Steamed Taro with Chopped Salted Chiles
This is one of Fuchsia Dunlop's favorite recipes.
1 1/4 pounds taro
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons peanut oil or melted lard
2 tablespoons chopped salted chiles (duo la jiao)
1 teaspoon black fermented beans (dou chi), rinsed
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic, optional
1. Wear rubber gloves to peel the taro. If they are tiny, you can leave them whole; otherwise, slice them, or for really large ones, cut into batons. Place in a heatproof bowl with the salt and 2 tablespoons of the oil or lard, and use your hands to mix thoroughly; set aside.
2. Heat the wok over a high flame until smoke rises, then add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil or lard and swirl around. Add the salted chiles, black beans, and garlic, if using, and stir-fry briefly until they are fragrant.
3. Pour the chile mixture over the taro. Place the bowl in a steamer and steam over a high flame for about 30 minutes, until tender. Serve in the bowl, giving everything a good stir before eating.