Tag Archives: taro root

Taro Root Nests

14 Sep

I’m in love with taro root or malangas, as I call them on a daily basis…

Here is a fun and easy way to make taro root for your next party of gathering.

Taro Root Nests

TARO ROOT NESTS

1 pound of raw taro root, peeled and cut into long pieces
1 tsp sofrito
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp salt
A pinch of freshly cracked black pepper (optional)
Frying oil – canola oil, grape seed oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, etc.
  1. Shred the taro root pieces using the shredding blade of your food processor.  You could also shred by hand using a box grater, but this would be much harder and take up more time.
  2. Transfer the shredded taro root to a large mixing bowl and season with the sofrito, salt and black pepper.  Grate the garlic cloves using a microplane grater over the shredded taro root mixture.  Combine well all the ingredients using your hands.  I find they work best for doing this.
  3. In a large skillet, add enough frying oil to make it about ½” to 1” deep and bring to temperature over medium-high heat.  The oil will be ready for frying when you stick the back of a wooden spoon into the oil and bubbles form all around it.
  4. Make mounds of the seasoned shredded taro root…  Squeeze out all the starchy liquid from it and place on the hot oil to fry.  Using a spoon, pour some of the hot oil over the mound of shredded taro root to help it cook on the inside and to start to harden the top part a bit.  Place mounds of taro root on the skillet leaving some space between the mounds so they don’t stick together.
  5. After a few minutes, flip the mound on the other side so it fries evenly on all sides.  When the taro root mounds are golden brown on all sides, take them off the oil using a wooden spoon and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb all the excess oil.  If you want, you can sprinkle them lightly with some more kosher salt, but it may not be necessary.

Enjoy these little nest fritters as an appetizer or as the crispy component to any Latin dinner…

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Hawaiian Poi

27 Apr

I was first introduced to the concept of poi on a Top Chef episode, when a finale was held in Hawaii.  When I saw the taro root, out of which poi is made, I couldn’t believe they were talking about my beloved malanga lila.

Malanga Lila - KarmaFree Cooking Photo

When researching poi for this Hawaiian Festival, I learned it is mashed taro root, and can be eaten  as thick or loose as you want it to be.  One-finger poi means you only need 1 finger to scoop it out and eat it with your hands, just like three-finger poi is looser and needs 3 fingers to be able to scoop it out using your hand.

My Hawaiian friend, Kenny, told me his favorite way to eat taro root is steamed with coconut milk.  And even though poi is traditionally mashed with just with water, I thought it would be interesting to mash it using coconut milk and meld two Hawaiian traditions into one dish.

This might not be traditional poi recipe…  but it is my interpretation.  Hope all you Hawaiian people approve.

Taro Root mashed with Coconut Milk

HAWAIIAN POI

2 large taro roots, peeled and cut into large chunks

About 1 cup to 2 cups of coconut milk

1 large onion, chopped

1 large red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped finely

½ bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 small red onion, sliced thinly

Olive oil

Butter or dairy-free spread, like Earth Balance

Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste

 

  1. In a large pot, boil the taro root pieces in salted water.  Cook them until they’re soft and can be easily pierced with a fork.  This will take about 30 minutes.  I usually turn off the stove at 30 minutes and let the taro or any other root vegetable to finish cooking in the hot boiling water for about 10 extra minutes.
  2. While the taro root cooks, take a large skillet over medium heat and drizzle some olive oil.  Add the onions, peppers and garlic.   Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until softened for about 10 minutes.   Set aside.
  3. In another skillet over medium heat also, drizzle some olive oil and sauté the sliced red onions and the flat leaf parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  The idea is to soften the onions and cook them a bit, but you still want them to look “purpley”… we’ll use this to garnish the mash in the end.  Set aside.
  4. When the taro is cooked, drain the taro root pieces and return to the pot you boiled them in.
  5. Using a potato masher, mash the taro root pieces while they’re still warm.  Doing this immediately after draining will be much easier than if you let them dry out. Drizzle some olive oil and butter or vegan butter substitute and mash away.  Add the cooked onions, pepper and garlic mixture and mix it all in well.
  6. Slowly add the coconut milk and continue mashing until you get a smooth consistency, just like mashed potatoes.    Add as much coconut milk as you need to reach your desired mashed consistency.  Season one last time with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to a serving plate.  Garnish with the sautéed red onions and parsley mixture

Taro Root Fritters

10 Dec

This is a recipe featured in Qué Rica Vida – the Spanish-language community site featuring great  recipes from a variety of bloggers, including Karma Free Cooking.

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.

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

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)
  1. Add all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and process until you create a homogeneous puree.
  2. Using a spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure the mixture is well combined.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Taro Root Fritters

You can enjoy these fritters on their own… or with a delicious vegan mayo and mustard dipping sauce.  This recipe makes about 24 fritters.

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