First time I heard about taro, I was still in chef school. I heard about it, but I didn’t see it. The chef-teachers told us that the taro couldn’t be exported from Azores to the continent because it was, by that time, facing extinction. I just assumed that was true, but I actually never did any research about it. If someone from Azores is reading this, feel free to say something about it.
The truth is that it many years later, here in Norway, that I had the opportunity to try this food for the first time.
The inhame in Azores
Taro is probably the most common name for the Colocasia esculenta species and it’s edible corms.
But in the magnificent archipelago of Azores, this food is commonly known as inhame or inhame-coco and in some cultures outside of Azores, the food is also known as inhame-dos-açores, which means taro from azores.
It’s preparation process varies a lot from island to island, but the inhame it’s widely served not just as a side in many dishes (specially for meat) but also as a base ingredient in others (mostly in desserts, specially deep fried).
In the island of São Jorge (St. George), particularly in the fajãs of Calheta, the inhame was, in times, so important for it’s people to thrive, that they were known as inhameiros (the inhame people).
The inhame was, by that time, considered the food of the poor and the slaves. Because of that, it was never submited to the dízimo (a religious christian tax). It was not a pleasent surprise when these guys found out that they would start paying it.
And worse than paying the dízimo, the farmers would even had to carry all the inhame to pay, from the fields to the collecting point. Stuff like wheat, corn or wine would always be taxed and paid in the fields, but the inhame, they would have to pay afterwards.
So, as you can imagine, carrying several kilos of inhame on your back, from the fajãs to the thorp, 500 or 600 meters all the way up, through goat tracks along the cliffs, was just an amazing experience. But giving it away to the crown at the end, was just the cherry on the top of the cake.
Thanks to this brilliant ideia, of course the farmers lost their shit and they went berserk. People died because of taro, just for you to understand how much they did enjoy that shit.
I like curry a lot, as already noticed. I’ve actually never seen any taro curry recipe, but I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t be something new, considering that when it comes to cooking, everything is already invented. Besides, though taro is now produced a bit all around the globe, the plant is thought to be native to Asia, most likely toSouthern India. And what do indians like to eat? Exactly.
500 gr. of Taro
1.5 Cups of Green Lentils
1 Red Onion
3 Garlic Cloves
1 Piece of Ginger
1 Red Hot Chilli Pepper
250 ml. of Coconut Milk
250 gr. of Frozen Spinach (or fresh)
Coriander (with roots, if possible)
2 TBPS of grounded Cumin
1 TBSP of Turmeric
1 TBSP of Paprika powder
1 TSP of Garlic powder
1 TSP of Salt
1 TSP of Fennel Seeds
- Chop the onion, garlic, chilli pepper and lemon grass;
- Also chop the coriander roots, if you have;
- If you don’t like hot food, remove the chilli pepper seeds;
- Stir fry everything in a very hot pot;
- I didn’t use any fat, as you can see in the video, but you can use some coconut or olive oil if you want;
- I already explained several times how to stir fry without fat (maybe I’ll actually do a post about it one day), but you basically just add one or two tablespoons of water instead of fat, as you can check in the video;
- In the meanwhile, peel and dice the taro;
- Washing the taro after peeling it is wise, unless you like adding dirty food to your meals to get some extra b12;
- When your stir fry is looking nice and golden, add in the spices and a touch of water and let it cook for 1 or 2 minutes;
- Add in the taro, lentils and about 4 cups of water;
- I like washing the lentils before using it as it tends to be quite dirty;
- Cover the pot and let it cook on low heat for about 45 minutes;
- It is a good ideia to check every once in a while, since the cooking time varies a lot;
- It is also possible that you have to add a bit more water to it;
- Keep in mind that if you’re using other lentil variety (orange lentils for example), the cooking time will not be the same!;
- When the taro and lentils are cooked, add in the spinach and coconut milk;
- Let it boil one last time and add in the chopped coriander;
- Serve your curry with basmati rice;
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(1 service is 1/6 of the recipe)
Blue = 67% Carbs
Red = 19% Fat
Green = 14% Protein
- The nutrition data doesn’t iclude the rice;
- This recipe is enough for 4 people if served plain or over 6 people if served with rice;