This Taro Basket or Yam Ring (芋钵Yù bō or 佛钵 Fú bō) recipe has a crispy outer layer and filled with Kung Pao style vegetables that are SO delicious and the look of this dish is just appealing!
What is Taro Basket (Yam Ring)?
Taro Basket, also known as Prosperity Yam Ring is a dish to kick off any celebrations. It’s commonly served to welcome the Spring Festival 金芋满堂喜迎春, Jīn yù mǎntáng xǐ yíng chūn. The roundness of the ring signifies unity while the golden color filing signifies wealth.
Growing up, I only get to eat this dish every once in a while at weddings or New Year. Some other names are 芋钵Yù bō as Taro Bowl or 佛钵 Fú bō as in Buddha’s bowl.
As the name implies, the main ingredient is taro and typically mold into a ring and then deep fried. It has a very similar texture to the popular dim sum dish, Wu Kok. It has a flaky outer layer with a lot of taro aroma.
The taro basket is then placed on top of a bed of fried noodles, usually rice vermicelli or mung bean thread noodles.
As for the filling, it’s typically a mixture of stir-fried meat, seafood, and an array of colorful and beautifully cut vegetables. Today, you’ll see how to make a vegan version of this taro basket that is perfect for a celebration or during the Lunar New Year. This recipe is inspired by MyLittleKitchen’s featured restaurant – I Lotus.
How to Cook Taro Basket (Yam Ring)
To make the taro basket, cut the taro into cubes. Place them on a steamer-safe plate and steam over high heat until they are soft.
Meanwhile, mix together wheat starch with hot boiling water while stirring continuously. Knead into a soft dough. Set aside.
While the taro is still warm, mash into a fine paste. Season with sugar, salt, and 5-spice powder.
Then, add in the wheat starch dough and coconut oil. Knead by hand until everything is incorporated.
Dust a work surface with wheat starch. Transfer the taro dough to the surface and mold into a 13-14 inches long ‘belt’ with about 1cm thick and 2.5 inches in height.
Prepare a pan with parchment paper. Roll the taro ‘belt’ and turn it up to make a round mold. The height should be about 2.5 inches tall. Carefully transfer the ring to the pan and refrigerate for an hour.
Fry the Crispy Noodles
To make the crispy noodles, I used dried mung bean vermicelli. Add enough oil to a large wok and turn on the heat. To check if the oil is ready, drop a small piece of vermicelli and if it floats and puffs up, then it’s ready.
Or use a long chopstick to test the oil’s temperature. Here is how you do it; Stick a wooden chopstick into the oil, and if you see large bubbles formed around the chopstick, then it’s ready. The larger the bubbles, the higher the oil temperature is.
Carefully add in the noodles to the hot oil. When you place the noodles in, try to separate the strands so they won’t clump together. It will just take seconds to see all the noodles puff up and turn crispy.
Sieve out the noodles and place it on a plate with paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
Fry the Taro Basket
Remove the taro basket from the fridge. Using the same wok, heat up the oil again, and slowly place the taro basket into the oil. You can use a sieve to help you lower it down.
Then, turn the heat to medium to slowly cook the basket. If your oil does not cover the whole taro basket like me. Use a spatula to spoon the hot oil over the top of the basket.
Once you are able to move the taro, turn the taro basket around and cook the other side. The taro basket is ready when you get a brown crust surrounding the basket. Remove and place it on top of the bed of crispy vermicelli.
Prepare the filling
To make the filling, prepare the sauce ahead of time.
Then, once you have fried the taro basket, pour out the oil and use the same wok to sauté the ingredients. Simply stir-fry the spices until fragrant and add in the vegetables of choice.
Toss to combine and season with my Kung Pao sauce. If you like Kung Pao dishes, check out my Kung Pao Cauliflower.
How to Serve
To serve, once the filling is fully cooked through, scoop the mixture onto the taro ring and serve warm as is.
Taro Basket (Yam Ring) Cooking Tips
- Only a small amount of wheat starch is needed. Be sure to use hot boiling water to mix it into a soft dough.
- Plant butter vs Coconut Oil – I’ve tried both and they worked great but I have to say the coconut oil which is all fat works better to create that lacy crispy outer layer
- 13-14 inches log will create the best ring and it’s easy to handle
- Refrigerate the taro ring before frying will help keep the shape intact.
- Do I need to soften the noodles first? No, I did that and let them dry out. When I fry them, they immediately crumbled together. So, I used dried noodles straight from the package and this gave me the puff look that I wanted.
- Both rice vermicelli and mung bean vermicelli works great for this recipe
- The filling is very flexible and I used a mixture of vegetables such as corn, carrot, peas, tofu, and konnyaku slices. I added some toasted cashews for the crunch
Check out my other Taro recipes:
Why you Need this Taro Basket (Yam Ring)
- This is a crowd pleasing dish that has great meaning behind it
- Perfect for any celebration
- Easily customizable with your favorite ingredients
- Crispy ring with a delicious and flavorful filling
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Taro Basket or Prosperity Yam Ring – (芋钵Yù bō or 佛钵 Fú bō)
- 250 g taro
- 50 g wheat starch plus more for dusting
- 3 tablespoon hot boiling water or more
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon 5-spice powder
- 25 g coconut oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 dried chili
- 1 small carrot sliced
- 3 oz tofu cubed
- 3 oz King Oyster mushrooms sliced
- 3 oz Konnyaku sliced
- ¼ cup baby corn
- 3 tablespoons frozen peas
- 3 tablespoons roasted chestnut
- 3 tablespoons toasted cashew
- 1 oz dried mung bean vermicelli
Prepare the Taro Basket
- Cut taro into small cubes and place them on a heat-proof plate.
- Steam the taro over high heat for 20 minutes until the taro is soft. Check with a fork, if you can break them apart easily, then it's ready.
- Meanwhile, mix wheat starch and hot boiling water in a bowl until combined. Knead into a soft dough. If you see dry spots of flour in the bowl, gradually add in the water, one tablespoon of water at a time. Set aside.
- Once the taro is ready, mashed into a fine paste and season with salt, sugar, and 5-spice powder.
- Add in the wheat starch dough and coconut oil. Knead until everything is well combined.
- Dust a work surface with wheat starch and line a small baking pan with parchment paper.
- Transfer the taro dough to the work surface. Using your hand, mold the dough into a long 'belt' about 13-14 inches long. The thickness is around 1 cm and the height is about 2.5 inches.
- Turn the dough up and form it into a ring. Seal the ends together. Carefully transfer the ring to the baking pan and refrigerate for an hour.
- Fill a large wok with oil, enough to cover the taro. Once the oil is heated, fry the rice noodles until they expand and fluff up. Please see notes to check how you can test the oil temperature.
- Remove the vermicelli using a sieve and transfer to a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Then, place the noodles on a cleaned plate.
- Now, use the same wok to fry the taro basket. Slowly lower down the basket into the hot oil, be careful as the oil is really hot.
- Once the basket is in the oil, let it cook for a minute and turn the heat to medium. If the oil doesn't cover the whole taro basket, use a spatula to spoon the oil to cook the top part.
- Slowly flip so the whole taro basket is fully cooked through.
- The taro basket is ready once they turn golden brown. Remove and let it sit on a paper towel as well to absorb excess oil. Place the taro basket on top of the fried noodles.
Prepare the Filling
- Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl until well-combined and set aside.
- To make the filling, heat up a large wok, then add in a tablespoon of oil. Sauté garlic and chili until fragrant, then continue to cook the carrot for another 30 seconds.
- Add in the tofu and pan-fry until golden brown over low-medium heat. Push the ingredients to the side of the wok and sauté mushrooms until they release their aroma.
- Add in the Konnyaku slices and stir-fry for a few seconds. Stir in baby corn, frozen peas, bell pepper, roasted chestnuts and toss to combine.
- Add in the sauce and cook until the sauce thickens. Fold in the toasted cashews and turn off the heat.
How to serve
- Spoon the filling into the taro ring and serve this dish warm.
- To check if the oil is ready, drop a small piece of vermicelli and if it floats and puffs up, then it’s ready.
- Or use a long chopstick to test the oil’s temperature. Here is how you do it; Stick a wooden chopstick into the oil, and if you see large bubbles formed around the chopstick, then it’s ready. The larger the bubbles, the higher the oil temperature is.