Taro fries with cilantro pesto

This dish is based  on a popular mezze item on the Lebanese table called batata harra or spiced potatoes. In this plate, cubed potatoes are fried and coated in a cilantro, garlic and chile pesto and served lukewarm with quartered lemons.

I figured I would do the same here, except I cooked the taro thoroughly first, then pan-fried it.

Here are some nutritional information on taro:

  • Taro has three times the dietary fiber of potato.
  • Taro root has a low Glycemic Index.
  • It is an  excellent source of potassium.
  • It contains  calcium, vitamin C, vitamin E and B vitamins, as well as magnesium, manganese and copper.


  • 1 pound of taro
  • 1/2 cup of a blend of olive oil and vegetable oil
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of chili pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Wear kitchen gloves and peel the taro; cut into thick slices shaped like French fries and soak in a bowl of lemony water (squeeze half a lemon into the water).
  2. Prepare the cilantro pesto; wash the cilantro and dry; mince the leaves as fine as possible. Peel and chop the garlic and pound in a mortar with a teaspoon of salt until a paste forms. Set aside.
  3. Bring a pot a salted water to a boil. Drop the taro and simmer for fifteen minutes until soft and thoroughly cooked. Drain.
  4. Heat a large skillet, add the oil blend and when hot, drop the taro “fries” and fry in the oil on all sides until crispy; add the mashed garlic and cilantro and chili pepper flakes (if using) and stir the mixture for 30 seconds until fragrant. Transfer to a serving dish and eat warm with extra lemon quarters if desired.

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  1. Posted June 10, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    je ne connais pas du tout ce légume racine. Je viens de regarder sur le net à quoi ça ressemble. Dès que j’en rencontre, je ferai sûtrement ta recette. Heureuse d’apprendre des choses et chez toi, je suis souvent servie…Merci Joumana et passe une bonne soirée.

  2. Posted June 10, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    c’est original et surtout typique donc peu commun pour chez nous !!

  3. Posted June 10, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    You sure did it with the taro! Perfect pesto!

  4. Posted June 10, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    The only thing I know about taro is 1) bubble tea flavor and 2) taro pies at McDonald’s in China. Yikes! Glad to know savory is an option!! Thanks!!

  5. Posted June 10, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    I have never cooked with taro and am SO eager to try it now after seeing your recipe. :-)

  6. Posted June 11, 2011 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    i love tarooo.. very interesting way to eat it.. i normally eat it in desserts!!

  7. Posted June 11, 2011 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    That is a very original taro recipe! Lovely.



  8. Posted June 11, 2011 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    I have never tried to cook with taro…. but these look delicious! I love batata harra so I am sure I would love these!

  9. jimmy
    Posted June 11, 2011 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    Taro should not be eaten raw for it irritates the throat. And should be avoided by people who has kidney stones , for it contains excessive amounts of calcium oxalate.
    Otherwise it’s pretty tasty.

  10. Posted June 11, 2011 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Je ne pense pas connaitre le taro ou en avoir déjà mangé mais j’enregistre.
    A très bientôt

  11. Posted June 11, 2011 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    What a creative way to use Taro, great post!

  12. Posted June 11, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    What an original take on taro. I am indeed familiar with it as latin american restaurants serve it a lot. I usually make my the cuban way with lots of butter and lemon juice. But this version with cilantro pesto….looks great.

  13. Posted June 11, 2011 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    The pesto would go well with so many things. I occasionally see taro at the grocers and have never knpown what to with it. Now I do – and I love the dietary info that accompanied the recipe.

  14. Posted June 11, 2011 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    un petit pesto que j’affectionne beaucoup !!Pierre

  15. Posted June 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    After seeing your post on taro root the other day I had to keep it in mind. When I went to Winn-Dixie today, it’s on the north end of town and I stop in to get some calabaza squash when I am in the area. Well when I was there I saw some taro right there next to the yuca, malanga, and boniato roots. When I was in the check out the lady behind me was noticing and mentioned the Latin vegetables that I was buying, she told me of Latin market that has many more veggies I might be interested in. Anyway…so with taro you cook it first like you would yucca, then fry it? I can’t wait to try it. I picked up some cilantro too! Yay!

  16. Posted June 11, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Hi There, This is looking Gorgeous. A very well made post with beautiful pictures. Loved the new combo of ingredients and the recipe is so nicely made and presented. Its always fun to see ur appetizing recipes.Saving this recipe of urs and wud love to give ur version a try on the coming weekend. Have a great day….Sonia !!!

  17. Posted June 11, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never cooked with taro and we don’t see them much here in Australia, however I do love potatoes and the cilantro pesto sounds so good I might have to try it.

  18. Posted June 12, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Taro is used quite often in Chinese cooking – soups and even in fried rice

  19. Posted June 12, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    I love the way you always manage to take an ingredient and turn it into something sinful yet healthy at the same time :) DELISH Joumana :)

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  20. Posted June 13, 2011 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    An interesting take on the original. I personally love the sound of the traditional recipe.

  21. Posted June 13, 2011 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    This looks so intriguing. Why do you suggest using kitchen gloves to peel the taro? I’m looking forward to trying taro at home some time.

  22. Posted August 15, 2011 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Hi Joumana,

    I couldn’t find an email address for you on the site, so wanted to leave a comment here. I love this post, and would like to feature it as a spotlight post this week in the What’s Hot column on BlogHer’s Food landing page. That would mean I’d write an intro paragraph explaining why folks should go read the post, and then send them on their way to your blog for the full piece.

    To be able to do that, I’d need your permission to use (with credit to you, of course) one of the photos that ran with the post. Would that be OK with you? Please let me know, and let me know if you have any questions.


  23. Posted August 19, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Triple Like! They look amazing-

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