For the degree I'm obsessed with taro currently, it's a bit surprising that I've only known it existed for about a year now. My college roommate came to visit us on her way to Turkey last year and we took her to one of our favorite places for dinner - Santouka ramen. It's a small, counter-serve restaurant nestled in the food court of Mitsuwa, the Japanese grocery store in our area that I've referenced before. It's probably one of my favorite places ever.
So while we were there, my friend strolled off to browse around and came back to our table with a bright purple beverage in hand: taro boba tea. And from that moment, friends, I have never looked back. Taro all the time.
Taro is a starchy, tropical plant of the arum family. The roots are often cooked and prepared like potatoes - though it's worth noting that both the root and leaves are toxic when uncooked (so be careful with garnish ideas for this!). I've heard it can be added to curry, which pricks my interest. I definitely intend to try my hand at cooking taro root in a more savory style. But for the purposes of making milk tea or this ice cream, the most practical method is to buy taro powder. I've been using this Bossen Grade A Taro Powder for both taro milk tea/boba tea and in this ice cream recipe and I highly recommend it. It is a large quantity, though, so I'd suggest either trying a taro milk tea somewhere or finding a smaller package of taro powder if you're unsure whether you'll like the flavor.
For the ice cream itself, you will need an ice cream maker. I think this would be a decent option for a no-churn recipe, though, so I'll try that out down the line. I'll be sure to post that version as well if my experiments turn out. If you don't already have an ice cream maker, my personal favorite is the Kitchen Aid mixer attachment. We used some wedding gift money to acquire one a couple years back and I have been so pleased! It's so helpful not to have to store an additional motor. We just keep the bowl in the freezer and pull it out whenever the ice cream hankering hits. And since it utilizes the mixer to churn, it's a very quiet process. Which is quite a relief considering the ice cream maker I grew up with sounded rather like a constipated elephant crossed with a screeching cat. So yeah, one that purrs is definitely a level up.
What are your favorite ice cream flavors? Do you have any offbeat flavors you've wanted to try? Let me know in the comments and I will do my best to incorporate them into future posts!
taro root ice cream
yield: ~1 quart of ice cream
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups whole milk
1 cup grade a taro powder
4 egg yolks
⅓ cup sugar
In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk, cream, and taro powder and whisk thoroughly.
Pour the milk and taro mixture into a medium saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Allow it to simmer for a few seconds, then remove from the heat and allow it to rest for five minutes.
In the large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar together with a hand mixer (or a whisk, if you’re feeling particularly strong). Very gradually, ladle small amounts of the cream mixture into the eggs while beating. Be careful and ensure that you do this slowly so that the eggs temper and don’t cook.
Once you have incorporated all the cream mixture, pour everything back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 5-10 minutes or until the custard begins to thicken.
Remove the custard from the heat and allow it to cool for five minutes, then refrigerate it for an hour.
Pour the custard into your ice cream machine and follow the machine-specific directions. For my Kitchen Aid mixer add-on, it should churn for around 25-30 minutes.
Once the ice cream has churned, remove it to a freezer-proof container and freeze for several hours before serving.