This Taro Fire Fries with Green Herb Aioli recipe is an exclusive from Bryant Terry’s cookbook Vegetable Kingdom. Click on the image below to find out where you can purchase a copy of the book. Disclaimer: the cookbooks we feature are independently selected by our Best of Vegan editors and are in no way sponsored by the author and/or the publisher. All content is used with permission.
Taro Fire Fries with Green Herb Aioli
pili pili sauce • fresno chiles • cayenne • parsley
makes 4 to 6 servings
Back in 2014, I was a guest speaker at the thirtieth Veg Food Fest in Toronto, and I had a ball! I gave a talk to hundreds of people about the contemporary food justice movement in the United States, followed by a cooking demonstration and book signing of Afro-Vegan. To all my fans in The 6ix and throughout Canada, much respect! For real. Y’all showed me so much love that weekend and continue to send good vibes and support from afar (shout-out to NeedleGroove in Montreal). Anyway, some of the organizers took me out on the town that night, and we hit up a few bars for drinks and bites. This is when I was introduced to a vegan version of poutine, a Canadian dish of French fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy. Can’t say I was sold on poutine (no offense, friends), but it did inspire this recipe. I like the concept: crisp French fries with a mélange of mouth-watering toppings. So I play off that structure here using batons of taro (instead of potatoes) topped with spicy pili pili sauce, Fresno chiles, a dusting of cayenne, and creamy herb-infused aioli to calm down all that heat. Sh***************t. This is pro-level snack food. Trust me, you will need a stack of serviettes to wipe all the remnants of that yummy sauce from your mouth and fingers when you’re done!
green herb aioli
- 1 cup vegan mayonnaise
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 pounds fresh taro root, peeled and cut into ½-inch-thick fries
- Pili Pili Sauce (see below)
- 2 Fresno chiles, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus ⅓ cup loosely packed whole leaves
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
- Make the aioli: In a food processor, combine all the ingredients for the aioli and puree until the mixture is green. Transfer to a squeeze bottle and set aside.
- Make the fries: Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the olive oil and salt and mix well with a fork to combine. Set aside.
- Spread the fries in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking. Remove the fries from the oven and gently pour them into the bowl with the oil and salt. Toss to coat evenly, return them to the baking sheet, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, until the fries are browning and crisp.
- To serve, transfer the fries to a large plate and generously sprinkle with pili pili sauce. Generously squirt the aioli over the top. Top with the Fresno chiles and parsley. If you really want to take this dish to the next level of heat, sprinkle the fries with some cayenne. Serve immediately.
Suggested Soundtrack: “Unstoppable (feat. Santigold & Lil Wayne)” by Drake from So Far Gone
pili pili sauce
makes about 1 cup
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- ¼ cup finely diced white onion
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 2 to 6 bird’s-eye chiles, seeded
- ¾ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon bourbon
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon unsulfured molasses
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh basil
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- In a small saucepan, warm the oil over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add the onion and sauté until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the orange zest, garlic, paprika, and salt and sauté until the garlic is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender. Add the chiles, vinegar, lemon juice, bourbon, maple syrup, and molasses and puree until smooth.
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Partially cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture starts to reduce, about 45 minutes. Stir in the basil and white pepper and simmer for 2 minutes more. Use immediately or store in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
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Reprinted with permission from Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes by Bryant Terry, copyright © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Photography copyright: Ed Anderson © 2020
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