What Is Taro? 7 Ways to Serve the Root Vegetable

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Peel away the brown skin of the taro root to reveal a purple-flecked, starchy vegetable. To enjoy the nutty, sweet flavour of the ancient vegetable, cook it in a variety of ways. Be sure to use your best pots and pans set!

What exactly is Taro?

Taro (Colocasia esculenta), like malanga and eddo roots, is a tropical herbaceous plant native to Southeast Asia and a member of the Araceae family. The taro plant has elephant-ear-shaped leaves and produces edible corms, which are a staple meal throughout the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean.

Taro must be cooked before consumption. Taro corms have a sweet and nutty flavour similar to a sweet potato or yam when cooked. Smaller, purple-tinged taro corms are usually sweeter than their bigger, whiter relatives. Taro is commonly used in puddings, breads, and poi (a Hawaiian dish). Taro has carbs, dietary fibre, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B6, and vitamin C in its nutritional profile.

Raw taro leaves, like the raw roots, are poisonous owing to high quantities of calcium oxalate, a chemical that causes kidney stones and oral irritation like numbness, burning, and stinging. After boiling taro leaves, you may eat them; the starch has a mild nutty flavour and a texture comparable to rice.


How to Prepare Taro

Because raw taro is harmful, it must be cooked before eating. Taro corms can be steamed, boiled, fried, roasted, or mashed just like potatoes, or pounded into a paste or powder. Baking flour, smoothies, soups, stews, and bubble or boba tea can all be made with processed taro.

Taro powder can be purchased in an Asian store or made at home. Cut the root into cubes and steam them for fifteen minutes on high heat to produce your own taro paste. Mash the cubes with a fork when they've finished cooking.

7 Ways to Serve Taro

Cooked taro root—a potato-like corm high in resistant starch—can be served in a variety of ways. Here are several popular methods to prepare the root vegetables of the taro plant.

Poi: This Hawaiian side dish is made by steaming the root then mashing it with water until it is smooth.

Taro chips: For a crispy alternative to potato chips, thinly slice the taro root and bake it in the oven or air fryer.

Taro curry is a hot, sauce-heavy meal popular in India's south.

French fries with taro: Taro French fries with purple flecks can be used as a potato substitute.

Taro frozen yoghurt or ice cream: Purple taro root powder may add a distinctive look to frozen yoghurt or ice cream delicacies.

This drink, also known as taro bubble tea, is made with three ingredients: purple ground taro root, tapioca pearls, and jasmine tea.

Taro pancakes: You may buy taro pancake mix at speciality grocery stores or make your own batter using leftover poi.

What's the Difference Between Taro and Potatoes?

The looks, textures, and overall tastes of taro corms and potatoes differ significantly. They're comparable in that they're both heavy in carbohydrates and available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Here are three places where taro and potatoes might be compared:

The taro has a brown surface with a peculiar ring pattern that resembles tree bark. The taro will be cream-colored, white with a purple tint, or have purple specks after peeled. Regular potatoes have pale flesh and come in brown, pale red, and yellow colours (but specialist cultivars can occur in tones like indigo and violet).

Taro can be bland or somewhat sweet and nutty in flavour. Potatoes are milder, having a buttery taste that works well as a basis for savoury seasonings.

Taro is a tropical plant native to Southeast Asia (Colocasia esculenta). The potato plant (Solanum tuberosum) is a nightshade genus that produces a starchy, edible tuber. It is endemic to the Americas.

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