How to cook: Taro puffs

How to cook: Taro puffs

If you’re as much of a dim sum lover as I am, you must have tried just about every item on the dim sum cart. And you must have tried taro puffs at least once. Me? I rarely have dim sum without taro puffs. If it’s not on the cart and has to be ordered a la carte, I order them a la carte. That’s how crazy I am am about taro puffs. It’s been a long time ambition to make them at home but I was unable to muster enough courage until today.

There. The proof of my first attempt at cooking taro puffs. Granted they’re not perfect — I should have boiled the taro for another 10 minutes before draining and mashing them — but the first hurdle has been overcome. Fear. The fear that it’s too complicated for my cooking skills. I’ve thrown that fear our of the kitchen window. Or, perhaps, flushed it down the prep sink. Next time, it’ll be even better — bolder and better. Still, the first attempt is not bad at all. In fact, the taro puffs were pretty good — so good, I wondered what the fear was all about. Want to see how I cooked the taro puffs?

Makes 10 2-1/2 inch taro puffs.

Ingredients:

  • 500 g. of taro
  • 2 tbsps. of shortening (lard is traditional but I used Crisco)
  • 1 tbsp. of cornstarch dispersed in 2 tbsps. of warm water
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1 tsp. of sugar
  • pepper
  • a pinch of baking soda
  • a drizzle of sesame seed oil
  • additional cornstarch for dusting
  • about 2 c. of cooking oil for deep frying

For the filling:

  • 150 g. of ground pork
  • 1 tbsp. of cornstarch
  • 2 tbsps. of cooking oil
  • 2 to 3 tbsps. of frozen sweet peas
  • 1 finger chili, finely chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. of sesame seed oil
  • 1 tsp. of sugar
How to make taro puffs

First, peel the taro.

How to make taro puffs

Place the peeled taro in a pan, add enough water to cover, bring to the boil, cover and simmer until very tender. How tender? A fork or knife inserted at the thickest part of the largest piece should go through easily and without resistance.

Mash the boiled taro. Add the shortening, starch solution, sugar, salt, pepper, sesame seed oil and baking soda to mashed taro and mix well.

How to make taro puffs

Transfer the taro to a flat work surface and knead until pliable, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Place the kneaded taro in a bowl, cover with a damp towel to prevent it from drying, and let rest while you make the filling.

How to make taro puffs

To the ground pork, add 1 tbsp. of cornstarch and 1 tbsp. of water. Mix well.

Heat 2 tbsps. of cooking oil in a work, add the pork and cook, stirring, until it starts to brown. Season with salt, pepper and about 1 tsp. of sugar. Add the peas and chopped chili, continue cooking for another minute, pour in the sesame seed oil then turn off the heat.

Transfer the pork and peas mixture to a shallow bowl to allow to cool a bit.

How to make taro puffs

Place about 2 tbsps. of the taro mixture on the palm of your hand. Flatten and spread. Curve your hand to create a “bowl”. Spoon 1 tbsp. of the pork filling at the center of the taro mixture.

Gather the edges of the taro mixture and close to seal the pork filling.

How to make taro puffs

You now have one taro ball with pork and peas filling. Repeat until all the taro mixture has been used up.

Sprinkle the taro balls with cornstarch then start heating the cooking oil for deep frying.

How to make taro puffs

This is the stage where the taro balls become taro puffs. As the taro balls come in contact with the hot oil, the surface puffs as it turns crisp. Fry the taro balls over high heat until nicely browned. Drain on paper towels.

If you will look closely at the deep-fried taro balls, the surface of the taro balls is no longer smooth. Rather, there is a fine lace-like pattern all over. If you prefer a more pronounced lace-like pattern, make the taro mixture less stiff by adding more water and shortening.

A well made taro puff does not get squished when pierced with a fork. It shouldn’t be soggy either.

  • louhanna

    What’s taro? Pwede po pakipost ng pic nito? I love your blog(s). Learned a lot by reading your blog(s). Thank you po mam.

    • http://homecookingrocks.com Connie

      LOL I was supposed to post a taro entry ahead of this recipe but I got carried away. Too excited. In a while, I will.

    • http://thenoshery.com Meseidy

      We make these back home in Puerto Rico, we call them “Papa Rellena” it is basically mashed potatoes filled with beef and deep fried. They are delicious. Great pic!

      • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

        Those look good!

    • emy M

      I found taro as big as my arm in a Chinese store here and perfect for your lovely recipe.What a disaster! I over-cooked the
      taro. Some turned into starch,oh no! The filling was delicious.
      My daughter said that it looks like poi from Hawaii.
      Well,I have to try again.Not all dim sum restaurants here
      serve taro puffs(only upscale ones).Yours look like it was from a dimsum cart.Authentic.

  • Ed dela Cruz

    what is the best sauce for this recipe?

    • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

      Hoisin sauce.

  • http://Amoores.com JMom

    Oh I love taro puffs at dimsum too! I wonder if I can use frozen taro for this? tamad kasi eh :)

  • karen

    looks yummy! i will definitely make this soon. thanks, miss sassy!

  • Pingback: Clams, noodles, chicken, taro and a food column | Asian cooking | Home-cooking rocks!

  • http://homecookingrocks.com Connie

    Ay, I don’t know. In fact, I haven’t seen frozen taro.

  • vilmski

    I tried this recipe but failed….must be the frozen taro I’ve used, it turned green not creamy colour as you have in the photos. Bit dissappointed but by hubby and relatives still enjoyed them. Sooo looking forward to try your other recipes though, thanks for sharing us your culinary expert….very much appreciated.

  • http://homecookingrocks.com Connie

    We call the mashed potatoes version croquetas (“croquettes”). Imagine that. Another dish in common. Perhaps, it’s the shared Spanish colonization experience?

  • paw

    hi,where can i buy taro?and do you have sauce for this….tnx

  • http://homecookingrocks.com Connie

    Taro is gabi. You can buy it from any market.

    Hoisin sauce is the traditional accompaniment for taro puffs.

  • http://homecookingrocks.com Connie

    Ooohh and I thought I undercooked mine… :neutral:

  • ing

    hello…
    this is a nice recipe. :)
    can i use butter instead of shortening and any substitute for sesame seed oil?
    thank you.
    ingat… :p

  • http://homecookingrocks.com Connie

    Butter for the taro mixture? That might work but shortening or lard really makes the taro crust crispier. But if you mean for deep frying, you can’t deep fry in butter. At the temperature required to make the taro puff up, butter will burn.

    Re sesame seed oil. You can omit it if you don’t like it. The flavor and aroma will be different though.

  • dinemaster

    Thank you for posting the taro puff recipe. I tried it and they are superbly delicious!! The outside crust is very crunchy crispy and the inside is so full of texture. However, I wasn’t able to come up with the lacey/weblike texture of the taro crust just like the one shown in your photos. What do you think went wrong? Is it because of the taro I bought or something went wrong with the procedure that I followed. Please enlighten me… I can’t wait to try it again and this time I hope I can produce the lacey-like texture I’ve been longing to see. Thank you and more power to your blog!!

  • http://homecookingrocks.com Connie

    I’m not really sure. It might be the temperature of the oil or the taro was undercooked. But that’s just a guess.

  • Jon

    Very good step by step pictures! Do you know how to achieve the real flaky beehive outer layer effect as seen in the restaurants?

  • theresa

    hi Miss Connie,

    i would love to try this recipe..but im not familiar with Taro,how does it look it?can you please show me a picture,so i can try looking at the Asian store here.

    thanks

  • http://www.homecookingrocks.com Connie
  • missm

    Just make sure it cooks until it completely soft. Raw taro has toxins that will make mouth and throat numb. I prefer to steam taro instead of boiling. Then I have more control to make sure it is done without getting mushy and absorbing too much water.

  • jeck

    miss connie, ive tried this recipe last week.. disaster.. kasi po nung ipa fry ko n sya, the taro melted in the oil.i dont know what went wrong w/ the ingridients n ginmit ko, ung lard kaya? kaya nung hanguin ko n sya sa frying pan, para n syang giniling ng taro. pero sabi nmn ng hubby ko msarap. un nga lng hindi hugis bilog ang taro ko. hehehe

  • http://www.homecookingrocks.com Connie

    A lot of things could have gone wrong. How mushy the taro was. The oil may not be hot enough. And taro does not melt. It might disintegrate but it does not melt.

  • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

    Frozen taro?