Some called this Baked Taro Rice (焗芋頭飯 in Chinese). It doesn’t mean that the dish is baked in oven but in effect the taro is steamed directly over rice in a pot (usually a clay pot), covered. Happily, I find it equally good to cook this with a rice cooker but with minimal effort.
I had not even attended the boiling rice until my timer beeped, when I timed to add the rest of ingredients to it. Thanks to my rice cooker, I could steal some extra lazy moments.
Whether using a pot or a rice cooker for making this, water has to be added to the rice as usual. Cooked to the boiling point, rice absorbs more and more water and steams emits. As most water were gone, I added taro, sausage, mushrooms, etc onto the rice. Covered again; with added ingredients, the steam at the same time infused flavors to the rice. Essentially, it is ‘covered and steamed’ together brings about the notion of ‘baked’ taro rice, but technically it is different from the traditional steaming where there is a pool of water underneath.
In Chinese cuisine, taro is often cooked with different meats. One popular version of this recipe includes ground or diced pork or chicken. Here, I have a Chinese sausage direct from my fridge therefore skipping a step in marinading the meat.
The amount of taro included in this recipe shall be good for serving with roughly two cups of cooked rice, but I usually cook more. Because cooked taro is good to be stored in the fridge for a couple of days. And after steamed, it still looks if it is freshly made. I was really happy to find it sitting in my fridge particularly when my schedule didn’t allow elaborated cooking.
- 150g rice
- 200g taro
- 1 Chinese sausage / Lap Cheong (臘腸), ~35g, thinnly sliced
- 4 dried black mushrooms
- 1 tbsp dried shrimps
- 2 shallots, finely sliced
- 1/4 cup water (or reserved from soaked mushrooms)
- 1 tbsp oil for stir frying
- 1 spring onion, finely sliced, optional
- soy sauce to taste
- Marinades for taro
- 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
Peel, rinse, and dice the taro, slightly thicker than half cm. Marinade for about 15 minutes.
Rinse dried mushrooms, soak until soft. Discard tough stems. Squeeze excess water from mushrooms after rehydrated. Dice into similar size of taro.
Rinse dried shrimps, soak until slightly soft. The ones I used is fairly small, so I let them sit in water for about 5 minutes only. Drain dry.
Heat oil over medium heat for stir-frying, sauté shallot, dried shrimps and sausage until fragrant, followed by mushrooms and taro. Stir and turn constantly for about a minute. Then add about a quarter cup of water, cover. Let simmer for 1 to 2 minutes (prolonged simmering may render the taro too mushy) or until liquid is almost reduced.
Rinse rice and cook it in cooker as usual.
Toward the last 10 minutes of rice cooking, open lid and quickly spread all stir-fried ingredients flat on top of the rice. Cover again. The sign of the right timing for adding taro is that the rice is slightly bubbling and looks wet with very little amount of water.
Continue to cook rice until done. Dish up, garnish with spring onion and add soy sauce to taste.
Serve hot and enjoy!
Taro vs yam
In Hong Kong, if you name taro as yam, very likely you will get another type of root called the Chinese yam (aka 淮山, nagaimo, or Japanese mountain yam), which is different from taro. But in some areas of S.E.Asia, the name of taro and yam seems to be interchangeable.
It’s better to wear hand gloves because uncooked taro can cause itchy skin.
Amount of taro
Unlike baby taro, a mature taro usually weighs more than a kilogram, therefore you may need only half or a quarter of it.
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