The scientific name of taro roots is Colocasia esculenta. Taro roots are considered as the first cultivated plants in human culture and it was originally cultivated in Asia.
taro root is a starchy root vegetable originally cultivated in Asia but now enjoyed around the world. Taro roots are also called “elephant ears” because of the shape of its broad leaves. It has brown outer skin and white flesh with purple specks throughout. It is the thick, tuber stalk of the taro plant is an important part of global cuisines and diets. Taro root features a starchy texture and gentle, slightly sweet style, kind of like sweet potato. It may be employed in each sweet and savory dish. Each year Hawaiian celebrates annual taro food competition in April once their kids learn to pound corms to create dish (a quite taro paste).
Health benefits of taro roots are the ability to improve digestion, lower blood sugar levels, prevent certain types of cancers, protect the skin, enhance vision, increase circulation, decrease blood pressure, aid the immune system, and prevent heart disease, while also supporting muscle and nerve health.
May Help Control Blood Sugar
Taro roots contain fiber and starch which helps in controlling blood sugar levels which helps in controlling diabetes.
May Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
Taro roots reduce the risk of heart disease, lowers cholesterol level as it contains resistant starch and fiber.
May Offer Anticancer Properties
Taro roots reduce the risk of cancer, protects from free radical damage as it contains polyphenols.
May Help You Lose Weight
Taro roots contain fiber and resistant starch which helps to maintain body weight. It helps to stop your cravings from eating more by making you feel fuller for longer.
Good for Your Gut
Taro roots are beneficial for gut health as it contains a significant amount of fiber and resistant starch. It also promotes the growth of good bacteria in the body. Taro roots also promote digestive health and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Taro roots contain a high level of dietary fiber which promotes gastrointestinal health, digestive health. It also prevents constipation, bloating, cramping, diarrhea and excess gas.
Taro roots prevent free radicals, macular degeneration, cataracts and promote vision health as it is full of antioxidants like beta-carotene and cryptoxanthin.
Taro roots contain lots of vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin E which promotes healthy skin by healing wounds faster, bringing the glow to the skin, reducing skin conditions and boosting cellular health.
Boosts Immune System
Taro roots contain vitamin C which helps to boosts our immune system. It helps to promote the formation of WBC and prevents the development of many diseases.
Taro roots contain copper and iron which reduces the risk of anemia, increases metabolic activity and circulation throughout the body. It also increases the oxygen levels throughout the body which helps to work all the organs of the body at their optimal levels. Taro roots prevent fatigue and promote the growth of new cells in the body.
Taro roots can be eaten at any time of day. It goes well with every food item.
Nutritional Value of Taro Root
Taro roots lots of nutrients which are very beneficial for the body. It contains a good amount of iron, copper, protein, zinc, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, folate and vitamin A, C, E and B6 in it.
Ways to use taro roots
Taro roots can be used in a variety of ways
- Taro chips: Thinly slice taro and bake or fry into chips.
- Hawaiian poi: Steam and mash taro into a purple-hued puree.
- Taro tea: Blend taro or use taro powder in bubble tea for a beautiful purple drink.
- Taro buns: Bake sweetened taro paste inside buttery pastry dough for dessert.
- Taro cakes: Mix cooked taro with seasonings and pan fry until crispy.
- In soups and stews: Cut taro into chunks and use in brothy dishes.
- The corm taro can be used in a variety of preparations. In Hawaii, the boiled root is ground into a sticky paste known as poi.
- Kaulau, a traditional Polynesian coconut pudding dessert in which, boiled dasheen is mixed with coconut milk and brown sugar.
- The corms are also employed in the preparation of burgers, bread, flakes, pancakes, muffins, chips, flour, cookies, ice cream, etc.
- Taro leaves used in soups, pakora (known as pathrode in some parts of coastal South India).
How to buy and store taro roots
Buy taro roots that are medium in size, fresh, firm and feels heavy in hand according to their size. Do not buy taro roots that have cracks, spots or show sprouts at the scales. Taro greens can be stored in the refrigerator. Do not store taro roots at the refrigerator as they can sustain chilling injuries. They can be stored in a cool, dark and well-ventilated place.
Uses of taro roots
Besides culinary uses, other uses of taro roots are
- The corm peelings and leaves of taro are sometimes fed to pigs. Boiled taro corms are also fed to weanling pigs to give them energy.
- The petioles and leaves of the plant can be used to make dyes for kappa (bark cloth).
- In Africa, the leaf stalk of taro has been used for plaiting.
- The corms and cormels are used by the paper industry and for the manufacturing of medicinal tablets.
- The plant is used in garden and lawn landscaping for aesthetic purposes.
Season in which taro roots is available
Taro roots are available in the month of June.
How to make Masala Arbi
- 7-8 medium-sized taro root (boiled, Arbi)
- 3 Tbsp oil
- 1/2 tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1/8 tsp asafetida (Hing)
- 1 Tbsp coriander powder (dhania)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric (haldi)
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- 2 green chilies (sliced)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp mango powder (amchoor)
- Wash arbi before boiling and do not over boil the arbi as they become very slimy. I prefer to boil arbi in a pot so that it is easy to check if they are cooked. Arbi should be firm, and the knife should go through effortless.
- Peel the skin and slice them into about 1/8” thick rounds. Set aside.
- In a small bowl mix turmeric, coriander powder, and red chili powder with 1/4 cup of water to make a paste. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a wide pan over medium heat, the oil should be moderately hot, (when you add the cumin seed to oil it should crack right away).
- Add carom seeds, and cumin seeds as cumin seeds crack add asafetida,
- Stir and add spice paste stir for about 30 seconds till oil starts separating from the oil.
- Add green chili stir for few seconds.
- Add arbi spreading over the pan, sprinkle the salt, and mango powder gently fold the arbi with spice mix, all the barbies should be coated well with spices. Making sure arbies are not sticking to each other.
- Sautée them over medium heat till they are lightly brown both sides. Turning them occasionally gently. This should take about 8-10 minutes.
How to make Cheppankizhangu Roast
- 4 medium Taro root
- 1 tbsp Salt
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp Hing/asafoetida
- 1 sprig Curry leaves
- 4-6 tbsp oil
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds For seasoning/tempering
Cook the taro root till it’s fork-tender, but not overcooked. I pressure cook it in steam (meaning there’s no water added) for about 8 minutes, the same time it takes to cook white rice. I keep rice in the bottom of the cooker, put a plate on it, and keep the taro on the plate. If cooking in a microwave, you might have to cook it in water and check every few minutes to make sure it’s not overcooked.
After they cool, peel them, and chop into small pieces
Add the salt, chili powder, curry leaves, and hing, and a few drops of oil and mix with a spoon or shake with a lid on, to evenly coat the taro pieces with the spices
Heat oil in a kadai/vaanali, and splutter the mustard seeds
Add the taro mixture, and fry on low to medium heat, turning every few minutes so they crisp evenly. About 8 minutes
Take off the heat. Serve with rice, any dal/sambar, or rasam
Eating an amounts amount of taro roots can lead to weight gain. It also has a high amount of carbohydrates which can lead to type2 diabetes if taken in large amounts. Other no risks have been found in consuming taro roos.
Taro roots fun facts
1. It’s suggested that taro originated in South Central Asia, but slowly spread across the globe.
2. By 100 B.C. it was being grown in China and Egypt.
3. Taro is characterized by two distinct varieties based on its form: the dasheen and eddoe.
4. In ancient Hawaiian tales, taro is described as a child who grew into a plant and eventually helped create the human race.
5. Taro was once used as a medicine, due to its suggested healing powers.
6. Its starchy corms (swollen underground plant stem) and cormels comprise the edible content of this leafy, root vegetables.
7. Mere physical contact with the raw taro corm results in itchiness, and consumption of the raw corm will cause an itchy throat.
8. Taro plants usually require a considerable amount of moisture to grow, and thus taro thrives best in extremely wet or flooded conditions.
9. Taro leaves contain a high amount of protein and are usually boiled and mixed with condiments.
10. Geographically, the most widespread form of taro is the almighty taro chip.
11. Taro can be purchased in powder form, which is an ideal ingredient for sweet teas and smoothies.