Kolokassi is a root vegetable also known as wild taro, dasheen, elephant ears or Colocasia esculenta, usually cooked with meat and goes well with pork but also chicken and beef. In Cyprus we usually add taro to a tomato flavoured pork stew with celery.
Apart from Cyprus, this root can also be found in Greece but only on the island of Ikaria, in Egypt but also in Hawaii and Tahiti and in other parts of the world.
This root is available from February to December and it can be stored for some days. I stored it in the refrigerator for two weeks and it was in perfect condition.
Taro is most commonly prepared the same way as potato. To prepare, peel the skin thickly and cut and break into large pieces as otherwise a mucilaginous, sticky juice, which will be released and the kolokassi will melt while cooking. Taro can also be prepared by cutting away the skin and leaving whole, rubbing the flesh with lemon juice then frying or baking slowly in oil until tender.
The traditional way of cooking this meal was to fry the meat and taro in a lot of oil and then it was transferred in a saucepan with the oil and the tomatoes, celery and spices and it was then simmered until the meat became tender and the sauce thick.
Recently I visited Cyprus and could not resist the temptation of bringing two roots with me. I stored them in the refrigerator waiting for my son to return from Crete, where he has been working since April. Well, yesterday he returned and as it is one of his favourites, I prepared it for him and it was delicious.
The recipe is included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!