No, it’s not a funny shaped coconut, it’s taro root. Also known as corm, the underground root of the taro plant grows to about the size of a turnip in an oblong shape with brown, fibrous skin. The flesh is white to cream colored with a crispy texture and nutty flavor.
Taro root and leaves should be processed and boiled before eating because they are unpleasantly bitter, but more importantly, they are harmful to your health when eaten raw. Taro roots can be used in a variety of dishes like curries or mashed potatoes. You can replace taro root in just about any recipe that uses potatoes. It can also be roasted, steamed, or sliced and fried like chips.
When buying taro root, look for corms that are fresh and firm. Also, pick one up and make sure that they feel hairy and heavy. Avoid roots with any soft spots, cracks, or featuring sprouts. Store them in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place like you would a potato.
Emily Jacobs is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRecipes.