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. Silverbeet or chard is added for colour, and the fragrant taliya (fried garlic and ground coriander), which is stirred through at the end, can also be used in other soups and stews including molokhia (chicken soup with mallow).
1 kg lamb chump chops
600 g taro (see Note)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 bunch coriander, stems and leaves chopped
3 silverbeet leaves, thinly sliced
steamed rice and lemon wedges, to serve
Taliya (fried garlic and coriander)
1 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp ground coriander
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Trim lamb of excess fat and cut into 4 cm cubes. Thickly peel taro, cut into 3 cm cubes, and place in a bowl of acidulated water to prevent browning.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add onion and lamb, and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until lamb starts to change colour; do not brown. Add 1.5 litres water and bring to the boil, skimming any impurities from the surface. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Add drained taro and cook for a further 25 minutes or until lamb and taro are tender.
Meanwhile, to make taliya, heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and ground coriander, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until garlic is golden. Set aside.
Add coriander, silverbeet and taliya to the stew and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for a further 10 minutes or until silverbeet has wilted. Serve with steamed rice and lemon wedges.
A 400 g packet of frozen taro, available from Middle Eastern food shops, can be substituted. Add in step 3.
Drink 2010 Two Brothers Cabernet Merlot, Margaret River ($16)
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 12, pg61.
Photography by John Laurie