What Does Taro Taste Like? Grab A Bite Of Earth and Starch!

There’s no standardized description of how taro actually tastes, but it has a popular nickname through word of mouth: potato of the tropics.

Do you still recall seeing bizarre tubers lining along drain ditches` or beyous throughout your childhood? We bet you must have stopped by to pick up one to play as toys for once.       

Or when your mom asked you to run an errand on her behalf, you must have come across taro displays in your neighborhood’s grocery stores. Upon seeing it, have you ever pondered on What does taro taste like and wanna grab a bite?

This piece would represent our insights and real takes on the original taste of taro, how taro flavors vary among different dishes and the health benefits of taro as a reference for you.

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What Does Taro Taste Like?

what is taro flavor

Taro is the edible corm (vegetable root) of an idyllic tropical plant belonging to the Araceae family.

There are many cultivars inside this family that place culinary values on their corms, leaves, and petioles, and so is taro. Yet people often take advantage of the taro corm due to its pungent, nutty flavor.

While proving its presence since forever (some people even believe taro was the earliest cultivated root crop), taro corm has risen as a staple all around the world. Some people call taro the potato of the tropics, and this stems from its origin in Southeast Asia and India.

Taro tastes like an earthier version of potatoes with a hint of floral odor. Yet the texture of taro is a lot slimmer.

The most common edible variety of taro is scientifically called Colocasia Esculenta - “true taro” across Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. It is eaten for its starchy nutty corms and roots.

Two other taro-like plants are giant taro (Alocasia) and swamp taro (Cyrtosperma), but they are not welcome on the menus like true taro. It’s due to the fact that many believe smaller variants are sweeter while larger taro tastes meaty.

The taste profile also changes according to your methods of preparing taro. Imagine if you’re making ice-cream from fresh taro root, it’d result in a starchy vanilla flavor. Or when you make taro root milk teas, they’ll taste a lot nuttier and vanilla-like than other potato cousins.

It’s rather hard to describe what taro flavor is like to be specific. Ideally, it's the perfect middle ground between potatoes and sweet potatoes, creamier and slimier in texture but just enough amount of sweetness. It's great as a dessert, such as taro fries and chips, but also perfect when stuck on the side for meat stews and soups.

Cooking Tips To Complement The Natural Taste Of Taro

How  about its taste after cooking processes? Taro’s earthy starch goes well with creamy milk-like flavors. The richness helps to bring out taro’s underlying sweetness. That’s why taro roots often go into recipes comprising coconut cream or milk.

The purple-tinted corms are roasted, baked, or boiled on normal grounds. For smaller taro varieties, boiled corms are peeled and launched on the market either frozen, dipped in liquids, or canned.

Young taro leaves that are slightly acrid taste decent after being boiled twice. Yet only eat them if the stems remain green and pink. If you fail to boil the leaves properly, the internal calcium oxalate cannot dissipate and would irritate your mouth and throat when being swallowed.

And one last thing, if you’re looking for alternatives to yams, turnips, sweet potatoes or yucca for your daily gluten-free diets, taro is right here to serve. You can use taro corms to make flour for bakeries since they go well with each other in terms of flavors, sweetness levels, and nutritional benefits.

The Taste Of Taro Expressed Through Popular Dishes Around The Globe


Desserts

What does taro taste like as a dessert? It’s irrefutable that taro powder mix or taro mash is a popular flavor in the world of dessert.

Taro Milk Teas

taro bubble tea

From an amalgamation of tea, milk, taro powder mix and tapioca pearls, you have a sweet and mellow creamy cup of taro bubble tea. To the majority of bubble tea fans, the drink tastes like assorted nuts shaken in vanilla with a grainy texture similar to blended pecans and walnuts.

Yet, other mixed feedback about taro milk teas’ flavor profile has also been recorded. It’s not just plainly nutty vanilla but tastes like cereal milk after you've finished all the cereal to someone, like cookies n' cream to some others or like butter-coated popcorn jelly beans to the rest.

Taro Smoothies/ Yogurt/ Tong Sui

Taro Smoothies Yogurt Tong Sui

These desserts breathe life into boiled taro roots’ purple color and bland flavor.

Peel off the blemishes and rough skins. Chop raw taro corm into 1-2 inch chunks and boil them until so soft that you can pierce a fork through their flesh. Smash the boiled taro inside a mixer, add a bit of coconut milk, 3 teaspoons of white sugar, some ice cubes, a half cup of water, maybe a hint of tapioca and blend them until smooth and fine.

The taste is mild, pleasant, and a little bit earthy. But a glass of vegan milk taro smoothie is simply not the only dish mashed taro roots can make.

You can boil peeled taro roots with whole milk, cream, sugar, salt, and plain Greek yogurt on medium heat. Then, strain the liquid through a meshed sieve before chilling in the fridge overnight to churn into ice-cream.

Taro flavored yogurt is nearly impossible to find in common fro-yo unless you are residing in Asia, so if you happen to fall in love with it, just roll up your sleeves and add your touch to it. For the frozen yogurt, it’s essential to add some taro powder.

Even as taro flavored ice-cream or yogurt, these dishes do an excellent job on complementing the starchy earthy taste of taro while throwing in a hint of tartness.

Here’s an interesting thing: With almost the same ingredients (peeled taro root cubes, coconut milk, water, tapioca pearls, and rock sugar candy), you can also stir them into a bowl of Tong Sui in about an hour.

This is sweet sugar soup or custard served at the end of a meal in prominent Cantonese cuisines such as China, Hong Kong, or Malaysia.

Taro Paste

Taro was born in Chaoshan

This dish stems from China, the motherland of taro. Here, taro can be a delicacy on its league, boiled and dipped into white sugar and eaten like potatoes.

The Northern Chinese use taro as an ingredient to improvise via their various steamed or braised proteins, especially pork and beef. While in the south, people go much more lightly with dishes like taro dumpling, pan-fried taro cake, taro pie, Tong Sui, or Taro Purée.

Taro paste was born in Chaoshan, Guangdong. It is mashed steamed taro drizzled with lard/fried onion oil and chestnut syrup for fragrance and sweetness. You can make modifications by adding coconut cream and sweet corn before serving the paste with ginkgo nuts.

Savory Dishes

Taro is a famous flavor-enhancing ingredient in ample savory recipes. But what does taro taste like while concealing its identity inside all those flavor bangs?

Laing

a dish of laing

Laing originated from Bicol province in the Philippines, a Southeast Asian country. Dried taro leaves play the stars of this dish. They are boiled with coconut milk, sliced onions, sliced ginger, crushed garlic, and pork or shrimp. Bagoong or Balaw (shrimp paste) is added instead of spices for extra rich flavor.

If you want to go for a special kick, then use siling Labuyo (Filippino red chilies) for seasonings. The dish is a perfectly compatible partner for steamy hot rice.

Arbi masala

Taro root in India

Indians eat taro, the tropical potato, even more than potatoes themselves. Taro is a staple in Indian daily life. Here, it’s not the purple taro that we're used to. It's a white hue instead. As a result, it's milder and blander in flavor.

Out of all scrumptious local taro dishes, Arbi masala, a dish from Northern India, is the household name. Arbi (taro root) is fried with Indian aromatic spices like chilies, fennel seeds, coriander or turmeric. In order to eat like a local, you’d better combine Arbi masala with warm dal (Indian lentil curry) or roti (a flatbread).

It's a national dish during the fasting period at religious festivals, so gravy may stick on the side as optional. And the dish may seem savory, but it can act as a snack next to a cup of tea. It may even steal the show and blow every of your guest's minds at your tea parties.

Chirino me Kolokasi and sautéed Poulla

Fried pork with taro

These dishes display economical ways of cooking taro in Cyprus. Deep-fry pork with Kolokasi (the Greek name for taro) and then transfer them into a saucepan with celery, onion, tomatoes, and spices to sauté. Once the sauce is done, pour the mixture into a pot and close the lid to simmer until the pork has become tender and the sauce has thickened.

The Cypriots do not waste a single thing edible on taro. Poulles (small cormlets on taro corm) are sautéed and caramelized with dry red wine and coriander seeds and finished with a squeeze of lemon for a bit of tartness and sweetness.

Fried Kilkass Spinach Stew

Taro with lentils

This is a basic Mediterranean soup invented by the Lebanese. In Lebanon, kilkass (taro) is often cooked with lentils, lamb shanks or tahini sauce. But if you’ve decided to become a couch potato today and just want some decent leftovers to fill yourself up, then this stew is the ideal way out.

Unpack a bag of frozen taro root, spinach, chopped onion, chickpeas, celery, cilantro pesto, diluted vegetable bouillon, and a quarter of a lemon. Stir-fry the mixture in olive oil and simmer for 40 minutes until the stew’s boiled away.

Serve it over Basmati rice, bread, or fideos (Vermicelli noodles) with stir-fried salted cilantro and garlic.

Achu Soup

a bowl of achu soup

This yellow saffron soup is typical of the Cameroonian home cooking style dishes. Braise beef seasoned with salt, Scotch bonnet/Habanero, and bouillon powder in a pressure cooker. Boil cow skin and tripe. Then remove the meat, leave the broths back for later use. Blend the broths, Achu spice, ground limestone, and palm oil until smooth.

Mash Achu Cocoyam (taro) into purée and roll it inside a plastic wrapper. Serve the wrapped purée with the blended yellow Achu soup above.

Nutrition Facts And Health Benefits Of Taro

taro-nutrition facts

Due to its fine grainy texture and subtle sweet starch, taro is often processed to make baby food.

Taro roots can be utilized as an oriental medicine to treat insect bites. They are added to Korean health soups such as Toranguk (토란국) or Yukgaejang (육개장) watch more in below video:

Nutrients per 100 g packs:

​​​​Calories

594 kJ (142 kcal)

Carbohydrates

34.6 g

Sugars

    0.49

Dietary fiber

    5.1 g

Polyunsaturated Fat

0.11 g

Protein

0.52 g

Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

0.107 mg (9% of Daily Value)

Niacin

0.51 mg (3% of DV)

Pantothenic Acid

0.336 mg (7% of DV)

Vitamin B6

0.331 mg (25% of DV)

Folate

19 μg (5% of DV)

Vitamin C

5 mg (6% of DV)

Vitamin D

1.2 μg (8% of DV)

Vitamin E

2.93 mg (20% of DV)

Calcium    

18 mg (2% of DV)

Iron

0.72 mg (6% of DV)

Magnesium in Chlorophyll    

30 mg (8% of DV)

Manganese

0.449 mg (21% of DV)

Phosphorus

76 mg (11% of DV)

Potassium  

484 mg (10% of DV)

Zinc

3%

The whole content of taro is packed with dietary fiber which boosts your digestive health. Fiber is also believed to prevent bloating, indigestion, diabetes, constipation, and cramp as well.

Assorted vitamins in taro can exert multifunctional effects on your health. Vitamin C bolsters your immune system, while vitamin A and E join hands to improve your complexion. Vitamins along with antioxidants enhance your vision whilst reducing risks of cancer and macular deterioration.

Potassium maintains cardiovascular function that regulates the heart and prevents risks of heart attacks.

Is Taro Safe For Everyone?

notes when using taro

While taro packs more nutritions than potatoes, it’s also richer in calories. So make sure to eat taro in moderation to avoid excess weight gain.

Taro can’t be eaten raw since the presence of calcium oxalate can cause kidney stones. Yet calcium oxalate and the toxins from pesticides inside taro can be controlled by steeping it into water overnight and double boiling.

If you have sensitive skin, always wear gloves while peeling taro skins since it can make you itchy and rash.

Bottom Line

Taro is eaten the most for its corms and roots. They taste like a perfect blend of potatoes and sweet potatoes with a slimmer texture. So what does taro taste like? It's neither too sweet nor too bland and very pleasant tasting.

Boiled taro can be a sole delicacy when served with white sugar or some kind of broth. Taro can also be mashed to make great desserts. If you incorporate taro into meat stews and soups, it complements the texture and the stock excellently.

Taro dishes have many fusion versions through every nook and cranny of the world. So mind sharing with us your country's recipes?

Kevin Richard
 

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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