Kolokassi, from its ancient name “colocasia esculenta”, known as taro, is a root vegetable prepared the same way as potato.
Chirino me Kolokassi, is a recipe from the Cypriot cuisine, which is stewed pork with taro.
Kolokassi is a root vegetable also known as wild taro, dasheen, elephant ears or Colocasia esculenta, usually cooked with meat and goes well with pork but also chicken and beef.
Apart from Cyprus, this root can also be found in Greece but only on the island of Ikaria, in Egypt but also in Hawaii and Tahiti and in other parts of the world.
This root is available from October to January and it can be stored for a long time. I stored it in the refrigerator for two weeks and it was in perfect condition.
HOW TO PEEL KOLOKASSI (TARO)
Taro is most commonly prepared the same way as potato but it is not washed.
Therefore, in order not to soil the taro, use kitchen paper to hold it and wipe off any dirt.
Peel the skin thickly by starting at the top of the root, removing a stripe each time.
HOW TO CUT KOLOKASSI
Hold the kolokassi in one hand and with a sharp knife remove the top part. Then make a cut on it and with the help of your thumb, press on the knife and by turning your wrist and pressing towards the bulb you “crack” a small piece off.
You don’t slice it, as otherwise a mucilaginous, sticky juice, will be released and the kolokassi will melt while cooking.
Use the taro as called for in a recipe, or you can complete cooking it much like you would a potato — roasted, boiled or baked.
- Taro root
- Latex or rubber gloves (optional)
- Kitchen paper
- Cutting board
- Kitchen paring knife
- Chef's knife
- Peel the skin thickly by starting at the top of the root, removing a stripe each time.
- Use kitchen paper to hold it so as not to soil the bulb.
- Hold the taro in one hand and with a sharp knife remove the top part. Then make a cut on it and with the help of your thumb, press on the knife and by turning your wrist and pressing towards the bulb you "crack" a small piece off.
- Use the taro as called for in a recipe, or you can complete cooking it much like you would a potato -- roasted, boiled or baked.
Kolokassi produces some offshoots, which are called “poulles”. They are peeled the same way as taro, without washing them.
To cook them, cut them in the middle and shallow fry them (I fry them in olive oil). I remove the oil, put them back in the frying pan and add coarse sea salt, crushed coriander and lemon juice. They are served as a side dish.
On the right side of the picture with “louvi“, there is a platter with “poulles”.
The traditional way of cooking Chirino me Kolokassi (stewed pork with taro) is to fry the meat and taro in a lot of oil and then transfer ιτ in a saucepan with the oil and the tomatoes, celery and spices.
It is then simmered until the meat becomes tender and the sauce thick.
However, if you fry them in a non-stick sautéing pan, then you don’t need too much oil, making the dish much lighter.
Recently I visited Cyprus and could not resist the temptation of bringing two roots with me.
I stored them in the refrigerator waiting for my son to return from Crete, where he has been working since April.
Well, yesterday he returned and as it is one of his favourites, I prepared it for him and it was delicious.
The same recipe can be made vegan without the meat and served as a side dish. It is cooked the same way as above, until taro is soft.
This and many more Cypriot recipes are included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!
- 1 kilo (2.20 lbs) pork, from the neck or shoulder, cut in portions
- 2 - 3 medium taros (kolokassi)
- 4 - 6 large stalks of celery, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped (optional)
- 4 ripe tomatoes or 1 can (500 grams – 1.10 lb) of whole tomatoes with juice, blended in food processor with 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil for sautéing
- 1 cup water
- To prepare the kolokassi, cut the ends and peel the skin. Hold it with a paper towel taking care that you do not soil the rest of kolokassi with your hands. Do not wash but wipe with a paper towel if necessary.
- With a sharp knife, cut across 1 ½ cm (½ inch) thick halfway then break off. Repeat to the end.
- Heat the oil in a sautéing pan and sauté the kolokassi. Remove to a platter and sauté the meat as well. Turn the meat over and add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent. Return taro back to the pan, add the celery, season with salt and pepper and add the tomatoes. Finally, add water and bring to a boil.
- Cover pan, reduce heat and simmer for about an hour until both meat and kolokassi are tender and sauce is ready and thick.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 603 Total Fat: 30g Saturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 18g Cholesterol: 147mg Sodium: 193mg Carbohydrates: 35g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 9g Protein: 46g
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