Viandas, as we call them in Spanish or at least in Puerto Rico, are part of the staples in Caribbean gastronomy. Viandas are a variety of root vegetables and edible tubers which form part of our diet since the times of the Taíno Indians, Puerto Rico’s first inhabitants.
Malanga or Taro Root is one of my favorite viandas… It has a sweet taste and its speckled lilac interior is very pretty. These are particularly popular in Hawaiian cuisine in the form of poi, a mashed version of taro root.
Typically, viandas are boiled in salted water and eaten with various accompaniments, and their starchy consistency makes them perfect to make into fritters. The perfect example of this is Alcapurrias. But we don’t always have the time to make a filling, make the masa, fill the alcapurrias and fry them. So this fritter is a great short-cut to get the payoff of a fritter without a lot of work. You can read the whole recipe in Spanish in Qué Rica Vida here.
TARO ROOT FRITTERS
1 pound of raw taro root, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 1 tsp sofrito 2 garlic cloves, peeled 1 tsp salt A pinch of freshly cracked black pepper (optional)
- Add all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and process until you create a homogeneous puree.
- Using a spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure the mixture is well combined.
- In a large skillet add enough frying oil for it to be about ½ – 1” deep. Place over medium-high heat until the oil bubbles a bit around the tip of a wooden spoon when submerged in the oil.
- Using a measuring spoon, measure about 1tbs of masa and create small balls and place in the hot oil. Fry balls on all sides until they’re golden brown. Once the skillet is filled with balls frying, turn down the heat to make sure the inside of the fritter is cooked without burning the outside.
- When they’re done, take them from the skillet using a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels to cool off and catch all the excess oil.
You can enjoy these fritters on their own… or with a delicious vegan mayo and mustard dipping sauce. This recipe makes about 24 fritters.