The idea behind roasting gabi/taro inside burning coconut husk came from cassava. When the three of us, three brothers, were still young kids and used to help our pops in his farming activities, roasted kamoteng kahoy was our unusual merienda. The usual were boiled gabi, cassava, ube and Saba banana.
We were gathering coconut husks, the remains after harvesting, and pulling off some kamoteng kahoy. Brushed the cassava with husk to remove adhering soils. Assembled the half part of coconuts husk. Placed facing up on ground. Fired it. Put enough cassava. Covered it with the other half of husk. Then waited until all the husk turned to ashes.
This side activity was being done during break time or before work commenced. It’s good to have a ready snack right after work.
It was a good finger food. Holding the toasted cassava with bare hands. Pulling off the brittle hard skin. Then eating the juicy to powdery flesh. The cassava with no excess water and with a strong smoke taste and aroma.
The traditional way to cook cassava, sweet potato and taro. Roast it inside burning coconut husk.
1) Get a large and matured coconut. Take off the husk. Set aside the coconut for later use. Save all the husks. It will be used to cook taro corms.
2) Get taro corms. Fit them inside the assembled coconut husk. Do not overfill, fill one if the corm is large, fit more if there is ample of space left.
3) Take out the corms. Ignite the husk by pointing a burning paper against it. Again, arrange the corms inside and close it immediately.
Do this step with extra caution. Dry coconut husk is very flammable. Use fire proof gloves or tongs to prevent skin burns. Carry out the operation in an open area. It produces a large flame and considerable amount of smoke when the flame when off. It might be good for smoking fish tinapa.
4) The coconut husk burns for approximately 20 minutes and leaves charcoals, ashes and the roasted corms. Let it cool for about 15 minutes before touching.
5) Peel off the burnt and toasted skin. It is hard, removing definitely need the aid of sharp knife. Peel it carefully and prevent the black coal from going to yummy cooked flesh.
Traditional taro taste, slight feeling of itchiness, kick of smoke flavor plus the dryness that makes me want to drink water with every bite. I did drink a lot after eating. Extreme heat have evaporated too much moisture and infused some smoke flavor. Perhaps the flavor of burning coconut husk.