Tag Archives: taro

Veggie Sancocho

19 Nov

Today we celebrate the Discovery of Puerto Rico…  or the day Christopher Columbus landed on the Island of Puerto Rico for the first time in 1493.  Because if you ask the Taínos who already lived on the Island, they already knew Boriquén existed and they needed no discovery of any kind.

I wanted to commemorate this day with a very Puerto Rican dish – SANCOCHO.  The name is not that pretty, but it tastes awesome.  It’s a stew/soup of many root vegetables, or as we call them locally, viandas.  It’s great for those rainy days in November…  as we thankfully say goodbye to the hurricane season, which fortunately has left Puerto Rico unscathed this year.

I’ll be honest, when I make this dish, I’ve made it for 40 people at a time… so bear with me when I try to scale the measurements for something more in tune with a regular family of 4. 



3 medium potatoes, can be russet, red skin, Yukon gold, cleaned and cubed
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut in ¼ inch rounds
1 medium yautía blanca, peeled and cubed
1 medium yautía lila, peeled and cubed
1 small malanga (taro root), peeled and cubed
2 celery stalks, cleaned and sliced thin
1 small onion, diced
1 small bell pepper, diced
1 corn on the cob
¼ head of white cabbage
2 tomatoes, peeled and cut in small dice
2 tbs sofrito
1 tbs olive oil
1 vegetable bouillon cube
2 bay leaves
½ bunch cilantro (optional), chopped
1 tsp Herbamare seasoning (optional)
1 tbs Salt, divided
10-15 turns of the mill of Freshly Cracked Ground Pepper, divided
Avocado slices, for garnish at the end


  1. In the largest stock pot you have, start by adding the olive oil, sofrito, onion, bell pepper, celery and bouillon cube.  Smash the cube so that it melts in with the rest of the ingredients.  Allow for the celery, onions and peppers to soften.  Add the tomatoes and let those juices mix together. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  2. Add the viandas – potatoes, carrots, yautías, , malanga – and the cabbage.  Mix well with the ingredients already on the pot.  Add water until covering 1 inch over the contents of the pot.  Add the bay leaves, the chopped cilantro leaves, the Herbamare seasoning, some additional salt and pepper.  Taste to check the water is well seasoned. Cover.  Let it come to a boil and simmer at medium heat for about 30-40 minutes.
  3. Check the pot every so often and move the sancocho around, to avoid the bottom from scorching.  When you reach the 20 minute mark, add the pieces of corn on the cob.  Cover again and let it boil for the last 10 – 20 minutes.  Make sure the root vegetables are fork tender.
  4. Turn off the stove and let the sancocho finish cooking with the residual heat from the pot and stove.  Allow it to rest and mellow for about 20 minutes.  The soup will maintain hot for about 1 hour, no problem.
  5. When you’re ready to eat, garnish on top with slices of avocado… and if you want, you can drizzle a squirt of lime juice too.


This is a stew perfect for cold and rain days.  This is what we almost always eat after a few days of fasting at a Yoga Retreat.  It’s full of vitamins and nutrition and will even “revive the dead”.  There is a lot of ingredients, but it’s all chop and dump…  not that difficult.   

You can eat it with plain whole-grain rice…

Malanga Chips

18 Jun

Tonight is the Top Chef Chicago reunion show…  I will tune-in because I want to see who wins Fan Favorite.  I would like to see Richard win.  He was a great chef, competitor and human being all around.   I already told you some about it here.  Stephanie got the grand prize, and I am super glad for it, so I think Richard should get Fan Favorite and get that $10,000 prize…

Because the show is at 10PM, and I usually watch it a bit later (thanks to TiVo) I usually get the munchies… so for a late-night snack, I want to make something that is a little homage to this season finale in Puerto Rico, but also to Season 2 finale in Hawaii…  Malanga Chips, or as the Hawaiians might call them, Taro Chips.

This is what a Malanga or Taro looks like at the grocery store or farmer’s market.  Its sort-of oval in shape and the flesh is lilac and speckled.


               www.khiewchanta.com                                 www.gourmetsleuth.com

I’ve never been to Hawaii – at least not yet… but I learned in the Top Chef Season 2 finale that Taro, or Malanga as we call it here in Puerto Rico, is very widely used, particularly in a typical dish they have called poi.  In Puerto Rico, we mostly boil them in salted water and eat them cut in pieces or mashed drizzled with olive oil. 

But just like any other root vegetable we can make chips… here’s how.




1 small malanga, washed and peeled
1 cup of canola oil to fry
Garlic Salt to sprinkle liberally


  1. In a large skillet, heat up canola oil until it is hot enough to fry.  Use the back side of a wooden spoon to know when the oil is ready.
  2. Using a mandolin, slice the malanga in slices as thinly as possible.
  3. Drop the malanga slices onto the oil to fry.  They’ll take about 10 minutes.  Flip them over to make sure the chips fry evenly on both sides.
  4. When the edges start to turn a light golden color, remove them from oil.  Drain them on a paper towel and sprinkle with garlic salt.


I also did a test BAKING the chips instead of frying them.  They actually turned out OK.  Here’s what I did:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place the malanga slices side-by-side on a baking sheet.  They can touch, but try that they are not on top of each other so they can cook evenly.
  3. Brush each slice on both sides with canola or olive oil.
  4. Bake for about 10-15 minutes.  After the first 10 minutes watch them a bit, and when the edges start turning golden brown, take them out.  They can burn really easily.
  5. Transfer them onto a paper towel to drain any excess oil and sprinkle them with garlic salt.


You can find these in bags already made in health foods or street vendors around Puerto Rico…

Nice and crispy home-made snack for any occasion.  This would be a perfect substitute for any potato chip occasion.  Try it… and let me know if you love them too.


A bit of nomenclature housekeeping here… and I say this in no way to confuse you.  Just in the interest of being helpful in understanding my post and the main ingredient.

Malanga is the Puerto Rican word used for a Taro root vegetable.  Cubans use the word malanga to refer to a different kind of root vegetable – the one we call yautía in Puerto Rico, which there are 2 kinds – yautía blanca/malanga blanca and yautía lila/malanga lila .  Yautía or Cuban malanga looks like this…


Just wanted to you that I know there is a difference in how you call these depending on where you live or how your parents call it.

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