Taro Balls are a classic Taiwanese dessert item that can be found all over the country of Taiwan. Each taro ball is extremely simple to make and is all natural in color. They provide a chewy taste that is lightly sweet and delicious and pairs well with many other ingredients. This is one dessert you will absolutely love to eat.
My first encounter with this treat was when I was visiting the area of Jiufen in Taiwan. There were these stalls that were selling these strangely vibrantly colored balls. I never seen anything like it!
And in fact, many people were lining up to buy this special treat. It got me wondering what exactly was this that made so many people want to try it. I saw the name and saw that it was made from both taro and sweet potato. And in my mind, I was thinking why would these things be so popular?
However once I took a bite, I was instantly hooked! The balls were slightly sweet, incredibly chewy, and tasted exactly like a taro and sweet potato. Except a lot more flavorful.
I have to admit, I probably went back to buy this dish at least 3 more times! It was a dish that tasted so good that I knew it was going to explode in popularity.
And sure enough, a few years went by and I’m starting to see more and more stores starting to sell these things. Especially here in Houston, Texas, where I live currently.
I saw myself going out to buy this delicious dish almost every weekend. And it was definitely starting to hurt my wallet.
Which is why I wanted to make these balls at home. Making them homemade is so much better as you can adjust to your liking and make as much as you want.
So if you’re ready, I’m going to be showing you how to make both the taro balls and sweet potato balls in the most authentic way possible.
What Are Taro Balls?
Taro Balls are some of the most tastiest things you can ever eat.
You can find them being served in many places all over Taiwan as they are a favorite dessert treat to have any time of the day. Most commonly however is in the area of Jiufen which these taro balls are most famous.
These balls might be vibrant in color which might scare some people. However do not worry. These taro balls are all natural as they are made from taro. And depending on where you go, most of the time you can find them being coated with sugar water to help give them that sweet taste.
They taste exactly like taro and provides a nice chewy consistency when eaten. It’s a very flavorful bite that you will absolutely love.
However taro isn’t the only thing you can use to make these balls.
In fact, you can also use sweet potato to make sweet potato balls too. They are exactly the same as taro balls except the taste is that of a sweet potato. And we will be showing you how to make them as well in this recipe.
Are They Healthy?
Yes! Both Taro Balls and Sweet Potato Balls are incredibly healthy to eat!
Mainly because they are made from using all natural ingredients. No preservatives, no added chemicals, nothing that can harm your body.
For taro balls, the main ingredient is taro, starch, sugar and some water.
For sweet potato balls, the main ingredient is sweet potato, starch, sugar and some water.
As you can see, there is nothing in this that is harmful to the body. In fact, eating these balls are actually a very healthy thing to do as both taro and sweet potato offers plenty of health benefits.
Ingredients To Make Taro Balls And Sweet Potato Balls
The ingredients you’ll need to make the Taro Balls and Sweet Potato Balls can all be commonly found in any local supermarket.
For the ingredients, you’ll need the following:
- Taro – 1 and a half cup peeled and sliced into 1/2 cm wide (Makes the grey/white ball)
- Orange Sweet Potato – 1 and a half cup peeled and sliced into 1/2 cm wide (Makes the orange ball)
- Purple Sweet Potato – 1 and a half cup peeled and sliced into 1/2 cm wide (Makes the purple ball)
- Tapioca Starch – 3/4 Cup for each of the root vegetables. (Can be substituted for Sweet Potato Starch)
- Sugar – 4 Tablespoon
- Water – As needed
Note: When choosing your purple sweet potato, make sure you pick the one with a purple flesh (inside color).
And that’s it!
How To Make Taro Balls And Sweet Potato Balls
Making both the taro balls and sweet potato balls are a pretty easy thing to do.
To make these balls, you’ll have to do the following:
Prep your steamer and steam the sliced taro and sweet potato pieces for around 30 minutes. If needed, you can work in batches as to not overfill each steamer.
Once the taro and sweet potato pieces are steamed, you’ll want to separate them. For instance, put the taro pieces all together into a bowl, put the orange sweet potato pieces all together into another bowl, and then the purple sweet potato all together into another bowl.
So you should have 3 bowls at this time all filled with either taro or sweet potato.
Then you’ll want to mash them using a fork or a potato masher until it becomes a mashed consistency.
Pour about 3/4 cup of tapioca starch into each of the bowls.
Add about 1 teaspoon of sugar as well into each of the bowls too.
Working with 1 bowl at a time, you’ll want to knead the mixture until it forms into a dough. It should be shaped into a ball that isn’t too soft or sticky. Repeat this step with the other 2 bowls until you get 3 dough balls (white/gray, purple, orange)
Take a dough ball and roll it into a long log shape, about 1.5 cm in diameter.
Then use a knife and cut the log into equal 1.5 cm pieces. These pieces will eventually become your taro or sweet potato balls.
Dust the small pieces in some tapioca starch so that they can stop sticking to each other and then put them into a bowl.
Repeat the steps with the other balls until you have made enough pieces of various colors.
Bring a pot of water to boil.
Once the water is boiling, you’ll want to put a handful of pieces into the water to cook. They should cook for about 2 minutes or until everything rises to the top and floats. (start with the taro pieces, then orange, then purple)
While they are cooking, you want to prep a bowl with some room temperature water.
After the balls are done cooking, remove them from the boiling water and immediately put them into the room temperature water bowl.
Prep another bowl with some sugar. Then transfer the balls from the room temperature water into the sugar bowl. Stir things around.
They are now ready to serve.
Repeat the steps until you have cooked all of your balls.
And that’s basically it!
See how easy and fun that was?
What To Pair With It?
What do you pair with taro balls and sweet potato balls?
Well the answer to that is ….”Anything you want”!
This dish is incredibly versatile and pairs well with almost any other dessert item you can think of. In fact, some of the most popular items you can pair this with includes things like:
- Grass Jelly
- Red Bean Soup – I have an awesome recipe for this!
- Shaved Ice
- and more!
If you see some of my pictures in this post, you’ll notice that I even combine all of these things together to make a mega dessert dish! Adding red bean soup and grass jelly with your taro balls or sweet potato balls makes for an incredible dish that delivers tons of flavor.
So play around with things and get creative.
I guarantee it will taste amazing!
How To Store/Keep This Dish
Storing the taro balls or sweet potato balls is a relatively simple thing to do.
Basically all you’ll need to do is to store them in a air-tight container with a lid and put it into the fridge. They should keep well for up to 3 days.
Typically these balls are eaten cold or at room temperature, so you don’t really need to heat them up when taking them out of the fridge. However if you want to eat them hot, then you are certainly able to do so. Simply just boil them in some water again and toss them around in a bowl of sugar to make them appear just like new.
Taiwanese Taro Balls Desert Recipe (九份芋圓)
- 1 1/2 Cup Taro Peeled and sliced into 1/2 cm wide (Makes the grey/white ball)
- 1 1/2 Cup Orange Sweet Potato Peeled and sliced into 1/2 cm wide (Makes the orange ball)
- 1 1/2 Cup Purple Sweet Potato Peeled and sliced into 1/2 cm wide (Makes the purple ball)
- 3/4 Cup Tapioca Starch 3/4 Cup for each of the root vegetables. So if you're making all 3 colors, you'll need 3x the amount.
- 4 Tablespoon Sugar
- Water As needed
- Prep your steamer and steam your taro and sweet potato slices for about 30 minutes. You can work in batches if you want.
- After steaming, place them into separate bowls. So put the taro pieces into one bowl, the orange sweet potato into another bowl, and the purple sweet potato into another bowl.Then using a fork or potato masher, mash the pieces until they become a mashed consistency.
- In each bowl, pour about 3/4 cup of tapioca starch as well as 1 teaspoon of sugar. Then knead each mixture until it starts to form into a dough. The texture should be somewhat firm and not too soft where it sticks to your hands.Note: The amount of tapioca starch you'll need may vary a bit.Note: If the dough is too dry, you can add in about 1 teaspoon of water at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
- You should have 3 dough balls by this time. A grey/white ball, a purple ball, and an orange ball.Dust your working surface with some light tapioca starch.Working with one ball at a time, roll the ball into a long log that is about 1.5 cm in diameter. Then use a knife and cut the log into tiny 1.5 cm pieces. These pieces will eventually be your balls.
- Dust the tiny pieces with some tapioca starch so they don't stick and put them into a bowl.Repeat until you have used up all your dough and made them all into tiny pieces.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl up with room temperature water.Grab another bowl and pour in some sugar. (about 1 to 2 tablespoons will do)
- Once the water is boiling, put in a handful of raw pieces in to cook for about 2 minutes or until they are floating.Note: Start with the grey/white pieces, then the orange, then the purple.
- After they are done cooking, transfer them to the bowl with the room temperature water.Then transfer them to the bowl with the sugar and mix them around to coat them in the sugar.That is basically it!
- Repeat until all the pieces are done cooking.
Want more recipes? You can check out my site for more amazing recipes!