Poi Banana Bread from the Keiki Produce Prescriptions Program

Poi Banana Bread sounds like the beautiful marriage of two of some of the most culturally iconic Hawaiian food crops — kalo and maia, respectively taro and banana.

Baking 145 poi banana bread loaves in 5 hours turned out to be a pleasant break for Monica Esquivel who is the Dietetics Program Director at CTAHR and also a new mother. Monica and nutrition graduate student Cherese Shelton developed the recipe for their Keiki Produce Prescriptions program. The project works to identify children who are in need of fresh food assistance and connect them to food distributor Kahumana Farm Hub. The program runs for 6 months and the child’s family is allotted $50 a month to purchase farm fresh fruits and veggies.

Local variety; thats the best. But whatever you have a lot of…use it up.

Monica Esquivel, PhD, RDN, CSSD, Dietetics Program Director at CTAHR

By sharing the bounty of agricultural research through a virtual field day and workshop all about kalo (taro); the CTAHR team shared kalo growing techniques, its nutrition components, and health in connection to food. Attendees of the workshop were also invited to drive by the ag center to pick up huli (kalo starts) and their very own poi banana bread, lovingly baked by Monica, to bring home.

Try your hand at this reimagined recipe of a local favorite infused with local produce and products.

Poi Banana Bread


  • 1/2 C. Banana, mashed
  • 1/2 C. Kakoo Oiwi Poi (or your favorite poi )
  • 1/4 C. Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 C. Butter, melted
  • 1/2 C. Honey
  • 1 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 C. White Flour
  • 3/4 C. Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2/3 C. Raisins or Chopped Nuts (optional)

Preparation Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350˚
  • In a large mixing bowl, mash banana and mix in smooth poi
  • Add milk, eggs, melted butter, and honey; stir until combined
  • In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients
  • Slowly fold dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Be careful not to over mix to prevent a dense loaf
  • Grease a 9×5 bread pan, pour in and smooth out batter
  • Bake for 50-55 minutes until dark golden brown. Let cool for 15 minutes

This recipe allows for equal amount substitutions; vegetable oil instead of butter, and brown sugar instead of honey. Use what you have handy and enjoy within 3 days, or freeze for later.

Do you have a recipe highlighting Hawaii grown produce that you’d like to share?
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