For lunch, I made taro cakes. Actually, the taro cake batter was mixed, steamed/cooked and refrigerated several days before, and I sliced them up and pan-fried them today. Yum!
Depending on who’s making them or the recipe you’re following, taro cakes can range from a slightly firm gelatin-like texture to a thick, dense, creamy texture. Other ingredients that are often added to the batter include shiitake mushrooms, ground meats, and sausage.
This year, the taro in all the Asian markets were a lot pricier than normal so we’ve been experimenting with taro-substitutes. Instead of the typical Asian taro (white with splotchy purple flesh), we used the white-fleshed lila (a variety of taro found in Latin American supermarkets). Unsurprisingly, instead of the usual purple taro cake, this lila taro cake came out pure white and looked very much like a turnip cake. And for the batter, we added chopped up Cantonese-style sausage. I also like to add mushrooms to taro/turnip cakes but my sister has an aversion to all things fungal, so no ‘shrooms.
The lila taro cakes came out pretty good. Flavor-wise, I couldn’t really tell a difference. If anything, it’s just slightly less nutty in flavor. The texture of the finished lila cake is a lot more creamy and slighter wetter than a usual taro cake. So if you like your taro cakes on the creamy side consider shopping at a Latin market for your taro cake supplies. It’s a lot cheaper and you’ll still basically get the same taste. If you like your taro cakes more firm, you can still substitute lila, just add more rice flour for a drier batter.
The red stuff on the taro cakes is Sriracha sauce, a spicy hot sauce made with chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, salt, and sugar which is a very popular condiment in Thailand and other Asian countries. I love putting it on almost everything!
Here are a few pics of the taro cakes. First, they’re sliced and lightly floured. Then they’re pan-fried, and placed on some paper-towel lined newspaper to drain the excess oil. Lastly, they end up on my plate with some Sriracha sauce. Delish!