Yam or often referred to as taro, Colocasia esculenta, is a root vegetable frequently consumed in South East Asia. Either yam or taro are used interchangeably to mean the same root vegetable in Malaysia and Singapore. It can be steamed, boiled or stir-fried as well as being used to boost flavour in many Chinese dishes. The most popular and common dishes are pan-fried taro cake, fried taro puffs and fried taro dumplings with ground pork are served as dim sums during yum cha at Cantonese restaurants. Taro is also regularly stewed with chicken, pork or beef. Another popular taro dish is the seafood birdsnest whereby the taro is grated into long shreds and interwoven together to create a birdsnest filled with stir-fried seafood. These taro dishes are definitely my childhood favourites and they still are up until today.
Taro (yam) rice is an additional popular Chinese taro dish, it is very similar to lotus leaf rice or steamed glutinous rice serve as dim sums in a Cantonese yum cha restaurant. The main ingredients used are rice, Chinese sausages (lap cheong), dried shiitake mushrooms, dried shrimps and taro (yam). Sometimes dried oyster and dried scallops are also added. For my gluten free recipe, I am using frozen taro (yam), dried shiitake mushrooms, dried shrimps and mix of basmati rice and glutinous rice, creating a really aromatic and easy one pot dish cooked in rice cooker. This recipe is also dairy free, nut free and egg free.
When purchasing taro (yam), look for the ones with creamy white flesh and purple dots and stripes inside the flesh. Peeled frozen taro (yam) can be purchased from Asian groceries stores and the products are normally frozen fresh. There are many nutritional benefits of consuming taro (yam), it is high in dietary fiber and is rich in numerous vitamins and minerals. It is a rich source of vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, potassium and copper. Health benefits of consuming taro (yam) include healthy digestive system from the fiber content, may prevent cancer specifically reduce risks of lung and mouth cancer, promote good blood pressure and heart health, improve vision and reduce risk of macular degenerative diseases, promote skin health and may increase cognitive functions.
- 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Some extra virgin olive oil for pan frying
- 800 g 1.8Ib minced chicken or pork
- 550 g 1.2oz frozen taro (yam), defrost and cut into 2cm cubes
- 12 dried shiitake mushrooms soak in hot water for 20 mins. Stalks removed and thinly sliced
- 110 g 4oz dried shrimps
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 French onion shallots thinly sliced
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 2 cups glutinous rice
- 1 tablespoon gluten free corn maize starch mixed with ¼ cup water
For the sauce:
- 7 tablespoons of gluten free thick/dark soy sauce kecap manis (Refer relevant recipe)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons of pale or medium dry sherry
- 2 tablespoon gluten free pure sesame oil
For the Marinade:
- 2 tablespoons of gluten free light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of pale or medium dry sherry
- 1 ½ teaspoons gluten free corn maize starch
- 1 teaspoon of ground white pepper
For the garnish:
- 4 spring onions shallots, finely sliced lengthwise
- Combine minced chicken or pork with marinade in a large bowl and mix well. Reserve for about 20 minutes.
- Prepare and mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
- Heat up a small frying pan with some extra virgin olive oil, pan fry the dried shrimps until lightly brown and crunchy. Drain on a sieve and set aside in a small bowl.
- Heat up a large wok with 8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and stir-fry the garlic and onion shallots on low heat until lightly golden.
- Add the minced chicken or pork and stir-fry for 3 minutes on medium to high heat. Then add the mushrooms, the sauce prepared, corn (maize) starch mixture and stir-fry until chicken is cooked through.
- Add in the taro (yam) and dried shrimps and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Do not overcook the taro (yam) as it will continue cooking in the rice cooker. Turn off the heat.
- Wash both the basmati rice and glutinous rice and place in an electric rice cooker by adding number of cups of water specified by the electric cooker for mixed rice. Use the cook function not rapid cook function.
- Once the rice is in full boil, immediately add in all the cooked ingredients on top of the rice in the rice cooker. Cover with lid and continue cooking.
- When the cooking process is finished, keep warm for another 20 minutes or until ready to serve.
- Remove all the cooked ingredients and rice and place into a large bowl. Using a plastic rice scoop, gently mix and combine all the ingredients and rice.
- Garnish with spring onions (shallots) and serve.
4 thoughts on “Yam (Taro) Rice”
I would love to try this dish as it’s completely new to me, look really healthy too:-)
This is a really fragrant dish with the mix of these Asian ingredients. Good on you to try recipe that is completely new to you. Hope you enjoy the recipe. ????
In all my years cooking (and eating) I have never worked with taro before, seems I have been missing out on some pretty amazing health benefits from it too. Will look at my markets on the weekend. 🙂 Really keen to give this dish a go.
Taro are really fragrant and delicious. If you want to purchase taro, I would suggest buying frozen ones from Asian groceries stores as the correct taro (yam) to use is the creamy white ones with purple spots & stripes not the purple ones used for desserts or the ones you get from Aussies market. But if you can find this type of fresh taro from your local farmers market, please let me know. Enjoy the dish. ????