The sweet taro in this recipe is often used in making other cold desserts. It needs to have a very soft and velvety texture otherwise it becomes hard and tasteless once it is frozen. If you would like to just have the sweet taro by itself, the amount of sugar in the recipe should be halved so the taro won’t be cloyingly sweet.
The best way to make sweet taro is with the wet steaming method to prevent it from scorching or becoming mushy.
There are two different steaming methods: dry steaming and wet steaming.
What is dry steaming? This is how we steam fish and steamed rolls or baozi. The food to be steamed is dry (not soaked in water) while the steam comes from the steamer below.
Wet steaming means that the food is soaked in water in a bowl then placed in a steamer to steam. This method is similar to slow stewing. For example, ginseng chicken. Blanched free-range chicken, ginseng, and other ingredients are stuffed into a porcelain container, add water, seal the container, put the porcelain container into a steamer, then steam until the chicken is tender.
Wet steaming takes more time and effort than direct cooking. The advantage is that food won’t scorch or turn into a mush.
If the taro is cooked directly with sugar in a pot, the end result is usually a pot of scorched taro mush instead of pieces of soft and velvety taro.
Taro or coco malanga (net weight) – 100%
Sugar – 50%
1) Peel and cut the taro into chunks. Put the chunks in a big bowl then add enough water to cover the surface of the taro.
2) Steam the taro with high heat for 20 minutes. It is done when a skewer or chopstick can easily pierce through the center of a taro chunk.
3) If the water has evaporated from the bowl, add more to cover the majority of the taro again.
4) Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top of the taro.
5) Keep steaming until the water in the bowl becomes a thick syrup. It may take as long as 1 hour of steaming (see note 1) to achieve that. When it is done, each taro chunk should be soft and sweet with a slight chew to it. It should not have fallen apart into taro mush.
professionals make the sweet taro with metal steamers and metal bowls then steam with very powerful professional burners. This creates a nice thick syrup because most of the water evaporates quickly in a short amount of time. Amateur cooks at home usually steam with slow heat conductive materials like porcelain bowls, bamboo steamers, and not so powerful burners. So there is still a lot of water left after long steaming. The picture below shows the taro with sugar after 30 minutes of steaming:
Check the taro at this point. If the sugar has dissolved completely and the taro is sweetened in the core, stop steaming. Microwave the whole bowl for about 10 minutes or so, the water would be reduced to a syrup.
If you don’t want to microwave, put the taro chunks in a small pot to steam then reduce the liquid on the stove top. This is not the best because taro is easily scorched.
Sweet Taro Shaved ice w/ Evaporated Milk
Start with shaved ice, add sweet taro and evaporated milk. Done! Add more or less of each ingredient to your liking.
To make all sorts of milky shaved ice, use evaporated milk . Not condensed milk nor regular milk (not enough flavor). If the shaved ice is not sweet enough for your taste, you can add some condensed milk but the sweet taro really has enough sugar.
Taro Ice Cream
Sweet taro – 450 g (see note 2)
Milk – 200 g
Whipping cream – 350 g
1) Cut the sweet taro into small chunks, add milk and whipping cream, mix thoroughly. Some taro will dissolve into the cream mixture, some will remain as chunks.
2) Refrigerate the mixture until it is completely cooled and icy cold.
3) Pour the mixture into the ice cream machine. Follow manufacture’s direction or please refer to other ice cream recipes in the blog. Natural taro ice cream does not have a purple color because it doesn’t contain any artificial food coloring.
it is OK to use mashed sweet taro to make the ice cream. It is easier and more convenient. Sweet taro shaved ice has to have sweet taro, not mashed taro.