Mashed dasheen has become one of my favorite side dishes to serve at home and for large events. Partly because preparing this dish is as easy as whipping up a batch of mashed potatoes. Also for its rich nutty flavor and creamy texture. Mashed dasheen is not a traditional Caribbean dish but, dasheen is a staple Caribbean food. Depending on where you’re from you might know this high fiber, protein-rich, nutrient-packed, root food by any number of other names. Malanga, taro, yautia, and eddo are just a few that come to mind.
Truth is, each name refers to variations of a particular root food that has subtle differences in texture and flavor. Some Jamaicans swear by the purple-colored root. Others say they’ve never seen a purple dasheen. I do know that the lighter colored malanga I find in North American grocery stores is similar in texture with a milder flavor. The Spruce Eats gives a pretty good explanation of the difference between each one.
In the Caribbean, dasheen is usually cut into chunks, cooked, and served alongside meat, fish, or chicken. Sometimes it is served with dumplings and other ground food. Sometimes not. In modern Spanish and Caribbean cuisine, the taro is sometimes sliced and deep-fried to make taco shells. Regardless of how you prepare dasheen the basic steps are the same. Peel, add to boiling water, and cook until tender. In this case, the potato-like texture and delicious nutty flavor of this mashed dasheen paired perfectly with thin strips of pepper steaks and French cut green beans.
- 1 lb Dasheen, (taro root, malanga)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic, 1½ tsp chopped
- 1 tsp parsley, chopped fine
- 2 C water, for boiling
- 2 TB butter
- Use a sharp knife to peel the outer skin from the dasheen. Cut the dasheen into large cubes. Bring the water to boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the dasheen, salt, garlic, and parsley to the water. Cover and boil until dasheen is soft.
- If the dasheen begins to cook away, raise the heat to help the water dissolve more quickly. Once the water is almost evaporated. Remove the pot from the heat. Allow it to cool for no more than 10 minutes. Use a whisk to whip in the butter unril the dasheen becomes fluffy. Dasheen should be light and fluffy like mashed potatoes.