So this week I wanted to try something completely new. I was looking around the web and found that there is a Taiwanese recipe for taro and sweet potato tapioca balls. The recipe didn’t specify the amount needed for the different ingredients so it was really based on my own judgement for the right texture.
I played around with the proportion using a small amount of the taro root that I bought until I got something that produced tapioca balls that were both very bouncy and had a good taro flavour. This process without a doubt left my kitchen in absolute disarray but hey, I got some pretty nice dessert taro tapioca balls to add to my next dessert.
Although I included a picture of the sweet potato tapioca nuggets of it on my post, I won’t be posting up the recipe for it simply because the texture and flavour did not meet my standards and not something I would serve.
My suggested specialty equipment for this recipe is a strainer. Essentially, what this recipe will require is for you to steam off some taro and use tapioca powder to hold it all together to make the balls. Personally, I don’t like the idea of the fibres from the taro sitting in the tapioca balls as it changes the experience while eating them and I wanted it all finely strained. Strainers can be easily found in the local kitchenware store or I even found some that were pretty good in dollar stores.
The other thing I would note before you start this recipe is to make sure you choose a good taro root. Naturally with the Chinese cuisine I eat at home, taro is not an uncommon ingredient to work with so we’ve become quite good at selecting “good” taro. What I mean by “good” taro is one that has a starchy, mealy texture when cooked, similar to what you would get by cooking up a russet potato.
When you’re going to your local Asian market that sells taro root, you’re going to want to look for one that is fresh. A lack of mold, soft patches and wrinkles is a good indicator of freshness. Another thing to look out for to test for the starchy texture is to look for a taro that is firm and quite heavy for the size.
Alright, enough prepping, time for the recipe!
Makes 18 small tapioca balls measuring 1 inch in diameter
- A chunk of taro root, about 6 inches in diameter and 4 inches in width
- 3 ½ teaspoons of tapioca powder
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- Sugar to taste
- Peel the taro root and cut into smaller pieces to steam.
- Steam the taro for about 20 minutes or until a fork can be pushed through the thickest part easily.
- Mash up the taro in a bowl and make sure there are no chunks.
- Use a strainer and push the mashed taro through. With the leftover taro that doesn’t make it through the strainer, you can save it and use it to make a Chinese Taro Dessert Soup. You should yield about 1/2 cup of mashed and strained taro, if you have more you’re going to need to adjust the tapioca starch accordingly.
- Add the tapioca starch and sugar in the taro and begin to mix with your hands. If your taro has a bit more moisture, continue to add another teaspoon of starch or until the taro mix begins to hold itself into a dough ball of sorts.
- Roll out the taro dough ball and begin cutting up the dough into 1-inch diameter pieces and start rolling them out into ball shape.
- Coat the dough pieces in cornstarch.
- Throw the taro balls into boiling water and keep mixing them to prevent them from sticking to one another.
- Once the balls begin to float in the water, wait about another 5-10 seconds and pull them out of the water.
- You can immediately throw them into a dessert soup or eat them on their own.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and try this out for yourself.
Happy Cooking Friends!
-The Piquey Eater