I've walked past and had been intrigued by the funny-looking tuber called “taro” back in my childhood days when I accompany my mom to Sunday markets. Perhaps you’ve also asked yourself, “what does taro taste like?” whenever you see it at grocery stores or in menu lists.
Ever since I've eaten this purple-tinged root, I had developed a particular liking for it because it reminds me of lazy evenings back in Hawaii when my grandma would prepare chicken with taro fries instead of potato chips.
Well, I count myself lucky ‘because I’m one of the few who has tasted this terrific vegetable. For the rest of you, my readers, it's high time you figure out what taro tastes like and what can you do with it.
WHAT IS TARO?
The purple-hued taro plant, a native and one of the staples of Southeast Asia, India, Hawaii, Africa, and the Caribbean, features edible parts such as its enlarged tuberous roots and huge green leaves.
A word of caution: taro root and leaves should never be eaten raw because it's toxic to the body. It contains calcium oxalate which, when ingested, makes the mouth feel numb and cause choking. Boiling renders the compound inactive thus taro should first be cooked before consuming it.
Taro root may vary in size and color, with some having white flesh and the majority purple-flecked. Due to its starchy composition and almost similar flavor, the vegetable is commonly prepared much like a potato. However, taro is nuttier and more nutritious than potato, giving in a more complex flavor.
NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF TARO
Regarding nutritional benefits, taro is way healthier than its cousin, the potato. For one, it has the amount of fiber than potato thrice and is also a rich source of carbohydrates, magnesium, potassium, iron, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A.
It also benefits the body in some ways. That includes:
Improves Digestive Health
Boasting 27% dietary fiber is one single serving, taro root supports and promotes our gastrointestinal health. Fiber helps food move smoothly through the digestive tract, thereby preventing issues such as constipation, bloating, and cramping.
May Prevent Cancer And Diabetes
Since taro root contains various vitamins and phenolic antioxidants, it helps eliminate free radicals in the body which cause cellular damage. In fact, Cryptoxanthin, a pigment found in taro root, can lower an individual’s chance of developing lung and oral cancers.
Dietary fiber also plays a major role in diabetes prevention because it manages the body's glycemic levels, thereby regulating the release of insulin in the body.
Improves Heart Health
Taro root contains a significant amount of potassium which is crucial in relieving pressure on the body’s blood vessels and arteries. With the veins and vessels relaxed, the pressure is reduced, ultimately leading to a less stressed cardiovascular system.
The element has also been correlated with an increased cognitive function in which neural connections are boosted when blood pressure is lowered, hence the optimization of neural membranes.
WHAT DOES TARO TASTE LIKE?
We’re finally down to the real deal: what does taro taste like?
I've mentioned earlier how taro resembles potato in so many aspects including the taste. Taro has the same starchy texture like mashed potato (when cooked), but it doesn't have the same taste like potato.
Personally, I find taro to be more like sweet potato. It’s, in fact, sweet and nutty at the same time. Its taste is also reminiscent of vanilla.
For this reason, sweet taro has been an increasingly popular ingredient in delicious beverages and snacks like frozen yogurt, bubble tea, and tapiocas.
You’d hardly get a consistent answer when you ask people of their opinion on taro’s taste these days.
Some would also describe the larger varieties of taro to have a slightly meaty flavor as compared to the smaller varieties which are of the sweet kind.
In all of those I asked for taro’s taste, I don’t recall a single person who hates taro. I mean, it’s just like eating semi-sweet potatoes, right?.
Anyhow, always remember to cook it first before consuming to avoid accidents.
If you've just recently discovered this terrific root crop, here are some of the best taro recipes you'll be craving for.
BEST TARO RECIPES
Taro bubble tea is a variant of the pearl milk teas we've all loved. It's blended purple taro mixed with chewy tapioca pearls. Enjoy it as a healthy afternoon snack!
If you're into Asian desserts, you should try this one. It comes out as a thick, sweet soup that needs to be refrigerated and eaten the next day.
It's best served cold, and I guarantee that adults will love this one because it's very nutritious and won't give you diabetes – a breather from chocolate-based desserts.
Ditch potato fries for once in your life and switch to its healthier counterpart, the taro fries. The semi-sweet fries pairs perfectly well with spicy sriracha ketchup!
For this quite lengthy post, I now assume that you learned more about taro than just its taste. Again, it’s a bit sweet and nutty at the same time – more like a sweet potato.
This healthy tuber makes fabulous desserts and dishes too. Make sure to try the recipes we've listed for you!
Hey, home chef! What’s cooking? Have you ever tried taro before? What recipes have you tried with taro? Comment your suggestions and thoughts below! Don’t forget to share this post. Cheers!