Kolokasi - Taro
Taro is a root, grown in Cyprus in the lower areas of the island. It is believed to be native to Southeast Asia and southern India, but it is cultivated and used in many places all around the world. Taros are ready in autumn after the 15th of October, that's what Mrs. Amalia used to say, and can be eaten the whole winter through. It is important when bought fresh to leave the root to dry out for at least a week just by storing it in a dry place. Originally prepared with pork as I will do in the recipe, but it is also delicious with chicken. This dish does not need spices apart from salt and pepper because it is prepared with thick chunks of fresh celery that gives this dish a distinctive aroma. Served hot on it's absolute best!
For the recipe you will need 1 large of 2, 3 smaller taros, cleaned as shown below. It is important that you do not wash the peeled taro, just wipe it clean with kitchen paper or a clean tea-cloth. Then cut the knife into the root and break off the pieces of taro. Down below, under the pictures, follows the remainder of the recipe and cooking instructions!
6 to 8 pieces of chicken or pork shoulder
3 big or 4 smaller celery stalks cut in big chunks
2 ripe tomatoes pureed
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar (only if you use fresh tomatoes)
salt and pepper
Bake the meat in some olive oil in a large frying pan,
when nicely browned add the celery chunks and brown them with the meat,
transfer the meat and celery to a large casserole,
add the pureed tomatoes, tomato paste and some water so as the meat to be just covered, add sugar only when you use fresh tomatoes, when they are very ripe no sugar is necessary.
Place the taro pieces on top of the meat, they will cook in the steam of the meat,
if you use fresh homemade tomato paste then be careful with adding too much salt as the paste contains enough salt,
simmer for an hour, until the meat is tender and the taro soft. Mind you that pork needs a little longer than chicken.
Mrs Amalia speciality was to cook some stuffed vine leaves among the taro pieces for the last 20 minutes or so, this really added to the dish, do not worry though, both dishes are delicious by themselves!
Serve with any salad you like, we like Greek salad with feta.
Bon appetit - καλή όρεξη!