It might not be easy on the eye, but the "potato of the humid tropics" is a beloved staple from Asia to Africa. Its creamy flesh and velvety texture can be enjoyed from a satisfying stew to a light coconut cake. 
Angela Nahas

28 Mar 2013 - 1:53 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM


Taro chips and spicy avocado salsa (ocumo frito con guasacaca)
Similar to potato chips, these taro chips are given a double fry for an extra crisp result. They are also popular thinly sliced, like corn chips.

Taro and lamb stew
Taro is a popular root vegetable in Egypt and this stew, known as kolkas (also the word for taro), is a favourite way to use it.

Simmered taro
While larger varieties of taro are available, baby taro (dasheen) is the preferred variety throughout much of Asia. In Japan, taro is known as satoimo – literally, the village potato – and it is often cooked nimono-style (simmered or stewed).

Coconut taro layered cake
Island nations such as Hawaii, Samoa and the Cook Islands revere the ancient taro crop, where it is used to make a variety of dishes, most commonly poi (a thick taro paste). Many of the islands combine taro with coconut in their sweets.

Photography by John Laurie