Hawaiian Grown TV – Chinese Taro – Wong’s Products Farm

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Wong’s Products has been cultivating Chinese Taro for generations. Eddie Apolo, Farm Manager, tells us the difference between Hawaiian Taro and Chinese Taro.

Taro (Pronounced Tah-roe)(from Tahitian or other Polynesian languages), more rarely kalo (from Hawaiian) and gabi in The Philippines, is a tropical plant grown primarily as a vegetable food for its edible corm, and secondarily as a leaf vegetable. It is considered a staple in oceanic cultures. It is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants.[1] Taro is closely related to Xanthosoma and Caladium, plants commonly grown as ornamentals, and like them it is sometimes loosely called elephant ear. In its raw form the plant is toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate,[2][3] although the toxin is destroyed by cooking[4] or can be removed by steeping taro roots in cold water overnight.

Taro was probably first native to the lowland wetlands of Malaysia (taloes). Estimates are that taro was in cultivation in wet tropical India before 5000 B.C., presumably coming from Malaysia, and from India further transported westward to ancient Egypt, where it was described by Greek and Roman historians as an important crop.

Taro’s scientific name is Colocasia esculenta (synonym C. antiquorum); esculent is an English word taken directly from Latin and means edible. The Xanthosoma genus is closely related, and several common names including callaloo and coco or cocoyam are used to refer to either Taro or domesticated Xanthosoma species which share substantially the same uses. Taro may be distinguished as “taro cocoyam” or “old cocoyam”, with the term “new cocoyam” referring to species of Xanthosoma. Taro has a flavor that has often been likened to that of artificial butter used for popcorn in movie theatres and Sour Patch candies.

In Kenya, taro root is referred to as arrow root, or by the Kikuyu or Kamba word ndŭma. In South Africa, it referred to by the Zulu word amaDumbe[5] or the anglicised madumbi[6]. In some Caribbean countries, it is sometimes known as dasheen, a name said to be derived from the French de Chine which means from China and evokes the plant’s Asian origins. The leaves are used to make a soup popular in the West Indies, called callaloo soup. In Cyprus it is known as kolokassi, which is similar to the name the Romans used: colocasia, and it is known as “Qolqass” in Egypt. Taro is also known as dalo In the Fijian Islands and in Japan as satoimo. Eddoe is another name for taro, although this one seems to be preferentially used to designate small corm varieties.

Taro (called yutou, 芋头 or yunai, 芋艿 in China; 芋頭, wuh táu? in Hong Kong) is commonly used within Chinese cuisine in a variety of styles, mainly as a flavor enhancing ingredient. It is commonly braised with pork or beef. It is used in the dim sum cuisine of southern China to make a small plated dish called taro dumpling, as well as a pan-fried dish called taro cake. It is also woven to form a seafood birdsnest. The taro cake is also a delicacy traditionally eaten during the Chinese New Year. In desserts it is used in tong sui, bubble tea, as a flavoring in ice cream and other deserts in the China(f. ex. Sweet Taro Pie).

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Hawaiian Grown TV – Chinese Taro – Wong’s Products Farm

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