Kolokasi is a specialty in Cypriot cuisine. It is a root vegetable, which is usually stewed in a tomato sauce. Since Cypriots don’t really consider a meal a meal unless it has meat in it, pork is often added to the stew (see here for traditional recipe). Apparently, kolokasi was brought to Cyprus by the Romans who would cook it in sauce of pepper, cumin, rue, vinegar, oil and liquamen and to whom the root vegetable was known, as it is known now scientifically, as colocasia.
Now, I have to admit, I've never liked kolokasi and only ever ate it under protest and, more recently, as I've developed mentally and morally, to avoid conflict. Nevertheless, it has weighed heavily on me, this dislike of kolokasi, this repudiation of my Cypriot heritage.
Recently, however, I was told – by my aunt, who is English – that kolokasi is in fact Jerusalem artichoke. Interesting. Then I read an article in the newspapers last week about popular TV chef Gordon Ramsay's exclusive new restaurant in Paris, at which Jerusalem artichoke soup – a French specialty, apparently – is on the menu.
I tracked down Gordon Ramsay's recipe, which looked straightforward: Jerusalem artichoke, leek, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and double cream. I omitted the bacon – since it's Lent and I'm not eating meat; the bouquet garni – since I had no idea what this is; the floury potato – since I wasn't sure what 'floury' meant in this context; and instead of chives used parsley. Otherwise I closely followed Gordon's recipe. And guess what? It was delicious. I felt proud of myself. I was a good cook and a good Cypriot. I liked kolokasi.
With this new-found enthusiasm for the humble kolokasi, I decided to do more research into it – I googled it – and discovered that… I was misinformed. Kolokasi and the Jerusalem artichoke are not one and the same. Kolokasi is actually taro – which I'd never heard of before – and that what I'd made wasn't Jerusalem artichoke soup, but taro soup. And taro soup like it's never been made before. I, in fact, amid all this confusion, had invented a recipe, a good recipe too. Can I now have my own TV show?
*Go here, for traditional kolokasi recipe.