I think there are hundreds of types of taro but there’s basically two types used frequently in Chinese cooking. As far as I know, we just call them big taro and little taro (in Chinese), because one is big and one is small.

big and little taro

If you’ve never had taro, you can think of it as a potato with a different flavor. If you’re going along that potato thought-line anyway, you can think of the big taro as being similar to baking potatoes, like Russet potatoes. They are starchy with low water content, perfect for taro fries. The little taro can be thought of similarly to boiling potatoes or waxy potatoes. They are higher in water content which makes them creamier.

As much as I love fries (and I LOVE French fries!), I think I like Taro fries, even more. The big taro is even starchier than russet potatos, which makes crispier fries. Taro has more flavor and they always taste less greasy too. Notice also the pretty purple flecks in the white flesh. To make fries, the method is the same as for frying potatoes. I like to cut thin strips and soak them in water for several hours.

taro soaking

Drain thoroughly before blanch frying at around 240 to 260 degrees F. You are only frying for about a minute, then spread on paper towels.

low temp blanched taro

Bring the oil to 375 degrees F for the final fry, until golden brown. Remove from oil into a paper towel lined bowl. Toss with salt immediately. Eat while hot!

taro fries

Now for the little taro. I’ve seen the color of the flesh vary between cream colored, to more grey, or more purple. The color is uniform though, unlike the flecked big taro.

little taro partly peeled

My mom often eats little taro just boiled, peeled, and dipped in sugar. You boil in the skins, 15-20 minutes, or until tender when you stick a paring knife in. You peel the skin off with your fingers, somewhat like peeling a hard boiled egg, just slightly more difficult. The surface (after peeling) is a bit slippery, but the flesh is so creamy, smoother than any potato. They can be eaten like this warm or you can chill them in the fridge and eat them cold, which is how my mom and I like it.

little taro with sugar

posted by jessica at 02:43 PM Filed under Basics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.