Easy Taro Dumplings (Yu Yuan)

Being taiwanese, this recipe encompasses two thing that I love.  1–taro.  2–things that are chewy.  There are lots of dessert shops that sell these over tofu pudding and shaved ice all over Taiwan, and I could hardly walk by one without buying a bowl.  🙂  Now that it’s been some time since we have had a chance to visit, had to learn how to make this myself.  It’s surprisingly easy!

Ingredients:

1/2 of a Taro

sweet potato starch 

For accompanying ginger soup:

-ginger, about 10 slices

-brown sugar, dark brown Taiwanese style if available.  

-a tricky part of this recipe is selecting the taro itself.  The objective is to find one that is airy inside, these are more fragrant, flavorful, and have a crumbly texture.  Apparently the way to look for these is to weigh them in your hand.  Select the ones that feel light and dont buy them if there is mold on the outside.  Here in California, some Taros are imported from Hawaii and Taiwan, so look for those.

-When you get home shave off the skin of the taro with a sharp knife.  I usually put on disposable latex gloves to do this as exposure to taro causes some people’s hands to itch.

-Cut the Taro into smallish (1 in) cubes, and steam.  I use a rice cooker to do this.  let the taro cool.

-Mash taro, and then add sweet potato starch a bit at a time.  Mix and knead the dough and continue to add potato starch until the end result is around the consistency of play doh.   At this point, continue to knead the dough–the more you knead it the chewier the end result.

-roll into 3/4 diameter rolls and then cut, or shape into balls.

-you can freeze these, or cook them immediately.  Add to boiling water and cook until they are floating–then keep in a minute or two more for good measure.  (They take a bit longer to cook from frozen.) 

Separately, you can create the ginger broth.  basically boil the ginger slices, then cover and simmer for a while until the flavor of the ginger permeates the broth.  After the broth has reached your preferred level of gingery-ness, add brown sugar to taste.

Serve hot or cold, and enjoy!!

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