What does taro taste like? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what taro tastes like and how it can be used in different types of cuisine.
When it comes to flavor, many people often overlook the taro root. Taro has a unique flavor and texture that makes it a popular ingredient in various dishes.
Let’s learn about its versatile flavor and role in Asia’s favorite drink – bubble tea!
Taro root is a starchy vegetable that resembles a sweet potato in looks and flavor.
This root is commonly grown in Southeast Asia. Although referred to as a “root,” the more accurate word is “corm,” meaning it’s an underground stem.
The taro plant grows above ground with big heart-shaped leaves and purple stalks. While the taro root grows under the soil.
Each corm typically has an oval shape with visible stripe markings.
When cutting the taro open, you’ll see a white starchy flesh with purple flecks.
It’s easy to confuse taro with yam. On the outside, both vegetables look the same. But yam’s dead giveaway is its deeper purple color. Regarding cultivation, the taro plant hops across continents. Meanwhile, yams almost only grow in the Philippines under the name “ube” or purple yam.
When buying taro, you’ll likely come across whole corms. You can buy them peeled, cubed, or canned. In many Asian markets, you can purchase taro leaves as well.
Taro also comes in powder form, often as a flavoring or coloring agent.
Taro has a mild, nutty flavor with a slightly sweet undertone.
Its taste is often described as being similar to that of a potato but with a slightly earthy and more complex flavor.
Taro can also have a slightly slimy texture when cooked, which some people find unpleasant.
It is often used in savory dishes like curries and stews, as well as in sweet desserts like taro milk tea and taro mochi. In these dishes, the mild flavor of taro pairs well with other ingredients and spices to create a rich and satisfying flavor.
There’s no denying that the taro root is a trendy culinary staple. One of its Wiki sections will tell you how many countries love this root vegetable.
Many favor taro because it’s a sturdy crop. The plant can withstand constant rain, making it ideal for tropical countries.
Another reason is its adaptable flavor. Plus, the taro’s light purple color adds a visual appeal to dishes.
The combination of cultivation and flavor paved the way for the taro’s role in culture and cuisine.
In Hawaii, taro is the main ingredient in making “poi” and “laulau.” The latter is a traditional dish served at feasts.
A traditional laulau consists of cooked taro leaves with fish or pork fillings. While a modern version of the recipe uses chicken and includes a side dish of macaroni salad.
On the other hand, poi is a sacred dish also made from taro root. Locals cook and mash the corm until it turns into a smooth paste. The final dish should resemble a plain purplish yogurt with a thick consistency. According to customs, locals consider it disrespectful to fight in front of a bowl of poi.
Taro is making waves across Asia through bubble tea. This iconic drink also goes by the names “bubble tea,” “milk tea,” or “boba tea.”
Originating from Taiwan, bubble tea consists of tea, sugar, and milk. In most cases, you can use powdered or almond milk. Completing the bubble tea are the tapioca pearls.
What makes taro bubble milk tea stand out is the taro powder. The powder gives the drink its recognizable purple color. And instead of black or green tea, this drink prefers jasmine tea. You can also mix the pearls with red beans or grass jelly. The fact that taro tea is caffeine-free adds to its popularity.
Taro milk is a popular drink that is made by blending taro root with milk, sweetener, and ice.
The taste of taro milk can vary depending on the ingredients and preparation method. In general, it has a creamy and slightly sweet flavor with a subtle nutty undertone.
The taro root gives the milk a distinctive purple color and a unique flavor that sets it apart from other milk-based beverages.
The texture of taro milk is smooth and creamy, with a slightly thick and almost custard-like consistency.
Overall, the taste of taro milk is often described as being similar to that of a sweet potato or a cross between vanilla and a nutty flavor.
It’s a popular beverage in many Asian countries, including Taiwan, China, and Vietnam, and is often served cold as a refreshing drink on a hot day.
Taro boba is a popular beverage that combines taro milk with boba (also known as tapioca pearls).
The addition of the boba adds a chewy texture to the drink, which some people find enjoyable.
The boba itself doesn’t have much flavor, but it does absorb the sweet and creamy flavor of the taro milk, making each sip a unique and satisfying experience.
Overall, the taste of taro boba is often described as being similar to that of taro milk, but with the added textural element of the boba pearls.
It’s a popular beverage in many bubble tea shops around the world and is often served with a wide straw to allow the boba to be easily consumed along with the drink.
Did you know that taro is one of the easiest veggies to cook? Even with the simplest cooking method, ruining taro’s flavor is impossible.
And just like potatoes, you can cook taro roots the same way!
To get you started, we got four no-fail ways to cook this vegetable to perfection:
When cooking taro for the first time, boiling is the way to go. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, drop the taro, and cook until fork-tender. Boiling should remove most of the starch and give you a moist corm.
If you’re afraid of boiling away the flavor, try steaming the taro root instead! Just place the taro in a steaming basket for several minutes until it softens. Steaming preserves the taste better but doesn’t remove as much starch. And once you peel the vegetable, it’ll have a slimy texture similar to cooked okra.
Frying taro is another tasty option. Like potatoes, fried taro holds its shape well, which is ideal for making taro fries or fritters. An extra tip is cutting the taro like steak fries. This way, you’ll get a crisp, crunchy exterior with soft and fluffy flesh.
Baking is a healthier alternative if you’re not a fan of oil. Aside from baked taro fries, you can also roast or broil this root crop. For an even more delicious dish, try combining steaming and baking! After steaming the taro, stuff it with meat and spices, and sprinkle it with melty cheese. Bake for another minute for cheesy and nutty baked taro with the fluffiest texture.
There are so many ways to use taro in the kitchen. From starters to desserts, you can use taro for every single dish! But where do you even start? Let us count the ways:
As mentioned earlier, the best way to enjoy taro is to eat it plain. After boiling or steaming, cut the corm into neat circles for easy picking. To enhance the flavor, sprinkle some brown sugar or drizzle coconut milk. You can also pair cooked taro with dried salted fish for sweet and salty flavors.
Want an alternative to potato fries? Try out taro fries! Using taro adds a layer of natural sweetness that you won’t find in regular potatoes. Whether you fry or bake the taro, we guarantee each fry will be a combo of crunchy and fluffy. Plus, the purple specks add a cool look to golden brown crisps.
Taro fritters involve a more complex recipe, but it’s still worth a try after steaming the taro, mash and season the veggie generously. Some recipes call for mirin and soy sauce to boost umami flavor. Then coat the mushy taro in cornflour and deep fry. Crispy taro fritters taste even more heavenly when dipped in sweet chili sauce.
If you don’t have potatoes on hand, taro can be a good substitute. It comes especially handy when making mashed potatoes. The taro’s sweetness blends deliciously with milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Its texture makes it easy to mash, ensuring a creamy and savory dish.
Taro paste is basically mashed taro with extra steps. Instead of just mashing the vegetable, blend it until it becomes a smooth paste. The traditional recipe also uses more straightforward ingredients like lard and sugar. You can also spice it up by adding sesame seeds, ginkgo, or red dates. Despite being a light dish, taro paste is an easy favorite in Fujianese cuisine.
Using taro improves stir-fries in two ways. First, the taro balances out the meat’s savory flavors. And second, you can use taro to replace the meat altogether. This root crop’s texture can be a close imitation of fried meat. For a more vegan-friendly stir-fry, combine chopped taro with tofu!
Taro curry hails from Northern India and is a delicious vegan dish. Unlike regular curry, this recipe switches the meat with taro roots. Locals cook the taro in various spices, resulting in a stew with green chili peppers. Serve with basmati rice and have a savory, spicy, and hearty plate.
In case you didn’t know, taro makes yummy ice cream. It’s a popular dessert in Southeast Asia, taking the spot next to ube ice cream. Aside from its sweet vanilla-like flavor, taro ice cream is easy to make. After grating the vegetable, add butter, sugar, milk, and lots of heavy creams. An ice cream maker churns the mixture and prepares it for freezing. Several hours in the freezer should be enough to turn taro into homemade ice cream!
Taro can last up to 2 weeks when stored properly in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated place, such as a pantry or cupboard. However, once the taro is peeled or cut, it should be used within 3 to 4 days and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
It’s important to inspect the taro before using it, as it can spoil quickly if it’s not stored properly. Signs of spoilage include a slimy or mushy texture, an unpleasant odor, or mold growth on the surface.
To extend the shelf life of taro, you can also blanch it before freezing it. Simply peel and cut the taro into pieces, boil them for a few minutes, then drain and let cool before storing them in an airtight container in the freezer. Frozen taro can last up to 6 months.
Yes, some people say that taro tastes just like coconut meat. They both have the same sweet and nutty flavors.
Delicious taro milk tea often uses jasmine tea. It’s sweet, nutty, and creamy, with vanilla undertones. By comparison, regular bubble tea uses black or green tea.
No, taro isn’t the same as boba. The latter refers to the tapioca pearls present in bubble tea. Boba is made from cassava and not taro root.
Taro is definitely on the sweet side! Many cuisines use taro in place of sweet potatoes for this reason alone.
Raw taro is moist with an almost slimy feel, like cooked okra. And when cooked, this vegetable is still notably starchy and stringy. Boiled or steamed taro is soft enough to break apart with a fork. This texture is perfect for making mashed potatoes.
No, you can’t eat raw taro. When raw, all parts of the taro plant are highly toxic because of calcium oxalate. Even when handling raw taro, you must use gloves or a towel as a precaution. On the bright side, cooking this vegetable can easily remove toxins.
So, what does taro taste like? Taro is an underrated vegetable with an underappreciated flavor. The taro root is easily comparable to a potato with its mild, sweet, and nutty taste. Its subtle flavor also opens up room for versatility, making it a staple in many cuisines.
One of the taro’s significant culinary contributions is taro bubble milk tea. A traditional milk tea recipe uses powdered taro to add color and flavor. Surprisingly, the vegetable doesn’t lose its original taste. You’ll still get the same sweetness and nuttiness with an added vanilla flavor.