CHILE: Rapa Nui po’e

I’ve been getting a lot of great recipes from mainland Chile, time to try one from Rapa Nui! Po’e is a dessert made from flour, bananas, and grated squash or pumpkin – traditionally wrapped in banana leaves and cooked underground, but now more usually done in an oven. It’s eaten all through Polynesia – it’s common in Tahiti and the Cook Islands.

The best sources for Easter Island-specific recipes I could find are in Spanish, so I translated a recipe from Normitagana’s Chilean cooking blog. It’s got bananas and grated squash (I used butternut) as well as coconut. It’s a pretty easy and straightforward recipe, and it has a lovely scent of baked bananas as it cooks.

Has a consistency halfway between pudding and cake, and it’s pretty sweet. I’m not normally a huge coconut fan, but this is a nice subtle flavour combo, kind of like if you made a less-cakey version of coconut banana bread. This feels like you could make some interesting non-traditional variations of this recipe – add some nutmeg or maybe use glutinous rice flour and steam it for a mochi texture.

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