Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vegan MoFo 19- What is Taro? Sweet potato? Lotus Root?

What is Taro? Sweet potato? Lotus Root?
Taro is a carbohydrate rich vegetable with a rough, dark outer skin and white flesh inside with pink/purple veins running through it. It's eaten a lot by Pacific Islanders but many countries have adopted it. It's also great for you- rich in fibre, iron, Vit A, C, potassium and magnesium and calcium but must be cooked. You can eat the taro leaves in the same way as spinach and cook the flesh in almost any way- pretty much the same as a potato, just peel the tough outer skin. Taro can also be used in desserts, a complete all-rounder.   If you buy it sliced store it in the fridge but whole it can be stored in the cupboard.
Sweet Potato or Kumara, the large, starchy, tuberous root vegetable comes in white, purple (white inside), orange, red and yellow. Sometimes mistakenly called yam (yams are larger and brown with white flesh) this root veg is amazingly sweet naturally. They can be roasted, made into chips, mashed, fried, steamed, baked, eaten raw and lend themselves to both sweet and savoury dishes.
Lotus root or renkon is the crunchy, starchy fibrous root of the lotus plant. You can find it fresh, vacuum packed, frozen in slices, canned and pickled. You can technically eat the young roots raw in thin crunchy slices but it's almost always cooked. Peel the root to remove the slightly bitter skin then slice to reveal the beautiful cross section of inner holes. If you're using the lotus root in a dish where you wish it to stay crunchy you only need to boil it for a couple of minutes but if you want you can stirfry, deep fry, mash or bake it. Just be aware that the longer you cook it the more starchy it becomes.
Here's my list of vegetables to try next! I have no idea what some of them are but I'm going to find out!
Actually I know what these ones are- Bitter Melon. They're supposed to be very good for you but the one and only time I tried them they were SO bitter I had to pick them out... I think I need to follow a good recipe next time. I'll let you know if I find a yummy way to get their nutritional benefit. Any ideas are more than welcome!
I tend to just roast taro or make chips with it so I don't have a recipe for it and I don't use lotus root (to be honest I didn't like the lotus nuts and stopped there) but sweet potato is a favourite of mine- whichever colour! Here are some recipes you can use these root vegetables in.
I hope you give something new a try, there are some great options available  What vegetables are on your to-try list?
All the best,

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1 comment:

  1. I've just planted some taro in my garden :) I can't wait for it to grow - I have a taro ice cream recipe that I want to try!


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