Taro Burgers – Kalihiwai Dry Land

fullsizerender_4If you’ve ever driven through Princeville and over the bridge to Hanalei, you’ve seen the mass fields of wet land taro on Kauai. Fields and fields of  Kauai’s valuable commodity and canoe plant, Kalo grows not just in water beds but on dry land as well. I grow a ton of it. I don’t know why I wouldn’t. With just a bit of land and some loose soil, just about all taro needs is for you to put it into the ground. I suppose I have the bonus of living up Kalihiwai where it rains every day, so it gets a natural dose of hydration and really nice fertile soil, but with some gentle attention taro will grow anywhere.

There are a few things I feel we should all grow: pineapple, bananas, taro, ginger and turmeric just to name a handful. These plants proliferate on their own so while you might put one “mother” plant in the ground, what you’ll get is a family of plants to disperse when you’re ready to harvest. It’s the best investment you could make when growing food. It’ll make you think twice the next time you spend your precious energy growing lettuce….fullsizerender_2-copy
Here’s a simple recipe for you to try at home. Next time you get 1-2 corms of taro from the farmers market (or your garden), try this out! They’re delicious – don’t forget to adorn them with a yummy sauce and try and forgo a bun since taro is starchy enough – a collard leaf is the perfect blanket for your burger.

**A quick tip on cooking taro in case you are new to this blog: cut all the skin off your taro corm and then cut taro into large chunks. Rinse a couple times in running water then cover with water in a pot, add a large dash of salt and set to high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce to medium low and simmer for about 25 minutes. I promise that’s all it takes! Test the taro by piercing a fork through it and so long as you can, it’s pau (done).**

Allow to cool.fullsizerender_2-copy-2

~ 3 cups cooked taro

3 carrots chopped small

1 cup sweet corn

3/4 – 1 cup corn meal (you could try using regular flour, or gluten free mix but corn meal worked great)

salt, pepper

fullsizerender_3coconut oil for frying

Mash the first three ingredients. I got the best consistency when I pressed my immersion blender into the taro mixture. Once it was free of large chunks, I added the corn meal and seasonings. I made the patties as I added them to my cast iron skillet: heat a skillet to medium-high and add a layer of coconut oil. Add your patties as you make them and fill your pan. Allow to fry for a few minutes before you turn, they’re best crispy since the interior of the burger will be yummy and soft.

Once they’re as crispy as you like them, wrap in a collard green and adorn with whatever sauce you love. Regular condiments are great, but a local papaya seed dressing, a homemade pesto or something a little different like a chili sauce with thai flavors all make eating a burger a whole new experience. Enjoy!!!