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.