Satoimo (里芋) or taro roots are a starchy root crop that is widely enjoyed in Japanese cuisine. They are often prepared through simmering in dashi and soy sauce in home-cooked dishes and traditional Japanese dishes. Compared to other variety of taro, Japanese taro is smaller in size with rounded body and hairy brown skin. You can say it has an exterior that resemblances a mini coconut. It has a firm and creamy white flesh and somewhat slimy texture. The flavor is mild with a light nuttiness.
Nutrition Values of Satoimo
The Japanese taro has been known for its nutrition values and essential minerals since the olden time in Japan. It is high in fiber and lower calories than regular potatoes, making it a healthy alternative choice of starch. It is also rich in hyaluronic acid, which is essential in producing collagen and regenerating cells.
Satoimo grow easily throughout the year, so they are available year-round.
How to prepare satoimo or taro root
- The thick hairy skin of taro can be hard to peel. Before peeling, rinse it well under water and remove the hair as much as you can. You can use a vegetable scrub or tawashi to remove the hair. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to wear kitchen gloves as an extra protection from the substance that may irritate your skin. Once it is cooked, the irritation substance will go away.
- Using a kitchen knife, cut off both ends first and peel from one end to the other end. It gets slimy as soon as you start peeling, so take extra caution when handling it.
- To get rid of the sliminess, use salt to rub the taro and rinse under cold water. Drain completely before cooking.
To store taro root, keep them in dark, cool places. They can usually last for a couple of weeks. You can also wrap them in plastic and keep in the refrigerator for longer shelf life.
Where to buy Satoimo or taro root
Since taro roots are enjoyed in many Asian cuisines particularly in East and Southeast Asia, you can find them in Chinese, Korean, Japanese groceries stores.
Delicious Recipes Using Satoimo (Taro)
Chikuzenni – a popular bento side dish made with simmered chicken and vegetables like taro root and lotus root
Kenchinjiru – a flavorful clear soup cooked with root vegetables, tofu, shiitake and kombu stock.
Ozoni – a special miso-based soup featuring mochi, taro, and vegetables that is enjoyed in the morning on New Year’s Day in Japan.
Simmered Taro (Satoimo no Nimono) – a classic simmered dish where taro is cooked and stewed in flavorful dashi and soy sauce.