, ,

A favourite among the local taiwanese, taro and sweet potato balls are a hit with tourists too. It was also a top-of-the-list dessert for us when my friends and I visited in June this year.  According to website taiwanfoodculture.net, legend had it that it was created by a woman from Yilang who married into a family in Ruifang during its coal mining heydays. Using available ingredients and after several attempts, her creative taro balls became an instant hit with the locals as well as the coal miners’ community and it has since then become an extremely popular Taiwanese dessert associated with the districts of Jiufen and Ruifang.

a must-try dessert when in Taiwan !

a must-try dessert when in Taiwan !

Hoping to recreate it, I ploughed through several blogs and experimented with various recipes. Most advised to add corn flour and/or sweet potato flour to the steamed and mashed taro.  Unfortunately, the final product was nowhere near those that we had (not chewy not all). I then experimented with tapioca starch instead and find the bite and taste better than the former (slightly chewy; my 85 years-old mum loves it!). Finally, I think I hit the right note with an equal portion of glutinous rice flour and tapioca starch added to it (the cook agrees…haha…). The bite was by far the closest to those we tried in Taipei. Eaten hot or cold, it remains chewy. Will certainly stick to my method instead.

These chewy balls can be added to any sweet base desserts such as green bean soup, red bean soup or simply syrup. It can be added to ice-cream too !



150 gm taro (yam), cubed or sliced
150 gm sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons sugar

(B) – (combine both flour and divide into 2 equal portions)
50gm glutinous rice flour
50gm tapioca flour


1) Slice taro and sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with sugar and steam until soft.

2) Mash taro and sweet potatoes in separate bowls. Add equal portion of (B) and knead into a pilable dough (if dough is too dry, add some hot water; if it’s too wet, add more flour)

3) Roll dough and cut into small cubes (this is easier than rolling into smaller balls). Meantime, bring a pot of water to boil.

4) When water is boiling, put in cubes to cook.  When done, cubes will float to the top.  Transfer cooked cubes immediately to a pot of iced water. Leave to immerse for 10 mins.

5) Drain and serve with a sweet base dessert (e.g. green bean soup, red bean soup, brown sugar syrup base soup, ice-cream, etc).  Cubes can be chilled in an air-tight box for upto 3 days.

Sweet green bean soup with taro and sweet potatoes cubes

Sweet green bean soup with taro and sweet potatoes cubes