1/2 large taro root, chopped into large cubes
1 cup glutinous flour (or regular flour)
1 cup hot water (if not boiling taro; if boiling, use the boiling liquid instead)
1 egg, beaten
Some flour or panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), for dredging
Oil for frying
2 medium duck breasts, with skin on (skin off is fine)
5 medium shiitake mushrooms, fresh or dried (and rehydrated), chopped
1/2 cup dried shrimp, rehydrated
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, slightly chopped, optional
1/2 cup fresh Chinese chives, chopped
1-1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon five-spice powder
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Dash of pepper
1. Steam or boil the pieces of taro root until soft, and then remove into a bowl. Remove skin if still on, and mash until formed into a paste. Mix in the flour and some of the hot water until a slightly stiff and sticky dough is formed. Set aside for a few minutes to cool.
2. Dust the duck breast with the five-spice powder. Then in a pan, sear the duck breast until skin is browned and juices sealed. Once seared, remove from the pan and let rest.
3. In the same pan with the duck juices, cook the mushrooms, peanuts (if using), chives and dried shrimp to soak up some of the juices. Add the oyster sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, pepper and cornstarch. Let thicken slightly, and remove from the pan.
4. Slice the duck breast into smaller pieces, and mix it into the filling. Toss the filling well, and let sit for 15 minutes to let flavors mingle slightly.
5. Heat oil in a deep Dutch oven or a deep fryer, in preparation for frying.
6. Taking a large spoonful of the taro mash, stuff a spoonful of the filling inside. Pinch the taro to close, and dip into the egg and dredge with flour or panko. Fry dumplings a few at a time in oil until golden brown, and then let drain on paper towels.
7. Serve hot as a delightful appetizer or as part of a dim sum spread, with a small dish of chili oil or oyster sauce to dip.