sweet with roasted soy bean flour to coat it

  • January 23, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Ohhh…this brings back memories!! I grew up in Wisconsin and the times when we would get fresh (someone would have just gotten off the plane from a visit back home) poi, we would all be eating poi w/stew, raw fish, manapua, etc etc…and my mom would be in her own little world grinding on her poi, milk and little bit of sugar sprinkled on top. Of course later she would join in w/the other ono stuffs too ;)

  • January 23, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Sandy, wow, Poi and Milk being eaten all the way over in Wisconsin. Who woulda’ thought!

    Amy, have you ever been to Valerio’s Filipino Bakery?

    Kelike, IIRC, I’ve seen Poi Mochi desserts in shops around town. I’m not really a mochi fan, but I can see the potential of the two together.

    HapaBento, I think the notion that the milk is warm is probably the most off-putting sounding part of this dish. You really have to taste it though. You might be pleasantly surprised! Or horrified! lol

  • December 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    As a little girl growing up in “Da Country”, one of my fav breakfasts was a sweetened cubed taro in warm milk cereal. The taro being previously steamed and cooled. Strictly homemade, fresh, healthy and ONO. I can’t remember what the hawaiians called it.

    • December 1, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      Wow! sweetened cubed taro in warm milk cereal? I take it this “warm milk cereal” is Oatmeal, right? I can TOTALLY see that working. I’ll have to try it. Mahalo for the tip!

      Along with Warm Milk & Poi, I also remember “small keed” time, my grandmother serving me steamed taro (Hawaiian wetland variety), sliced and served simply with a healthy dose of “Nukoa”, a.k.a. margarine. My grandmother “choked” butter on everything, and lived to 93. Spoke fluent Hawaiian, too. In fact, my Grandmother had to correct my mom when naming me, as mom wanted to name me just “Pomai”, however my grandmother insisted “Pomai” is incomplete, and it MUST be ‘Pomaika’i’. For nickname, “Pomai” is OK, but not formally.

      I love you Mama.


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