After seeing the price of dasheen at the market, I opted for the much cheaper taro as I had a craving for what we call ground provisions, in the Caribbean. Dasheen, yams, eddoes, sweet potato and cassava all fall under the ‘ground provisions’ umbrella – also known as ‘food’ in Jamaica. The taro is very similar to our beloved dasheen, the main difference being it’s white in color (when peeled) and a bit milder in taste.
2-3 lbs taro (dasheen)
1/4 teaspoon salt
water for boiling the taro
2 medium tomatoes
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
2 cloves garlic
3 sprigs thyme
3-5 tablespoon olive oil
pinch black pepper
1 cup shredded saltfish (salted cod)
To learn how to prepare the salted cod (any dry salted fish) watch this video (click): How To Prepare Saltfish.
Do wear gloves or coat your hands with some vegetable oil as the sap/starch from peeling the taro can cause some irritation to your hands/fingers. Using a sharp knife or potato peeler, remove the other skin off the taro (discard). Also remove any blemishes and cut off any previously cut areas (like the stem area) to expose the fresh interior. Cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces and place in a pot covered with water on a high flame. As it comes to a boil add the salt , turn down to a rolling boil and cook until tender. Taro cooks faster than dasheen, so in about 10-15 minutes it will be fully cooked. Pierce with a sharp knife and if there’s no resistance you know it’s fully cooked.
Drain and set aside as we get to the next step of the recipe..stewing the saltfish!
Prepare the salted fish by boiling in water, drain, rinse with cool water and shred (watch the video mentioned above). Then slice the onion, garlic, scallions and scotch bonnet pepper. Remember you can use more or less scotch bonnet pepper and do wear gloves when handling them (wash your hands with soap and water immediately after).
Heat the olive oil on a medium flame (large sauce pan) and go in with the shredded salted fish. Let that cook for about 3 minutes (low heat) before adding the onion, garlic and black pepper. Cook for another 3 minutes, then add the thyme.
After 2 minutes add the tomato, scallions and cooked taro. Stir well and cook for another 3-5 minutes to infuse the taro pieces with the stewed salted fish.
We didn’t add any salt to the stewing of the salted cod as the residual salt from the curing process will be enough to season this dish. If you want you can also add some bell peppers for extra flavor and vibrancy (with the colours). Besides being very delicious, this dish can be considered gluten free as well.
Do serve warm.. btw this is a one-pot dish!