A staple of the Polynesian diet for a centuries, taro is a wonderful root available at most supermarkets and markets in China. I love the taro balls that make up the sweet mocha-like dessert, but I especially like to eat taro as what I call a ‘better than bread’ meal option. I usually roast or grill taro as I would grill pitta bread or ciabatta bread (when I used to eat them!), with a dip or pate, or sliced cheese and a side salad. A lovely light dinner or lunch option. Taro is inedible raw as it’s high calcium oxalate content makes it actually quite toxic uncooked. But it cooks a lot quicker than the standard white potato in the oven. Sliced into rough half-moons, it is a nutritious option for those who have eliminated refined wheat flour from their diet. Taro is a much more nutritious starchy food choice. Like the sweet potato, it is low-GI, and not only is it high in potassium and fibre, but also surprisingly contains high amounts of Vitamin E. Not bad for the humble-looking potato alternative.
Here pictured, the roasted taro is served with a simple rocket salad and a raw spicy courgette & tahini dip, but these roasted taro chips go with pretty much any salad and any dip, tapenade or pate.
This recipe is more than enough for 2 with vegetable side dishes.
Large taro root 1/2
Extra-virgin coconut oil 3 tbsp
Sea salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
Any seasoning you like* (and plenty of it) to taste
*I think any herbs and spices go well with this root, but I usually add any dried herbs I have in the kitchen, as well as Sichuan pepper, cayenne pepper, celery salt, red chilli flakes and sometimes black garlic.
1. Pre-heat the oven to about 180 degrees celsius.
2. Wash the taro well as it might still taste muddy after cooking otherwise.
3. Cut it in half (width-ways) and save the other half for another meal (it’s pretty big, half is enough for two people).
4. Remove the rough outer skin as smoothly as you can as you might cut the peel from an orange (unlike the potato, the skin is inedible).
5. Cut the taro root in half again, this time length-ways.
6. Slice these two pieces into half moons as chunky as you like, I usually slice then about ½ inch thick.
7. Drizzle some coconut oil on the baking tray and season the tray.
8. Place the half-moon slices spaciously on the making tray and season again on top.
9. The taro root should be ready when the half-moons are browning on the outside and the edges are curving slightly upwards, but the centre is still soft. If you leave the taro root to brown all over, it will have a texture more like a cracker than bread. Remove from the oven after about 15 minutes or until the edges begin to brown slightly.
10. Serve with one of the my dips, pates, tapenade or hummus recipes as well as light green salad (pictured above).
Cut into rectangular chips instead of pitta-like half-moons.