Today, we’re going to try a hairy black potato with a rough peel that may irritate your skin, with flesh that may turn grey when cooked and with a texture that may include a hint of slime.

Right, now here’s the good part. When the eddo is cooked it has a slightly sweet, chestnut flavour and silky smooth texture that makes our everyday potato seem awfully boring.

The barrel-shaped tropical tuber is part of the taro family, with 200 relatives of all shapes and sizes. It’s showing up in more and more mainstream supermarkets, usually cosying up to the other tropical roots.

When I showed it to my Jamaican neighbour, she sniffed and said she prefers the coco. The next day I saw a sign for cocos at Loblaw’s. It looked remarkably similar, with more of a bell shape, and cost a lot more than the $1.99 a pound I’d paid.

I still didn’t know what to do with my hairy potatoes.

But a store owner I spoke to from Shanghai was enthusiastic and recommended cooking them first, then slipping off the peel. He also mentioned that the Chinese love to serve them sprinkled with sugar. I later read they’re part of the filling for moon cakes during the midautumn festival.

Some say the eddo has three times the fibre of a regular potato, with a low glycemic index, in case that helps sell you on this homely tuber.

Guess you’ll just have to experience it for yourself!

Buy and Store

  • Eddoes are available year-round from countries such as Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Colombia.
  • Choose firm, dry tubers with no signs of shrivelling or mould.
  • Buy eddoes of a similar size so they cook evenly.
  • Store in a cool, dry place up to a month.
  • Do not refrigerate.
  • Use immediately if they begin to soften.


  • Always cook eddoes before eating. They’re great steamed, boiled or fried.
  • Crystals of calcium oxalate just beneath the peel may irritate some people’s skin. If this is you, use gloves to peel and handle eddoes.
  • Some people (including me), prefer to peel the eddo before cooking. Use a sturdy peeler or paring knife. Rinse to remove any hairy bits. Or Ultrabet boil them whole, cut in half when cooked and slip off the skin.
  • The eddo’s flesh is white or cream-coloured with pink or purple flecks.
  • Cooked eddoes can turn a slight purplish grey. This is normal!

Boil: Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add whole or peeled eddoes. Simmer about 20 minutes or until a knife tip slides in easily. Don’t overcook.

Microwave: Rinse eddoes. Using a microwaveable steamer or a plastic colander that fits inside another bowl, add 1/2 cup (125 mL) water to bottom of the bowl. Place eddoes in the top of the colander part. Cook 2 lb (1 kg) eddoes on High for about 8 minutes. Ready when a paring knife slides in without resistance.


  • Eddoes can replace potatoes in many dishes; use in any dish calling for taro.
  • After cooking, they can be sliced, grated or mashed with milk and butter.
  • Do not serve cold; reheat if necessary.
  • Eddoes shine in soups and stews where they happily absorb other flavours. Boil or parboil them before adding to ensure they’re fully cooked.
  • They’re fantastic in a chicken or vegetable curry. Think Indian aloo gobi with cauliflower.
  • Eddoes love rich pork dishes.
  • Deep-fry cooked eddo into fritters. These are especially good on Caribbean vacations.
  • Keep it simple by cutting cooked eddo in half or quarters and tossing in a pan sizzling with butter, cooked onions and sliced garlic. Serve hot.

Spice-coated Eddo

Crunchy on the outside and tender inside, this simple dish is adapted from my favourite vegetable writer Elizabeth Schneider.

8 to 10 smaller eddoes of equal size

2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil

2 tsp (10 mL) each: brown or yellow mustard seeds, cumin seeds

1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) ground coriander

1/2 tsp (2 mL) each: hot or smoked paprika, ground turmeric

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt or to taste

Scrub eddoes and drop into boiling salted water. Boil until barely tender when pierced, about 10 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle, trim ends and slide off skin or remove with paring knife. Cut in half or quarters, depending on size.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet. Add mustard and cumin seeds, stir to coat then add eddoes in a single layer, shaking pan to distribute spices. Cook in batches if necessary. Reduce heat slightly and brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Turn with tongs and brown other side, another 5 minutes. Sprinkle with spices and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Cynthia David is a Toronto-based food and travel writer who blogs at

Cynthia David is a Toronto-based food and travel writer who blogs at

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