Tropical Flours Add Gourmet Flair to Mother’s Day Breakfast At Home

Innovative local entrepreneurs are making it easy for home cooks to whip up pancakes made of flours from traditional Hawaii plants. These rival their wheat counterparts in flavor and outshine them nutritionally, not to mention that they’re gluten-free.

Brynn Foster wanted to find a way to spotlight the hard work of farmers that often goes unrecognized. She found a way in Voyaging Foods, her artisan line of dry mixes using locally produced organic kalo (taro), ulu, sweet potato and coconut. Among the products are a cookie mix, taro powder starch and, now, taro pancake mix.

The Honolulu company exclusively uses kalo varieties native to Hawaii; that is referenced in the name Foster gave the milled kalo, “Ancestral Taro Powder.”

She notes that kalo is rich in fiber and contains folic acid, potassium, iron and vitamins E and B6. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic. In fact, Foster was introduced to kalo flour when she created a hypo­allergenic teething biscuit for her own child.

For the breakfast plate, the company’s Taro-Cake Pancake Mix is combined with an egg and a few tablespoons of oil and milk to produce dense patties rather than thinner, fluffier rounds reminiscent of wheat pancakes.

The mix does not create a pourable batter, and there is no bubbling on the surface to indicate that it’s time to flip them. Rather, the batter is thick and pasty, and because the cakes brown rather rapidly, it’s best to cook them at a lower heat to ensure the center is thoroughly cooked.

Thanks to the inclusion of coconut flour, purple sweet potato flour and some Hawaiian salt, the taro cake is lightly sweet and flavorful enough to do with just a light drizzle of syrup, if that. Taste testers enjoyed the cakes plain, with fresh fruit and some whipped cream.


If you can spend a few more minutes in the kitchen, try Jenn Hee’s version of kalo pancakes. Hee, one-half of the sister duo that runs Juicy Brew, says making your own kalo flour takes some time and effort, so it’s best to buy it pre-milled. Check out Whole Foods, she said, which usually has a couple of options on its shelves (call ahead). To the kalo flour, Hee recommends adding a gluten-free flour mix. (Try Bisquick Gluten Free, Bob’s Red Mill, Pamela’s or Cup 4 Cup.) Hee mixes 1/4-cup kalo flour to every cup of gluten-free flour.

She uses two dry ingredients to turn this pancake from ono to over-the-top: kinako, a Japanese roasted soybean flour, and macadamia nuts, toasted and ground in a blender or food processor to a fine, flourlike consistency.

Chia seeds add fiber, Omega-3s and help bind the batter.


  • 1 cup gluten free flour mix (Hee used Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour)
  • 1/4 cup taro flour
  • 1/4 cup toasted macadamia nuts
  • 2 tablespoons kinako
  • 2 tablespoons organic coconut sugar (available at Costco)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1-1/2 cups nondairy milk (such as rice or soy milk)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (liquid measure), plus more for cooking
  • 1 teaspoon chia seed

Toast macadamia nuts and pulverize in a blender.

Add all other ingredients to blender and blend batter until smooth.

In nonstick pan over medium, heat a small amount of coconut oil.

Batter should be thick. Scoop large spoonfuls into pan, and cook approximately 5 minutes on each side.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Net Orders Checkout

Item Price Qty Total
Subtotal $0.00

Shipping Address

Shipping Methods