Taro or as we call it in Mauritius “Arouille” is a root vegetable like potatoes and very much a staple food in Africa, South Indian, Chinese cuisine – and like many of our dishes in Mauritius we inherited this delicious vegetable from our ancestral family from Africa & Asia. Taro is consumed a lot in the African cuisine as it’s a delicious starchy food that bulks up most dishes. Taros have a brown skin and covered in rough ridges, the flesh inside is either white or purple. It is an easy vegetable to grow needing very little looking after and grows well in warm humid weather.
Taro like potato is a very versatile vegetable it can be made into chips, both savoury & sweet dishes, cakes or even into little party bites. I am guessing what many of your Mauritian are thinking about the most delicious “gateau arouille”…be patient it will come.
I chose to share this dish which I learn from my mama when she was over here on holidays, and she cooked this dish for us. I remember I was little we used to have Taro in a curry sauce with shrimps in it, but a Taro “Daube” was my first, and I loved it. I watched her and this is how she did it, funny though when mum cooks its bit of this bit of that and something delicious is made. I tried it many times afterwards, and since then whenever I see fresh Taro at the Indian groceries I have to buy a few. My meat loving husband loves this Taro “daube” version too – happy Taro family.
Ingredients Serves 4-6
- 1 kg Fresh Taro – peeled and cut into cubes
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- 1 garlic cloves – crushed
- 1 medium sized onion – sliced
- 1 tsb ginger – grated or ground
- 1 tsp of cumin powder
- 1 tsp garam masala or coriander powder
- chopped coriander leaves and the stalks
- 1 sprig of thyme
- Few curry leaves
- 1 Tbs of tomato puree
- 1 large tomato – chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 cups of water or (vegetable stock by mixing a cube stock in hot water)
- 2 green chillies (optional)
- Handful of fresh chopped coriander
- Heat the oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for a few minutes, then add the curry leaves, thyme, cumin powder, garam masala – allow the spices frying slowly to enhance the aroma, then add the garlic, ginger and mix it all up.
- Add the Taro pieces fry gently in the spice mixture for a few minutes keep stirring as it will start to stick the pan. Season with salt.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, water or stock, chopped coriander stalks. Give it a good stir over and leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Every so often give it a little gentle stir, as the taro will soften do not over stir otherwise you might end up with a mash. Cover and simmer on a low heat for around 20-25 minutes.
- As the sauce starts to thicken, taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. If it’s too dry add a little more water. Test the Taro by inserting a sharp knife inside; if soft and tender, the dish should be ready.
- Turn the heat off remove from the hob, garnish with chopped coriander leaves, sliced chilies and serve.
Brinda’s Note: I find making this dish a day before it tastes better, as it gives it time to soak up the aromas of the subtle spices used. Like most spice dishes the aroma is always nicer the next day. As Taro has a tendency to absorb water, add a little drop of water when you warm the dish just to loosen it and create a little bit of gravy.