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The taro root is a tuber also called dasheen, kalo and eddo. A starchy vegetable with a hairy outer layer, raw taro root is toxic, so you must cook it before eating. Taro has a nutty flavor after you cook it, and is suitable for frying, steaming, roasting, baking and boiling. It is perhaps best known for being used to make poi, a doughy, starchy traditional Hawaiian staple dish. Taro is best eaten hot.

Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands from the irritating taro root.

Wash the taro root under running water. Peel it with a peeler, cut the taro into pieces with a knife, and then pierce them with a fork.

Fill a pot with water.

Put the pieces of taro in the water, turn on the heat, and cover the pot with a lid. When it begins to boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about an hour, until soft.

Warning

If your mouth itches after eating taro, rinse it several times with water. This is a sign it wasn't cooked long enough.

About the Author

Julius Vandersteen

Julius Vandersteen has been a freelance writer since 1999. His work has appeared in “The Los Angeles Times,” “Wired” and “S.F. Weekly.” Vandersteen has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from San Francisco State University.