Friday, May 7, 2010

Can you guess the edible plant?

Here's the plant...

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Here it is in a sweet pastry form...

Here it is in drink form...

What do you think the edible is?

Take a guess, then click on comments for the answer and more info. And while you're at it, why not leave a comment?? :)


  1. The answer is: TARO. The biggest tipoff? The purple color. Taro is also known by many other names - we’ve eaten taro in St. Lucia, though I never made the connection since the St. Lucians call it dasheen. Photo #1 is a slightly sweet, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth pastry from one of my favorite Chinese bakeries. The drink in photo #2 is taro-flavored bubble tea - a sweet, creamy Chinese drink made with a tea base and with chewy tapioca “bubbles”. Bubble tea cafes have made their way to most major cities by now. My favorite flavors are: coconut, almond, black tea, or “lover’s special” (1/2 tea, ½ coffee). Yum. But I digress.

    Taro is typically harvested for their edible corms. Keep in mind the corms cannot be eaten raw. I think in sweet form, taro tends to taste sort of coconutty. It’s probably an acquired taste, but now that I have finally acquired it, I have acquired it like gangbusters.
    You may have had taro in the form of chips… I think most major grocery stores sell these and other unique chips made by Terra. The taro chip tastes very close to a regular potato or sweet potato chip. I have been eating fried taro dumplings in dim sum restaurants my whole life. It is just delicious, and the taro is so subtle, it’s mostly texture with a hint of taste. This website shows how to make it. Just look at the photo and imagine the play of textures and tastes. Yum. But I keep digressing.

    So taro. Have you had it? Have you seen it? Will you try it?

  2. It is all new to me...I would try it!

  3. Here, we call it yam. We use yam in the following ways:

    1. dim sum -
    (a) fried yam balls with stuffing of green peas and meat called 'wu kok'
    (b) yam cakes

    2. cullinary -
    (a) yam stewed with duck and 5 spice powder,
    (b) a restaurant dish called Yam Basket or 'Buddha enjoying the incense' (Fat Pew Heong)
    (c) a Hakka dish called 'kow yuk' - port stew with yam
    (d) yam rice - yam is cooked in rice

    3. Bo Bo Cha Cha desert, best boiled with pandan leaves and with coconut milk added.

    4. Fried yam slices with batter and Chinese New Year 'nin kol'. Also yam chips.

    5. The locals here also like to add yam (flavour ?) to confectioneries like cakes, moon cakes and ice cream.

    Wow, before I list down these, I didn't know we can use yam in so many ways! Have you tried any of the above?

    Happy Mother's Day!

  4. I had never even heard of it before. Very interesting. There is probably so many plants out there we rarely hear of that are delicious. Thanks for enlightening me. Have a happy mother's day.

  5. So that what a taro plant looks like. Thank you for sharing.

    I have never ever tired it. hard to come by in the U.K, unless of course it is in a tin - mmmm - don't think that would tempt me.

  6. I actually thought that the plant was blueberries, but I also thought that that answer seemed too obvious. I didn't know that taro was purple. I have had it before in bubble tea. Yum!

  7. Oops I am too late for this yam ;-) The sweet pastry you are holding looks like a Shanghai mooncake pastry. Looks yummy. I like yam in cold layed cakes.

  8. Hi Wendy, i am amused by that post. Taro (Colocasia sp)actually has many species and lots of varieties per species. In addition to what Autumn Belle enumerated, the leaf sheaths (stalks) and the leaves can also be eaten in a specialty dish of one of the regions in the Philippines (Bicol region). They half dry it in the shade, then cook it in coconut milk with additional either fish or meat and spices. We call the dish as "laing". But of course the main eaten plant part is the what you say corm, or botanically called tubers or tuberous roots, which is basically rich in carbohydrates.

  9. I guess Autumn Belle had covered all the expects of Taro served in my place (lol)

    But basically I have noticed that these varieties had very much used for landscape rather than culinary purpose. And often - very much growing anywhere & everywhere as long as there are a little clumps of soil, water & humidity.

  10. Glad people could learn something new - including myself! Thanks for these great and informative comments!

  11. Tough dilemma indeed. I wouldn't want to put that much work and effort onto myself. I wouldn't have the time to keep maintaining the area. best, talk to the neighbor and tell them your concern and what you hope to change. And at worst, they'll think you're crazy and a garden freak. I would talk to the neighbor and set a time for both sides to work together to declutter the backyard. I'd tell them the weeds problems and suggest politely that they need to contribute to helping keep the place clean.

  12. In past years we've sometimes hit the local Asian grocers for some taro. I love it chopped up and fried with onions and garlic, and what uncooked tubers we don't eat we'd plant in moist dirt and then place the pots in the pond. Not quite free tropical plants, but close.

  13. Oops, I'm too late for the quiz, but I recognized the taro right away (yes, I did).

    In India, the leaves are used in a dish called Patra. The leaves are coated with a thick batter of chickpea flour and spices, rolled up, steamed, then sliced, pan-fried and garnished with more spices. If this sounds like a lot of work, it is. We buy them ready-made in the freezer case at Indian grocery stores.

    And then there's a starchy dish called kichidi made with tapioca pearls, but the pearls are larger than the ones for bubble tea.


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