Hirino me kolokassi

Hirino me kolokassi

Pork with taro

The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Alan Benson

When I was introduced to kolokassi in Cyprus I did not recognise it. The locals informed me kolokassi was Cyprus sweet potato and only available there — and indeed it does look like a very large sweet potato. As it happens the Egyptians use it also, but it is unknown elsewhere in the region.

The preparation of kolokassi is accompanied by a certain amount of ritual. Scrub the root, dry it well, peel, do not wet once peeled — if you do happen to wet it, dry it well again.

Chip off pieces — do not chop into it. To do this, slice into the root at an upwards angle, then break pieces off in thin wedges. As the root is large in circumference, work your way around it, ending up with pieces rather like apple wedges.

This is all to stop the taro becoming slimy during cooking.

The whole matter of the kolokassi intrigued me, until I found out that it was the taro native to the Pacific Islands — a long way from home!


Quantity Ingredient
1kg boneless stewing pork
60ml corn oil
1 large onion, chopped
185g celery, thickly sliced
250ml tomato passata
2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground black pepper, to season
1kg taro
1/2 lemon, juiced


  1. Cut the pork into 2 cm cubes, leaving some fat on the meat.
  2. Heat half the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and brown the pork over medium–high heat, removing each batch to a plate.
  3. Reduce the heat and add the remaining oil. Gently fry the onion and celery until the onion is translucent. Add the passata and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the browned sediment from the base of the pan.
  4. Return the pork to the pan. Season with the salt and a good grinding of pepper. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Scrub the taro, dry well with paper towels and peel. If the taro is soiled during peeling, rinse it and dry well. Chip off pieces as described in the introduction to the recipe.
  6. Place the taro on top of the pork and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Tilt the pan so that liquid runs over the taro, adding a little water if necessary.
  7. Cover tightly and simmer for a further 30–45 minutes, or until the pork and taro are tender. Do not stir once the taro has been added.
  8. Tilt the pan and skim off the excess fat. Adjust the seasoning and serve.
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Middle Eastern
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