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Notes From the Kona Coast: Coconut Baked Taro with Macadamia Nuts


Taro, dalo, dasheen, or cocoyam (Colocasia esculenta var. antiquorum)

ARACEAE, Arum Family

Taro is an important food crop to 100 million people living in the tropics. The entire plant is used in cooking. The large (up to 6 feet long) arrow-shaped leaves are a healthy leafy green that is usually eaten in soup, used to wrap other foods, boiled and served as a side dish or baked into caseroles. It’s quite delicious.

But today we are looking a bit lower than the tall erect leaves for our culinary inspiration. In fact we are digging under the soil to feature what is often called the root– taro root. It is the most culinarily important part of the plant, and it is the subject of today’s Coconut Baked Taro with Macadamia Nuts.

But before we get to the recipe I just have to share a little of what I learned about Taro while I have been in the Hawaiian Islands. First off, it is not actually a root but rather it is a corm– an erect, starchy, underground stem, which can grow to be over a foot long. It is often referred to as the potato of the tropics.

Notes From The Kona Coast: Mango Upside Down Cake with Macadamia Nuts

Mango Upside Down Cake with Macadamia Nuts

Yep. I am the kind of person who cooks on vacation. Especially if I am anywhere near a kitchen. Does that make me odd? I don’t think so. I think food is the quickest way to understand a new culture, so why not immerse myself in it.

Some people like to plop their butts down on the beach. And that’s just fine. I love the beach. But I love understanding a place just as much as vegetating in a place– so, as I said, I get into in the kitchen whenever I can.

To be fair this was not really a vacay kind of vacation. Because we are visiting friends who recently moved to Kona, HI. These friends like to eat and like to cook. So any time we spend together usually involves food and cooking. Oh yeah, and the card game Hearts. But, hey that’s just the kind of friends we are.

So, since I knew I was going to be in Hawaii and I knew I was going to be cooking I decided to bring my “A” game.

So one night late in our trip as I was laying in bed, I realized I had been awakened by an intoxicatingly sweet fragrance. Keep in mind this is Hawaii sweet aromas define the night air on the Big Island. I managed to drift fragrantly back to sleep, but I awoke the next morning hungry, happy and inspired to cook.