Taro Fire Fries with Green Herb Aioli Recipe

Roast fresh taro root into golden, crispy fries, then drizzle with a homemade herby mayo and a bright and spicy African pepper sauce in this satisfying vegan dish.
October 27, 2021, 11:00am
Vegetable Kingdom_Taro Fire Fries
Photo by Ed Anderson

Makes 4 to 6 servings 
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour


for the pili pili sauce: 
1 tablespoon peanut oil 
¼ cup|40 grams 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|180 ml red wine vinegar 
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
1 teaspoon bourbon 
2 to 6 bird's-eye chiles, seeded 
¾ cup|180 ml 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 

for the green herb aioli: 
1 cup|220 grams vegan mayonnaise 
¼ cup|10 grams minced fresh parsley 
1 tablespoon minced garlic 
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme 
⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt 


for the fries: 
¼ cup|60 ml extra-virgin olive oil 
½ teaspoon fine sea salt 
2 pounds|950 grams fresh taro root, peeled and cut into ½-inch thick fries 
pili pili sauce
2 Fresno chiles, thinly sliced 
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus ⅓ cup|10 grams loosely packed
whole leaves 
cayenne pepper (optional)


  1. Make the pili pili sauce: In a small saucepan, warm the oil over medium-low 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 

Reprinted with permission from Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes by the Bryant Terry, copyright © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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