Food & Drink

12 Taro Recipes That Will Have You Craving All Things Purple

You'll be craving all things purple.
02/02/2015 07:00am ET | Updated February 6, 2015

Looking to broaden your starch horizons? Meet taro root, the potato's hairy, kind of unfortunate-looking cousin.

A post shared by INSPIRALIZED (@inspiralized) on

Okay, this lil guy is kind of cute.

The taro plant is a tropical plant with large green leaves. Its root is starchy and high in fiber and is most often compared to a sweet potato or yam with pleasantly purple insides. While the plant originated in Asia (it is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants), it is particularly popular in many Pacific Islands, where it became a dietary staple.

Anyone who's ever been to a Hawaiian luau, for instance, might remember the unfortunate-looking poi, which is taro root pounded into a paste. While its similarity to purple/gray wallpaper paste scares many away, poi is high in iron and calcium and is thought to be a great probiotic and baby food.

Taro powder is a more popular, if a bit more processed, way of incorporating taro (and vibrant purple coloring) into baked goods and sweets like bubble tea and ice cream. But while the purple powder is fun for aesthetics, it doesn't take advantage of most of the root vegetable's versatility.

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A tower of taro-flavored soft serve in Taiwan.

When it comes to soaking up flavors, taro is the MVP of the tuber world. It can be prepared in a number of ways, but be sure to thoroughly cook it -- it is known to cause irritation and itchiness when handled or consumed raw.

If you're looking for some recipes that use the real stuff, here are some of our top picks:

1
Homemade Taro Chips
Little Ferraro Kitchen
Get the Homemade Taro Chips recipe by Little Ferraro Kitchen
2
Taiwanese Taro Swirl Mooncakes
Joy Huang
Get the Taiwanese Taro Swirl Mooncakes recipe by The Cooking of Joy
3
Crispy Taro Pancakes
i am a food blog
Get the Crispy Taro Pancakes recipe by i am a food blog
4
Purple Taro with Coconut
Little Ferraro Kitchen
Get the Purple Taro with Coconut recipe by Little Ferraro Kitchen
5
Miso-Ginger Glazed Taro Noodles and Shrimp with Scallions and Pea Shoots
Inspiralized
6
Taro Cheesecake
maameemoomoo
Get the Orh Nee Cheesecake recipe from maameemoomoo
7
Chili Lime Taro Fries
Red Shallot Kitchen
Get the Chili Lime Taro Fries recipe by Red Shallot Kitchen
8
Taro Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adventures In Cooking
Get the Taro Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe by Adventures In Cooking
9
Taro Pumpkin Buns
Food4Tots
Get the Taro Pumpkin Buns recipe by Food4Tots
10
Arbi Ki Sabji
Shweta in the Kitchen
Get the Arbi Ki Sabji recipe by Shweta in the Kitchen
11
Taro Slab Pie
Lady and Pups
Get the Taro Slab Pie recipe by Lady and Pups
12
Grain & Nut-Free Layer Cake
Studio Snacks
Get the Grain & Nut-Free Layer Cake recipe from Studio Snacks

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Root Vegetables