It’s taro week!
No, not officially. You won’t find it printed in your diaries or yearly planners. I have declared it taro week because I have been saving up some stories about my adventures with taro.
So what even is taro? I know, right. That’s what I asked too, when I was offered some taro to cook with:
Do you want some taro?
What even is taro?
It’s a tuber.
So do you want some taro?
I don’t know.
Okay, no then.
Hey I know you said you didn’t want taro, but are you sure? I can get you some from somewhere else…
Okay. I’m sure I’ll figure something out.
So here we go. Taro is native to southeast Asia, and is a starchy root vegetable, which also has edible foliage. Not raw though. It’s toxic raw. Turned off yet? Stay with me.
It is thought to be one of the earliest cultivated plants, it has a low glycemic index, and is apparently an excellent source of potassium. Taro is used widely in many cultures around the world.
And so began the taro experimentation. It doesn’t have a terribly strong flavour, and it’s point of difference comes more from it’s texture – a bit like potato, but a bit tougher, like a jerusalem artichoke. The first dish I made using taro was Chamadumpa Pulusu. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the foresight to take a photo, but it looked and tasted pretty fabulous. I suggest you give it a go, even if you substitute the taro for potato.
At this point, I naturally started to query whether taro was used in sweet dishes. I was not disappointed. It seems that taro is often made into desserts – a fact which pleased me immensely.
Now I feel as though, because I didn’t come up with these recipes myself – sharing them is less important than the story behind it, and the pictures of the products. Stay tuned for an exciting taro dessert though…
In the mean time. Have a look at the fun taro sweeties I made this afternoon: taro cupcakes, and raspberry taro bites.
Pretty amazingly, these taste just like vanilla cupcakes with a hint of something you can’t quite put your finger on. I was hoping the cupcake would be more purple (like I was promised), but I guess that’s what’s happens when you refuse to use artificial colouring.
All in all, they’re okay. I’ve definitely come across cupcakes with a nicer consistency, but the novelty of these is still fun. Sadly, I had about a tablespoon of icing sugar at my disposal, so I couldn’t ice them all. But happily, I used blueberries to achieve the pink colour. Hurrah!
You can find the recipe here, but feel free to halve the sugar. It still tastes sweet.
Raspberry taro bites
These are winners. Seriously. Whoever thought to introduce these to the McDonald’s menu in various foreign countries, was evidently a genius.
I made some modifications to the recipe, because what on earth is Purple Yam Jam?! Well, I know now, but didn’t have any at my disposal, nor any purple yams with which to make my own. So I just used raspberry jam. Definitely not the same, but they taste great!
Check out the recipe here, and if, like me you decide to substitute the Purple Yam Jam, try out some other jam flavours I say! Taro is so non-descript that it would lend itself to any number of fruity conserves (fig and ginger anyone?) These are also vegan. Yay!
Happy taro-experimenting… or not… it is kind of obscure…