Easy and yummy taro balls from the very beginning.
In speaking of Taiwanese food, the first two options come to mind is taro balls and Taiwanese fried chicken, followed by Lu Rou Fan and Taiwanese beef noodles soup and grassy jelly. Those dishes and desserts are quite easy to find in Mainland China with very authentic taste. For example, in my home city, Xinguang Tiandi, a Taiwanese commercial estate realtor, bring us almost the most authentic Taiwanese food, from raw food to cooked one. We feel so happy and good to live in such an ear with so advanced transportation and great culture exchange.
Although called as taro balls, those small balls might be made from trao and sweet potato. Making them at home are quite easy and funny. In summer, we always serve those chewy balls with a chilled sweetened sweet beans, tofu pudding or grass jelly. But in winter days, they are also good in warm syrup soups.
Traditional Taiwanese taro balls use sweet potato starch (地瓜粉，红薯粉). Tapioca flour has also been used. But the texture balls produced would be slightly different. Sweet potato starch creates a more authentic flavor while tapioca flour can bring us a more elastic texture.
- Different ratio of the flour and the yam creates different textures. More flour means higher elasticity.
- Those taro balls can be frozen well. Dust the balls with a thin layer of cornstarch or sweet potato starch to keep them separated. Then cook directly for next serving. They can be frozen up for 1 or 2 months.
- Make sure the water is already boiling before adding the balls, otherwise they disintegrate to from a starchy slurry. After adding the balls, slightly stir them to prevent them stick to the bottom of the pot. When the balls float on the surface, add around 2 tablespoons of cold water in the pot, to drop the temperature of the water and creates a chewier surface and an evenly heating to the inner side. We use this method in cook jiaozi (Chinese dumplings) too.
- If you plan to serve those taro balls with chilled ingredients. Toss the balls with sugar once cooked. The remaining heat helps to melt the sugar and from a syrup on the surface. This process can make the taro balls more shinning and appealing and meanwhile keep them separated from each other.
Ingredients for Taro Balls
- 200g peeled taro
- 70g to 90g sweet potato starch or tapioca starch
- 3 tbsp. sugar if needed (optional)
- water as needed, for adjusting
Cut the potatoes and taro into small cubes and then steam with high fire for 20 to 30 minutes until soft.
Smash taro well, mix in sugar when the taro is still hot. Add sweet potato starch in. Knead to form a soft ball, add water if needed. Add more flour is your mixture is too wet and more water if the mixture is too dry.
Then divide the dough into 4 equal portions, shape each one into thin long log (around 1.5cm in diameter). Then cut into small dices. Dust some corn flour or sweet potato starch to avoid them from sticky together.
To cook the taro balls
Bring a pot of water to a boiling, and then gently lower the balls in. Add 2 tablespoons of cold water when the taro balls floats. Then continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
In the meantime, add 2 slices of ginger and 1 pieces of brown sugar to a small pot of water. Bring to a boiling.Scoop the syrup water in serving bowl and transfer the taro balls out once cooked.
Other ways of serving taro balls in addition to this Tangshui
- You can match it with a red bean soup, either hot or chilled.
- Taro balls can be served with tofu pudding or grass jelly.
How to Make Taro Balls
- 200 g peeled taro
- 70 g to 90g sweet potato starch , homemade tutorial
- 3 tbsp. sugar if needed optional
- water as needed for adjusting
Sweet Potato Balls
- 100 g peeled sweet potato or purple sweet potato
- 35 g to 50g sweet potato starch
- 1 tbsp. sugar if needed optional
- Water as needed for adjusting
- 2 slices of ginger
- 1 L water
- ¼ cup brown sugar or 1 piece of yellow sugar
- Cut the potatoes and taro into small cubes and then steam with high fire for 20 to 30 minutes until soft.
- Smash taro well, mix in sugar when the taro is still hot. Add sweet potato starch in. Knead to form a soft ball, add water if needed. Add more flour is your mixture is too wet and more water if the mixture is too dry.
- Then divide the dough into 4 equal portions, shape each one into thin long log (around 1.5cm in diameter). Then cut into small dices. Dust some corn flour or sweet potato starch to avoid them from sticky together.
- To cook the trao balls
- Bring a pot of water to a boiling, and then gently lower the balls in. Add 2 tablespoons of cold water when the taro balls floats. Then continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
- In the meantime, add 2 slices of ginger and 1 pieces of brown sugar. Bring to a boiling.
- Scoop the syrup water in serving bowl and transfer the taro balls out once cooked.
Will tapioca starch give better texture than sweet potato statch?
Yes, tapioca starch preforms the best.
Hi! these were so much fun to make, but I didn't know that you could freeze them so I boiled them all...I cannot finish them all. Is there a way that I can store them once the balls are already boiled?
No. There is no good way of storing boiled balls. I am sorry.
Hi, i try your recipe and fall in love making them. I love eating them and got addicted .haha
Very good n delicious especially in winter..serve with hot ginger syrup,tea and the sweet potato balls.
So i bought many packets of tapioca starch,
So may i know if it is good to make a lot of the sweet potato balls ..coat with the flour .
Or just make a Big dough n store ..what is best..
Hope someone can advise. I miss these childhood desserts.thank you
If you want to keep them for a longer time, shape all the small pearls and then coat with extra starch (to avoid sticky) and then place in air-tight bag. Freeze to store and cook them directly for next serving.
Can I use potato starch instead of sweet potato starch?
No. They create different texture.