Yam / Taro Rice is a savory one-pot meal made with long grain rice, taro (a.k.a. yam), chicken, and Chinese sausage. This tasty dish has a fluffy texture and is deliciously satisfying.
Taro is a flavorful, starchy tuber used in some Chinese and Japanese dishes. Growing up in Malaysia, we called this tuber, yam. I know this is really confusing because in some cultures, yam is used interchangeably with sweet potatoes. Taro also known as yam, is not a sweet potato at all.
Taro in Vegetarian Cuisine
In Chinese cooking, taro is often mashed and mixed with flour or starch to create mock meat dishes in vegetarian cuisine. This mixture is also often used to wrap meats to form dumplings. Perhaps the most well-known of these, is the Wu Kok, a delectable dumpling often found in dimsum fare. Another popular taro dish in Malaysia is Wu Tau Koh (Steamed Yam Cake). I will leave this for a future recipe.
Back in the old days, Yam / Taro Rice was considered a frugal and economical dish. Starchy tubers like sweet potatoes and yam (taro) were cooked together with rice so that the use of the precious grain could be stretched out. Today, sumptuous ingredients like dried mushrooms and shrimps are added to flavor the dish. In the recipe below, I have decided to use chicken and Chinese sausages instead because these two ingredients are preferred by my sons. The dish turned out to be equally delicious.
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- 2 Chinese sausages
- 8 oz skinless, boneless chicken breast (cut into tiny pieces) (225g)
- ¼ tsp ground pepper
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 8 oz taro / yam (cut into ¼ inch cubes) (225g)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 cups long grain rice (rinsed and drained) (400g)
- ½ tsp five-spice powder
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 2¾ cups water (660ml)
- Finely sliced green onions
- Fried shallots
- Sliced red chilies (optional)
- Soak Chinese sausages in a pan of hot water for about 10 minutes. Casings should puff up. Remove casings and slice sausages into coins. Seasoned sliced chicken breast with pepper and soy sauce.
- Brown sausages in a non-stick pan without oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove leaving the oil rendered in the pan. Set aside sausages.
- Fry cubed yam/taro for 6 to 7 minutes. Remove and set aside. Most of the oil would have been absorbed by the yam/taro.
- Add sesame oil to the pan. Sauté minced garlic for 30 seconds, then add seasoned chicken breast. Continue to stir fry until chicken turns opaque, about 3 minutes.
- Add rice and five-spice powder. Stir to get all ingredients well mixed.
- At this point, the entire content of the pan may be transferred to a rice cooker if preferred. Add water, salt, fried sausages, and yam/taro. Stir to mix and cook rice as usual in the rice cooker.
- If you are not using rice cooker, add water to the rice. Return fried sausages and yam/taro cubes to the pan. Stir to mix. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove lid, season with salt. Cover, reduce heat to medium and allow rice to cook for approximately 10 to 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
- Turn heat down to the lowest possible setting and allow rice to cook for another 10 minutes.
- Turn off heat and remove pan. Allow rice to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
- Fluff rice using a pair of chopsticks or a spatula. Dish some onto a plate and sprinkle with garnish.
A well cooked Yam / Taro Rice should be fluffy and not be mushy. Do not be tempted to add too much water even though yam/taro absorbs liquid when cooked. I only used an additional ¼ cup (60ml) water to my usual rice to water ratio and it was just right. I hope you’ll give it a try. This delicious savory one-pot meal is perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends.
NOTE: This post was updated on February 25th, 2014 with new pictures and additional write-up. Some minor changes were made to the original recipe.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎