Vegetables Facts and Tips 15: Taro/Sato Imo


I started this series (14 articles so far) quite some time ago to help my vegan and vegetarian (I’m not!) friends and omnivores as well because of the obvious health benefits.
Since then, I’ve learned and discovered a lot more information that could not ignored.
Therefore I plan to amend and expand all 14 former articles before I can continue introducing a lot more vegetables!
Incidentally、 nothing, pictures included, is copyrighted in my food blogs, so please feel free to use anything!

Actually this particular posting is completely new and dedicated to my new veggie-crazy friend Kinzie!

1) POTATOES, 2) TOMATOES, 3) BROCCOLI, 4) CARROTS, 5) Sweet Potatoes

Taro, also called Dasheen, and one of several plants called Cocoyam ,is a tropical plant grown primarily as a vegetable food for its edible corm, and secondarily as a leaf vegetable. It is considered a staple in Oceanic cultures. It is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants. In its raw form the plant is toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate, although the toxin is destroyed by cooking or can be removed by steeping taro roots in cold water overnight. Taro is closely related to Xanthosoma and Caladium, plants commonly grown as ornamentals, and like them it is sometimes loosely called elephant ear.

The name “taro” is from Tahitian or other Polynesian languages; the plant is also called kalo (from Hawaiian), gabi in The Philippines, dalo in Fiji, Alu (अळू) in Marathi, seppankizhangu in Tamil, chembu in Malayalam, Arvee, Arvi, or Arbi in Hindi, Kosu in Assamese, Kochu(কচু) in Bengali, and Karkalo in Nepali.

In Japan, it is called satoimo (サトイモ, satoimo), (kanji: 里芋) “village potato”. The “child” and “grandchild” corms which bud from the parent satoimo, are called imonoko (芋の子, imonoko). Satoimo has been propagated in Southeast Asia since the late Jōmon period. It was a regional staple food before rice became predominant.

The tuber, satoimo, is often prepared through simmering, but occasionally grated and eaten raw or steamed. The stalk, zuiki, can also be prepared a number of ways, depending on its variety.

It is a very popular tuber in Japan and although the best season runs from September to November, it is very easy to conserve and is extensively used in many Japanese dishes.

It is of especially great value to vegetarians and vegans!

Here are some sample of cooking amenable to special priorities:

Sato Imo An/Taro in sweet and sour sauce

Taro wholly fried and seasoned with umeboshi/pickled Japanese plums

Sato Imo Nikome/Stewed Taro


Ishikawawase, very tender once steamed. Must be peeled before consumption.

Dodare, with strong stickiness, very soft, prevalent in Eastern Japan.

Kyo Imo, also called Take no Ko Imo, very popular for its long shape.

Chiba Maru, great and elegant taste.

Ebi Imo, although called Tou no Imo, quite sticky.

Yatsu Gashira, “Eight heads”, great stewed.

Serebesu, little stickiness, can be cooked as normal potato.

Hasu Imo, is not actually the tuber itself but the stems, eaten as green vegetables.

Yamato Wase, from Niigate and Toyama Prefectures, very white, sticky and fine-grained.

Yahata Imo, from Niigata Prefecture, great for stews.

Dentouji Sato Imo, sticky. Stems can be also eaten.

Zuiki Imo, are actually edible shoots of sato imo, mainly cooked in stews.


-Very rich in potassium and phosphorus!
-Vitamins B1, B2 and C.
-Rich in fibers.


-Best season: September~November.
-Prevent them from getting dry. Wrap them in newspaper with their attached mud/soil and keep in a well ventilated place away from the light.
-When cut, the best specimens are uniformly white without specks or blemishes.
-Very beneficial against obesity.


-Combined with eggs, or chicken, or sardines, or bonito, helps brain activity and increases stamina.
-Combined with tofu, or dry bonito shavings, or skimmed milk, helps brain activity.
-Combined with mushrooms, or devil’s tongue tuber, or burdock root, helps lower blood cholesterol and cobat high blood pressure and cancer.
-Combined with seaweed, or miso, or onions, or chili peppers, helps with digestion and blood flow.

Not-Just-Recipes, Bengal cuisine, Cooking Vegetarian, Frank Fariello, Gluten-free Vegan Family, Meatless MamaFrank Fariello, , Warren Bobrow, Wheeling Gourmet, Le Petit Cuisinier, Vegan Epicurean, Miss V’s Vegan Cookbook, Comestiblog

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12 thoughts on “Vegetables Facts and Tips 15: Taro/Sato Imo”

  1. I would like to more about Imo. I in Oklahoma, where can I get it. I want to eat more of these kinds of veggies and introduce the to my family.


  2. What a beautiful and useful newsletter. Your knowledge about this subject is impressive. I haven’t tried imo yet–maybe my Asian market will have it–and now I know how to cook it. Thank you.


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