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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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