— a culinary journal —

Tasty Sides: Skillet Roasted Taro Root


I love Hawaii. I’ve been there twice with my family and have visited most of the islands. My favorite island is Kauai, especially the northern Princeville area. It is so exotic and peaceful.  I miss the the beautiful beaches, mountains, waterfalls, lush landscape, palm trees, shave ice, cold coconut, quaint farmers markets and fields of……taro plants!

You know that fuzzy looking root vegetable in the small speciality section of your grocery store? That’s taro. Taro is a pretty key crop in Hawaii and has a lot of cultural/historical significance there. It’s also a part of many other cuisines in the world, especially in Asia.

Here they are. I know, not so pretty. Wait until they are cooked…


Taro is often fried in South Indian cuisine. Since I like to minimize deep frying, this recipe calls for skillet roasting.


About a dozen small taro roots

2 tablespoons garbanzo bean flour (aka gram flour)

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons peanut oil or light olive oil (not extra virgin)

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/8 teaspoon asafoetida powder

5-6 curry leaves (optional)


Heat a pot of water on the stovetop. When the water boils add the whole taro roots. Cook for 15-20 minutes- until the taro is cooked. Be careful not to overcook as taro can get real smushy real fast 🙂


When the taro roots are cooked, remove from the water and peel there skins. You can do it with your hands. The peels should easily come off. I know… still not so pretty 🙂


Slice them into medium size disks.


Spread them in a pan so they can be seasoned. Add the garbanzo flour, chili powder and salt. Mix well.


Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. When the mustard starts popping add the taro roots and stir.


Cook, uncovered, until all the taros are crispy. Adjust the salt/chili powder to taste.


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