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Article by Rena

Kolokasi  (Taro in English), is a root vegetable that originates in southeast Asia and Malaysia. In Europe it's hard to come by and is only grown in substantial quantities in Cyprus and the Greek island of Ikaria. There are different Taro root varieties but the variety grown in Cyprus is known as Colocasia Esculanta.

Kolokasi is a popular dish in the Cypriot cuisine and is cooked in tomato sauce either on it's own or often with pork or chicken.

In its raw form kolokasi is poisonous as it contains high levels of calcium oxalate, which however are safely reduced to non-harmful levels during the cooking process.

It's important to remember that you NEVER wash kolokasi with water.  You peel it by holding it with kitchen paper, and with a sharp knife  you peel it rather deep and you keep wiping it with the kitchen paper during the peeling process.

There's also a specific technique for cutting kolokasi. You hold the kolokasi in one hand and with a sharp knife you make a cut on it and with the help of your thump you press on the knife and by turning your wrist and pressing towards the bulb you "crack" a small piece off.  You don't slice it.  You carry on the same process all round until you "crack" each bulb into rugged walnut size pieces.


2  Kolokasi -Taro bulbs
2 onions chopped
1/4 cup(60ml) olive oil
1 Tablespoon tomato paste dissolve in1/2 cup hot water
2 vegetable stock cubes crumbled
2 cups celery leafs roughly chopped
Juice from 1 lemon or if possible bitter orange
2 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes with herbs
2.5 litres (10 cups) hot water
1/2 teaspoon sugar


1. Heat oil in pan, add onions, cook, covered over low heat  stirring occasionally until onions are soft.  Add celery and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the Kolokasi stirring occasionally for about another 5 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and paste, stock cubes and sugar.  Then leave to simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

3. Add enought hot water to cover it and simmer for a further 1 1/2  hours or until the kolokassi is tender and the sauce is reduced, stirring occasionally.

4. Stir in the lemon or bitter orange juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve with black olives and red radishes.

If you prefer to cook with pork or chicken you start by browning the meat in your olive oil for a few minutes and then remove and set aside. You then continue with the rest of the recipe and use the same oil to fry your onions and celery. You then add the meat at stage 3 of our recipe and let it cook and simmer with your kolokasi.


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