Taro Root – A Delicious Asian Root Vegtable & A Recipe
Posted Apr 20 2012 11:51am
On last Saturday’s excursion to an Asian market , I was overjoyed to find my beloved taro root , which I’ve loved ever since my first trip to Japan at age 12 and have had the hardest time obtaining when not in Asia, which is, you know, the majority of the time. So yes, I bought taro root.
Look scary? It really isn’t. Taro is the starchy root of Colocasia esculenta, and like most root vegetables, it is absolutely delicious. Taro is native to southeast Asia, and both root and leaves can be eaten. It has been long cultivated for both, and has spread throughout Asia and East Africa. Warning: raw it is toxic, but cooking takes care of that.
When prepareing taro root, the key is peeling well. The flesh is while with light purple flecks and firm, much like raw potatoes. Also like raw potatoes, the flesh becomes creamy and soft when boiled, steamed or otherwise cooked. The color turns more intensely purple, too. It is often used to make cakes or for a sweet filling for glutinous rice snacks like zong zi. Whether sweet or savory, trust me, it’s even better than potatoes!
Nutritionally speaking, it’s not low calorie, like other starchy root vegetables. One cup of cooked taro root clocks in at 190kcal, but like with potatoes, they’re calories that are worth it. Taro is very low in saturated Fat, cholesterol and sodium and to boot, it’s a good source of fiber, Vitamins C, E and B6 and manganese. Not bad!
And since I love taro root so much, have a quick and easy recipe for taro root and baby bok choy stir fry.
- 1 piece taro root, about 6 to 7 inches long
- 3 cups baby bok choy
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp dark rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger root
1. Wash and peel the taro root with a vegetable peeler. Make sure to remove all dark patches of left over skin layers. Cube flesh into 1 inch cubes.
2. Bring two pots of water to a boil, then add taro root cubes to one. Boil over medium heat for 15 minutes until flesh gets soft.
3. Boil baby bok choy for 3 minutes – don’t overcook or the leaves will wilt too much.
4. Drain both taro and bok choy. Heat a sprayed pan, brown ginger and add taro and bok choy. Stir in soy sauce and vinegar and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes.
Have you ever had taro root? What are your favorite uncommon root veggies?