Egyptian Style Colocasia (Tora or Kolkas)


It was 14 years ago when I first came to Egypt.  Lots of the foods I ate were prepared and cooked in ways I never knew before, but most of the ingredients were not new to me.  And WHAM!  Along came colocasia, also known as tora.  Egyptians call it kolkas (pronounced ‘ool ass’) :).

What is colocasia?

Fresh Colocasia

Colocasia, also known as taro, is a root-like vegetable that has the texture of well-done potatoes:  creamy and smooth!  It’s also featured in some other ethnic Asian food.

How do Egyptians eat it?

Egyptians like to have colocasia as a stew over rice or with bread.  Usually, swiss chard is added, imparting a dark green color to the dish and adding lots of calcium.  We can find it both fresh and frozen here in Cairo, but I usually go with the frozen version, as you can see in the recipe below.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
(for the stew)
1 bag of frozen colocasia (tora)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 liter of water

(for the greens)
1 tablespoon of oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coriander
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 packet of chard (usually included in the bag of frozen colocasia)

Instructions:

1. Pour the frozen colocasia into the pot and keep the chard aside.

Frozen Colocasia

Frozen Swiss Chard (comes with the frozen colocasia)

2. Add the tomatoes, onion, bouillon cubes and water to the pot.

Put the colocasia and veggies in the pot

3. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
4. In a separate shallow pan or skillet, heat the oil.
5. Add the garlic, salt, coriander and chard. Stir fry for 3 minutes or until garlic is tender and slightly golden.

Preparing the greens

6. Add the greens to the vegetable stew.

Colocasia Stew with Greens

7. Simmer another 5-10 minutes.
8. Serve over rice or with baladi (pita) bread.

Egyptian Style Colocasia with Rice

Nutritional Information per serving:

Calories: 152; Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0g; Carbohydrates: 34g; Fiber: 6g; Protein: 3g

Alf Hana!!!  (May you have a thousand delights!)

20 responses to “Egyptian Style Colocasia (Tora or Kolkas)

  1. This is a really tasty dish especially in winter.

  2. This is a new and interesting dish for me. I’ve never cooked with taro before. I think I’ll have to try it now for sure.

  3. I’ve never cooked with taro before, either. I’ve just read about people eating it in books :) That finished dish looks soooo good though, and I’m a sucker for anything with coriander…I think I’m going to try it!

  4. Pingback: Rice Pudding (Egyptian and Vegan!) | Alf Hana

  5. This looks amazing! I’ll have to see if I can find some taro here.

  6. I just made this, it was delicious. An usual variation on the way we usually cook 2ol2as in my house. Thanks!

  7. Thanks, Sarah! I’m so glad you liked it!!!

  8. what is the serving size?

    • i know it says serves 4-6 but is the serving size one cup for 150 calories?
      this is a very good recipe!!! different from the 2olass my teta and mom make :)

      • Hi there, crista!
        The serving size is exactly 360 grams. That’s about a cup and a half or two cups. You can use a scale to be sure. We were pretty surprised too at the total amount of calories! Eat up!!!

        How is it different from the 2olass your teta and mom make? We’d love to hear about other variations!!!

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  10. the ol’ass i used to eat was like this recipe except there was no tomato and i usually ate it with chicken and rice at the side, very nice meal.

  11. How do you cook the fresh -not frozen -Taro?

  12. I have been making the colcasia without meat for a while now, but it has lacked something. Never heard of adding tomatoes-maybe that is a Cairo thing? I’m going to try that.

  13. I love Egyptian and all Middle Eastern Food. I visited Alexandria many years ago and had Mediterranean Caviar known as Batarek. How can I buy it? I live in the United States! Thanks

  14. Pingback: Taro in the Levant

  15. I just tried this recepie..it tatses great.Thank you

  16. Not sure where in Egypt you learned this particular variation but I’ve never seen it made with tomatos and we finish it with a healthy squeeze of lime.

    @Anonymous about cooking fresh taro its not much different just may require a longer boiling time to reach doneness. Also for the greens its a mix of chard and cilantro. Traditionally you run it thorugh a meat grinder (but a food processor works or a blender but be careful not to liquefy the greens) squeezing out the juice in the broth you are cooking the taro in and then browning the greens with the garlic.

  17. as salam alikum i just want to tell you i loveeeeeeeeeeee it…shokran..thank you

  18. Awesome! This is one of my favorites, my wife makes an awesome one.

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