What the Heck Is Malanga Coco?

Learn about the ‘Japanese potato’ and it’s culinary potential.

Description: Also known as yautia, big taro root, cocoyam, Japanese potato, tannia, and eddo, malanga coco is a large, dense root vegetable in the same family as taro root. The mottled exterior is brown to reddish, while inside the flesh can be cream, pale yellow, or grayish purple. 

Cuisine Connection: Similar to how the potato is used in temperate climates, malanga coco is most popular in Caribbean countries (e.g., Cuba and Puerto Rico) and can be mashed, boiled, sautéed, and, most sinister, deep-fried as fritters and chips.    

Flavor Profile: Similar to a potato in texture, malanga has a woodsy taste with a hint of black walnut. It is a natural thickener, and makes stews and soups creamy. Don’t eat it raw as it can irritate the throat.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Malanga: Since it’s perhaps the most hypoallergenic food in the world, highly allergic people will do well eating malanga and items made with malanga flour. Hopefully, these same allergic people know to stay away from AYCE buffets and hit the treadmill once in a while—malanga is also quite caloric, containing 135 calories per one-half cup, cooked.