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How to cook taro root using a pressure cooker

This simple recipe explains how to cook taro with a pressure cooker. If you don’t have a pressure cooker you can boil it, but it takes much longer 1-2 hours. You must be careful to fully cook all parts of the taro plant because it contains calcium oxalate. This will make your mouth feel numb, itchy, scratchy and very uncomfortable, with possibly worse side effects if you eat too much or are very sensitive.

Taro, or known in Hawaii as Kalo, is an amazing plant. The roots, stems and leaves are all edible and have unique distinct character.  It is also extremely nutritionally dense. Compared to a potato, the taro root has more fiber and is a good source of calcium, potassium, and Vitamins C, E and Bs as well as trace minerals.

Taro is most known in Hawaii for Poi, a slightly fermented paste of cooked and mashed taro. However, taro is used to make many more things. You can dehydrate it and make flour, you can eat the steam stems as a vegetable, and the cooked greens are versatile in curries, wrapped around meat, in soups etc. This staple crop for tropical climates cannot be over estimated.

Recipe for how to cook taro with a pressure cooker

 

Equipment: Pressure cooker and steam basket to go with it.

Steps:

  1. Wash and scrub taro. I like to peel mine before I cook it because I feel like the scruffy skin would clog my pressure cooker. However, many others like to scrub it real good and clean the skin off after it is cooked.
  2. Cut into fist size pieces
  3. Place steam basket in pressure cooker
  4. Fill water up to right below the steam basket
  5. Place taro into basket and secure the lid
  6. Bring to pressure (you will notice the steam start coming out)
  7. Reduce to medium heat and cook 30-45 minutes depending on how much you have in there and how big the pieces are.
  8. Turn off the heat and let it cool for 10 or more minutes
  9. Release the pressure and wait until all steam has been released.
  10. Open the pressure cooker, the taro should be soft, showing a few cracks, and also be easy to slice with a knife.

There are so many ways to prepare taro. We just started harvesting them on our farm and have done little experimenting. One easy way to prepare cooked taro is just to slice it and fry it in a shallow pan with 2 tablespoons or so of oil. Just add a little salt and pepper to each side and fry each side until crispy (about 3 minutes on each side). Another recipe that we’ve made several times is our taro millet vegetable burger recipe.

 

I also found these recipes while doing a few searches.

http://www.quericavida.com/recipes/taro-root-fritters/d9c2d0c4-9bb5-4d14-959c-1f1a1a8203e4

http://raygrogan2-ivil.tripod.com/tarogrowcookeat/id9.html

http://www.kumuainafarm.com/taro-kalo-burgers/

If you like eating tropical starches that are easy to grow and gluten free- you may also like breadfruit. Here is a link to my breadfruit pancakes.

Ulu
Ulu (breadfruit) pancakes
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Taro Millet Veggie Burger

Taro or Kalo is a Hawaiian/Polynesian staple root crop. It can also be found in many places of the world. It is usually a light-medium purple in color, and has a starchy and uniquely earthy flavor. The corms (root balls), stems and leaves can all be eaten. All of these plant parts need to be cooked for a long period of time to prevent serious irritation: the leaves and stems need to be cooked for at least 45 minutes in pressure cooker, cooking the taro root or corm in a pot takes 3-4 x as long (see note  1 & 2).

Many traditional dishes made are with kalo. In Hawaiian culture the most popular are poi (a fermented mashed taro root) and kulolo (a dessert made of mostly taro and coconut milk). However, recently in tropical locales, restaurants and home cooks are developing their version of the taro burger. Maui Taro Burgers is the first large scale commercial source to make it into whole food and health food stores throughout the state of Hawaii. So I am on the mission to perfect my own taro burger recipe.

taro_banana_food_forest_feb_2017 Kalo planted in our food forest
large purple taro corm in groundPurple Taro corm in the ground

washed large taro corm

This recipe is still under construction. I’ve made it 2x now with similar delicious results. Please provide comments and helpful tips : )

Taro millet garden vegetable burger recipe

yield: 15-20 veggie patties

ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked and mashed taro
  • 1 cup dry millet, cooked
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (e.x. spelt) for mixing in dough and another 1+ cup for dusting burgers (about 3 cups total, can make this gluten free if you use a comparable gluten free flour).
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 onion, 2 stalks celery, 2 small carrots diced fine, 1/2 cup diced red pepper, 4 medium garlic cloves
  • handful chopped parsley and basil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons non-gmo soy sauce or tamari
  • Several tablespoons of refined coconut oil

steps for cooking and preparing the taro/kalo

  1. Wash and peel kalo/taro, cut into large pieces (the size of palm is fine, 1-2 inch thick) and place in pressure cooker with water 1 inch covering the kalo.roughly chopped and peeled taro
  2. Bring to pressure (about 10 minutes on high), reduce heat to simmer  (low-medium) and cook about 45 minutes until soft
  3. let cool 2o minutes and then release pressure, once cool enough to handle drain water and mash either by hand, or by blender (I use an immersion blender for easy clean up and low waste).

steps for preparing veggie burger batter

  1. In the meantime, sauté onion, celery, carrots, red pepper in olive oil until soft. Once cooked add herbs and wilt. remove from heat
  2. In a bowl combine eggs,  1 cup flour, mashed taro, and sautéed veggies, add salt and pepper, and 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce (we use non-gmo, organic tamari).
  3. Fold in millet. At this point the batter will be loose. You can add in a little more flour if it is very very loose, but don’t over do it because you will dust them in a lot of flour in the next step. taro millet batter
  4. Pour about 1/2 cup of dusting flour onto plate. Plop a large spoonful of batter into pile of flour and cover it, then gently pick it up and toss in your hands to create a patty. Place immediately and carefully into hot pan with good amount of refined coconut oil. taro burger in flourtaro burger dusted in pan
  5. Add more flour to the dusting plate as necessary, and continue to add the patties to the pan.  Fry on medium (or medium to low heat) for about 5 minutes on each side. The outside will develop a nice, golden brown crust. After frying they may still be a little mushy inside. If you prefer them more firm you can transfer your batch to the oven. Bake on 300-350 degrees F for 30 or so minutes.taro millet burgers pan fry
  6. Cool and stack in-between wax paper for best storage results. You can freeze for a few months.

 

Notes:
  1. In general, the taro refers to the widely variable species named, Colocasia esculenta (i.e. edible in latin), which are grown primarily for its roots or corms, and then its leaves. Taro is related to ornamental plants like  Xanthosoma and Caladium, and is often mistaken for elephant ear. elephant ear has a similar leaf and root shape but the root grow more above ground and is skinner and the shape of the “heart” in the leaf is more disjointed. Elephant ear may have been considered a famine food as it needs to  be boiled for many hours before it is safe to eat.
  2. The irritant in uncooked taro is the result of calcium oxalate, tiny crystals of a natural pesticide.  This info is from http://everythingisscience.blogspot.com/2007/01/why-does-taro-make-your-throat-itch.html and http://www.molokaihealthguide.com/healthtalk/display.htm?id=34
  3. This is a picture of purple taro root keikis, or starts that can be used to replant the same variety of taro : ) purple_taro_keiki
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Indian spiced eggplant (Baingan Bharta) with chickpeas and raisins

We are blessed right now to have eggplants coming out of our ears!!! (or just choke on our plants). So…I invoked this recipe from my repertoire. This recipe is a slight twist on the many variations of Indian dish Baingan Bharta.

All Baingan Bharta recipes have many ingredients in common: eggplant, onions,  tomatoes, ginger, pepper and garlic. Many add garam masala, coriander, turmeric, etc.  I learned to make this during my very first vegan phase in my early early 20’s. To make it heartier (more protein) I started adding chickpeas, and to counterbalance the heat in it, I favored adding a few plump raisins at the end. So in reality it is a bit far from any Baingan Bharta you would order at an authentic Indian restaurant, but in my opinion mo betta!

 

Recipe for Indian spiced eggplant (Baingan Bharta) with chickpeas and raisins

 

Servings: 4+ (~1 cup each)

eggplant

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 medium size eggplants

katies tropical kitchen

  • 1-2 medium-large tomatoes (chopped fine)
  • 1 large onions (chopped fine)
  • 1 Hawaiian chili pepper (chopped fine)
  • 5 garlic cloves chopped fine
  • 2 inch (½ in diameter or so)piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 inch(¼ inch diameter or so) piece of turmeric grated
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 and ½ cup (or to liking) cooked chickpeas

ingredients for baingan bharta

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lay eggplant on baking sheet, pierce eggplant to help let out steam.
  2. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes and then turn over. Bake another 15 minutes or so until a knife enters easily skin starts to separate from the flesh of the eggplant
  3. Once cooled peel eggplant and roughly chop and mush
  4. Heat oil in large sauté pan (med-high heat) and add onions until they start to become soft, stirring very often
  5. Add ginger, garlic, and turmeric and stir constantly for less than 1 minute
  6. Add tomatoes, cumin, and garam masala and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for a time until tomatoes incorporate themselves into onions mixture.
  7. Add eggplant and mush a bit with your spatula or mixing spoon, allow to heat up and cook another 5 minutes or so on medium heat.
  8. For the last 5 minutes add chickpeas and raisins.
  9. Enjoy warm with rice, alone, over greens, or with naan, etc.

2016-05-13 17.36.49.jpg2016-05-13 17.40.00.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Creamy macadamia nut dressing

This creamy macadamia nut dressing recipe is Adam’s creation. It is essentially one of the only dressings we make because it is so satisfying. It also has many different applications besides salad. For example, we use it mixed with pasta as the sauce, we use it in our tacos, on top of our shepard’s pie, to dip our carrots in and more. The texture is silky, with a slight tang, a subtle sweetness and a strange taste resemblance to bacon. Adam says it reminds him of the secret sauce commonly used in fast food restaurants. Yet, this recipe is vegan, gluten-free, gmo-free, and extremely delicious.

Macadamia nuts are the local choice for nuts or seeds in Hawaii. They also have a unique set of nutritional benefits. Firstly, it is an excellent source of energy as it has one of the highest caloric values for the seeds/nuts (100g is 718 calories). They are high in fiber and are naturally gluten-free. Additionally, macadamia nuts are packed with minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc), antioxidants, and vitamins (especially B-complex vitamins, with smaller amounts of Vitamin A and Vitamin E. Macadamia nuts are also a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and palmitoleic acid. These are known  to help lower total LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL or good cholesterol.

Recipe for creamy macadamia nut dressing:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mac nuts (or other creamy nut, like cashews)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce (non-gmo and gluten-free)
  • 1/4 of a medium red bell pepper
  • 4-6” sprig of rosemary (stem removed)
  • 1/2 – 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons dijon mustard

Steps:

Blend ingredients together in blender, slowly adding water until creamy consistency is achieved. Add salt if necessary.

 Ideas for a salad:

Salad: (use as many as you have, but at least 3).

  • Chopped mixed lettuces
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Carrot slices (use a peeler to achieve thin strips)
  • Beet slices, same method as above
  • Sliced radish
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Fresh corn
  • Sprouts
  • Raisins
  • Chopped apples

Resources:

  1. http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/macadamia-nut.html
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Raw carrot and beet salad with tahini dressing

My brother Dan brought this recipe beet salad with tahini dressing into my life. Him and his girlfriend used to make this often. To get me involved they started asking for my help making the dressing. After I had made the tahini dressing just a few times in their presence, they made me do it from ever on, which was how I built my confidence in making salad dressings. It is so creamy and yummy, it perfectly balances the earthiness of the raw beets and the sweetness of the carrots.

If you need a good way to include raw beets in your diet, this is it. It is also a great way to use raw carrots and beets from your garden. Guests are amazed at how good it tastes. Most people eating this salad recipe eat way more beets in one sitting than they ever would have. Remember, tahini is from ground sesame’s so anyone with an allergy to this should be warned  : )

If you looking for another way to use raw beets and carrots, juicing them has amazing health benefits. My very favorite homemade fresh juice is carrot apple beet juice with ginger. Afterwards I often use the pulp to make pulp bread.

If you like beets and sweets you should check out my killer recipe for beet brownies and also my healthy carrot cake recipe.

Raw carrot and beet salad with tahini dressing

Yield: 4-6 servings

Equipment: Food processor or other method for grating beets and carrots (e.x. mandoline slicer, spiralizer, cheese grater), and a blender for dressing.

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 10 medium-large carrots
  • 2-3 beets
  • Lettuce or mixed baby greens

Tahini dressing ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup (or more water)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt
  • optional: add a little goat cheese to make it creamy

Steps:

  1. First, prepare the dressing in blender by combining all ingredients until smooth.
  2. Next, grate the carrots and then the beets (easiest in food processor), if you wish squeeze a little lemon over them so the carrots keep their color.
  3. Place the carrots and beets in bowl and mix in the dressing, serve on top of lettuce or mixed baby greens (you will have more dressing than salad, dressing should stay good in refrigerator for about 5 days).

Resources on the Health Benefits of Beets, carrots, and tahini

  1. http://www.health.com/nutrition/beets-health-benefits
  2. https://www.almanac.com/blog/natural-health-home-tips/beets-health-benefits
  3. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/298585.php
  4. http://www.realfoodforlife.com/10-benefits-of-carrots-the-crunchy-powerfood/
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Hawaiian guacamole

 

This recipe is called Hawaiian guacamole because it uses items that grow well in Hawaii. As you notice in the picture below the avocado is 3 times the size of the avocados sold in mainland supermarkets. The cilantro is substituted for culantro, a very similar tasting, but not looking herb. You can use local onions, tomatoes, and a little bit of Hawaiian chili pepper to spice it up!

 

If you are looking for other ways to use an abundance of avocados check out these recipes:

Quick Salmon and Avocado Salad

Chocolate avocado mousse with banana

Green smoothie love

Recipe for Hawaiian guacamole

Hawaiian guacamole

Yield: 1-2 cups depending on size of your avo.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large buttery avocado (save the seed)
  • ¼ medium maui onion diced
  • 1 tomato (diced)
  • ½ lime (squeezed juice hold the seeds 🙂
  • Pinch + Hawaiian sea salt
  • Black pepper or Hawaiian Chili Pepper
  • Culantro

Steps:

  1. Mix all ingredients well
  2. Store with the seed (to keep the guacamole from oxidizing or from getting brown)
  3. Eat fresh or refrigerate
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Coconut oatmeal cookies

I love cookies and cookie dough and cookies. This recipe for coconut oatmeal cookies is made with coconut oil instead of butter. Therefore, this recipe is dairy-free for those who are sensitive to butter. Also, coconut oil is full of medium-chain fatty acids that aid in your overall health. As a rule I bake as much as I possibly can with coconut oil.

Because these cookies are made with coconut oil, don’t expect the same vibe as your typical oatmeal raisin cookies. This recipe is also designed to be less sweet than the typical cookie recipe. In general, this is also a great practice. Our world is now addicted to sugar. Our taste buds have evolved to expect super sweet baked items. Try gradually reducing the amount of sugar you put in your recipes. Your taste buds and bellies will be pleasantly surprised. Also, you can try reducing the sugar and putting a few drops of alcohol-free stevia, which is calorie-free and completely plant derived.

To make this recipe gluten-free, you can substitute the flour in this recipe with your favorite gluten-free flour mix. Alternatively, you could try substituting other flours like Spelt, Einkorn etc.

For other baked goods with coconut oil check out:

Banana chocolate macadamia nut cookies

Blueberry Banana Spelt Muffins

Healthy Cornbread with Coconut Oil

Cinnamon buns with coconut oil and macadamia nut frosting

Healthy oat flour banana bread with passionfruit cream cheese frosting

Recipe for Coconut Oatmeal Cookies:

Equipment: Oven and baking sheets

dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat
  • 1/4 cup white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • about 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • add 1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened is best)

wet ingredients:

  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

steps:

  1. Preheat oven to #50 degrees F, use coconut oil to lightly grease baking sheet.
  2. In medium bowl mix the dry ingredients (except the shredded coconut).
  3. Also, in another larger bowl mix the wet ingredients (including sugar or maple syrup).
  4. Then, in parts, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until thoroughly combined but not over mixed.
  5. Fold the coconut into the cookie batter
  6. Then, spoon the batter (about 1 inch) onto cookie sheets greased with coconut oil
  7. Finally, bake the cookies in oven at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes until browning on bottom and solid and almost golden on top.
  8. Let cool a few minutes and enjoy warm : )
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Breadfruit pancakes

Ulu

Breadbreadfruit tree fruitingfruit is a versatile starch grown on abundant trees in tropical and subtropical regions. The breadfruit tree’s yield is highly abundant, often producing over 200 pounds of fruit a year per tree. It is starchy, almost like potatoes when green and sweet and gooey when ripe. Breadfruit have notoriously poor shelf life, often only lasting 2-3 days from green to ripe once picked. they are usually stored in open air, and then refrigerated once ripe.

This recipe for breadfruit is for ripe, soft, mushy ulu. It is truly even more delicious than regular old wheat pancakes. If you’ve ever picked/bought a ride breadfruit or ulu, thinking you were going to bake, make chips etc., and the next day it’s practically mush, then this is the perfect recipe to try.

Breadfruit Pancake Recipe:

Materials:

  • Blender
  • Pan
  • Spatula

Ingredients:

breadfruit

ripe ulu or breadfruit weighing 1lb. 8 oz.

  • 1 small ripe ulu  about 1 and ½ pounds or 700 grams
  • 2 medium eggs
  • ⅓ cup milk (can substitute non-dairy milks like almond milk, etc.)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

 

Steps:

1) cut open ulu, discard middle and scoop as much ripe flesh as possible into a blender or small mixer

2014-06-29 07.48.42

2) add the rest of the ingredients

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3) blend all together until smooth. Consistency should be similar to pancake batter.

2014-06-29 08.15.42

4) heat pan on medium, add small amount of coconut oil

5) pour 1/4 cup or less batter into the pan, and turn heat to low.

(They are a little hard to flip over so I cover the pan with a lid and let the top cook with the trapped heat for about 3 minutes. It should puff up, and look yummy and fluffy)

2014-06-29 08.15.362014-06-29 08.27.04

6) turn to cook for another 2 minutes

2014-06-29 08.27.19

7) enjoy with maple syrup or honey

2014-06-29 08.52.01

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Layered ratatouille in a crockpot

Ratatouille is a traditional vegetarian dish that often resembles a thick stew and is made with summer vegetables such as eggplant, tomatoes, summer squash, onions. Bell peppers would also be a good addition. It was originally a French Provençal stewed vegetable dish from Nice. Other known names include ratatouille niçoise. The word ratatouille derives expressive forms of the French verb touiller, which means  “to stir up”.  This was dish was also popularized by Pixar. This recipe follows the deconstructed style of ratatouille perfectly pictured in the Pixar movie. Instead of a mixed stew with chopped veggies it is layered. I also utilize the crockpot or slow-cooker to achieve the perfect level of tenderness without sacrificing the perfect layered plating.

I suggest using the freshest local and organic ingredients available in your area.  In this recipe I use japanese eggplants, zucchini, and tomatoes grown in here in Hamakua and onions are from a neighboring island. I also use whatever herbs are growing in my garden. To finish I use a good cheese. My favorite is with Manchego but my hunny likes it most with goat cheese. This layered ratatouille in a crockpot is a beautiful vegetarian dish and you can throw it together in 20 minutes or less.

Recipe for Layered Ratatioulle in a Crockpot

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchini sliced thin
  • 2 medium Japanese eggplants sliced thin
  • 3-4 medium tomatoes sliced thin
  • 1 onion sliced thin
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • salt about ½ teaspoon
  • pepper about ½ teaspoon
  • cheese for topping (⅓ cup shredded per/person)
  • herbs used in Italian cooking (about 1/4 cup chopped fresh or 1-2 tablespoons dried) like oregano, cuban/mexican oregano, stick oregano, any kind of basil, rosemary, any kind of thyme.

 

Steps:

1) First layer the zucchini, eggplant, onion, and tomato in a slow-cooker.  I use my food processor to chop all items. It takes much less time than hand chopping.

layered ratatioulle in a crockpot

2) At this point, I grind in a blender (or chop if you prefer) any leftover vegetables, garlic and herbs, salt and pepper.

3) Then simply  pour the blended tomato sauce on top.

layered ratatioulle

4) Put the slow cooker on for 6-8 hours, on high for 4 hours (or a combination).

5) Serve the layered ratatouille topped with cheese, and along side pasta, bread, or as a side dish.

Let me know what you think or how you like to make ratatouille : )

2014-06-29 11.10.49

 

 

Resources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratatouille
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