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5 from 2 votes

Best Taro Balls and Sweet Potato Balls (芋圓/地瓜圓)

This classic Taiwanese treat is deliciously chewy and only needs a couple of ingredients. If you love boba, you'll love these colorful "relatives" of boba.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Asian, Taiwanese
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 115kcal
Author: Edwina

Ingredients

Sweet Potato Balls

  • 150 g orange sweet potato or other kinds of your choice, sliced
  • 80 g tapioca starch (flour) or enough to form a dough, plus more for dusting.

Taro Balls

  • 150 g taro root cut into 1" cubes
  • 60 g tapioca starch (flour) plus more for dusting
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp boiling water around 30-40g if using a scale

Purple Sweet Potato Balls

  • 150 g purple sweet potato sliced
  • 60 g tapioca starch (flour) plus more for dusting
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp boiling water around 30-40g if using a scale

Other

  • sugar

Instructions

  • Steam taro, sweet potato and purple sweet potato for 20 minutes or until softened. Take the sweet potato out to work with while keeping the taro and purple sweet potato warm in the pot/steamer until you're ready to work with them.

Make Sweet Potato Balls

  • Place sweet potato slices in a bowl (drain any extra liquid from steaming) and mash with fork while it's still hot.
  • Add in tapioca starch, knead and shape into a ball (Cover and set it aside if your are not shaping it right away). Depending on the type of sweet potato you use, you might not need all the tapioca starch. Just add tapioca starch until it can be shaped into a dough ball and it doesn't stick to your hand.
  • Cut the dough into half before rolling it into a log (about ⅔" or 1.5cm diameter). Cut the log into small pieces, coat with more tapioca starch to keep the pieces from sticking together. Repeat to finish the rest of the dough.

Make Taro Balls

  • Place taro chunks in a bowl and mash with fork while it's still hot, add sugar and tapioca starch (flour) and mix with your hands until clumpy.
  • Pour 2-3 tbsp (or 30-40g if using a scale) of hot boiling water into the middle of the mixture, let it sit for 30 seconds before kneading into a ball.
  • Cut the dough into half, shape it into a ball and then flatten with the dough cutter to ⅔" or 1.5cm thick.
  • Cut the dough into small squares, smooth out the edges with hands and then toss with tapioca starch to prevent them from sticking.

Make Purple Sweet Potato Balls

  • Place purple sweet potato slices in a bowl and mash with fork while it's still hot, add sugar and tapioca starch (flour) and mix with your hands until clumpy.
  • Pour 2-3 tbsp of hot boiling water (or 30-40g if using a scale) into the middle of the mixture, let it sit for 30 seconds before kneading into a ball.
  • cut the dough into half, shape it into a ball and then flatten with the dough cutter to ⅔" or 1.5cm thick.
  • Cut the dough into small squares, smooth out the edges with hands and then toss with tapioca starch to prevent them from sticking.

Cooking

  • To cook, bring a pot of water (about 6 times the amount of taro/sweet potato balls you plan to cook) to boil over medium heat. Once it boils, add taro/sweet potato balls, give it a quick stir and cook until they all float to the surface.
  • Once they are floating, cook two more minutes before draining. Stir in sugar (about 1 tbsp per cup of taro/sweet potato ball) to prevent them from sticking.
  • Let it cool down a little before serving. It will be chewier when it's cool and will stay chewy for a couple of hours in room temperature.

Storing

  • Freeze the uncooked taro/sweet potato balls right after you make them. Only cook the amount you plan on eating each time. Put them into Ziploc bags, arrange the balls into a single layer, and freeze horizontally to prevent them from sticking together. You can freeze it for up to 3 months.

Notes

  • If this is your first time making this recipe, I would recommend that you start with just making two kinds, to make the whole process a bit easier.
  • It's important to mix in tapioca starch while the mashed taro/sweet potato is still hot.
  • Depending on the kind of sweet potato you use, the amount of tapioca starch you need can range from 30% to 50% of the weight of sweet potato. If you use more tapioca starch, the balls will be chewier. But if you use too much, the balls won't have much flavor.
  • Remember to cover the dough you are not working on to prevent them from drying out.
  • When cooking the taro/sweet potato balls, it's important to (1) use enough water (at least 6 times) and (2) add the balls into the water when it's boiling (not just simmering), otherwise they will melt or clump together.

Nutrition

Calories: 115kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 18mg | Potassium: 194mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 4268IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg