During my last visit to Chinatown, I picked up some taro with no real plan on how I was going to use it. After seeing some gorgeous pictures of potato gnocchi on Pinterest, I decided to make a taro-based version, and loved how easy and blissfully meditative the gnocchi-making process turned out to be.
After a quick boil of the taro, I pureed it to create a subtly purple mash, and spiked it with some Chinese Five-spice powder (which I’ve used before and love), then sprinkled with “00” flour to create a fluffy dough. The dough was separated into six pieces, rolled into long strips, then chopped into 1-inch pieces. After boiling a small batch, I decided they needed a quick saute, which produced a flavor reminiscent of french toast or funnel cake. So it became a dessert, which I rounded out with a savory salted coconut sauce and a dark and subtly sweet raw chocolate sauce. Once drizzled over the warmed gnocchi, everything sort of melted together, creating a beautiful and unique dessert.
This recipe makes a lot of gnocchi, so I froze them on a baking sheet lined with a silpat, then transferred them to a ziploc bag. They can then simply be pulled from the bag as needed, defrosted, boiled and sauteed for an easy dessert.
for the gnocchi
- 500 grams taro, cubed
- 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G, whisked with 2 TB water
- 1/2 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
- 120 grams of “00” flour
- extra “00” flour, for dusting
for the coconut sauce (makes enough for 2-4 servings)
- 1 TB Earth Balance vegan butter
- small can (5.46 fl. oz.) unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/4 tsp salt
for the chocolate sauce (makes enough for 2-4 servings)
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli brand)
- 1/8 cup raw agave syrup (add more to sweeten as desired)
- halved fresh cherries
- extra raw agave syrup
- powdered sugar
- Boil the cubed taro in plenty of salted water for 10-12 minutes, or until it mashes easily with a fork. Drain very well, mash and add the Ener-G/water mixture, along with the Chinese 5-spice, then puree with an immersion blender until silky. Add about half of the flour, and stir to combine while the taro mixture is still warm. Then, add in the rest of the flour to form a slightly sticky and shaggy ball.
- Transfer to a well-floured surface and allow the taro ball to slightly cool. Knead for about 3 minutes, tossing in little handfuls of extra “00” flour until it is no longer sticky. Divide into 6 pieces, then roll each one into a long 1-inch thick piece, then cut into 1-inch thick pieces.
- Place the gnocchi pieces so they are not touching each other on a baking sheet lined with a silpat. You can either proceed to boiling/sauteing the desired amount of gnocchi to serve immediately, or you can place the entire baking sheet in the freezer, then transfer the frozen gnocchi to a ziploc bag once they are frozen. Just let them thaw out a bit before boiling them.
To make the coconut sauce
- Melt the vegan butter, coconut milk and salt together in a small saucepan. Once it reaches a small simmer, remove from the heat. Place in the refrigerator to chill. Before serving, allow it to sit out at room temperature while you boil/saute your gnocchi.
To make the chocolate sauce
- Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan or microwave, then whisk in the cocoa powder. Add in the agave, taste, and add more until desired sweetness is achieved. Place in the refrigerator to chill. Before serving, melt it in the microwave for a few seconds to achieve a pourable consistency.
To cook the gnocchi
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the desired amount of gnocchi. They will immediately sink to the bottom—once they rise to the top after a couple of minutes, they are done. Remove them with a skimmer and pat dry with a paper towel. (Any water left on the gnocchi will cause a bit of sputtering during sauteeing, so use caution.)
- Heat a little olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add in the gnocchi, and allow to slightly brown on one side for 2-4 minutes. Flip over, and allow the other side to brown. Remove from the heat.
Place the desired amount of browned gnocchi into bowls. Drizzle with the two sauces and garnish with the cherries. Serve immediately.