反沙芋頭, or deep-fried sugared taro is a very famous Chiuchow (the southern part of China) fare for the sweet tooth. Overall, Chiuchow people is at the top of game when it comes to sweet in Chinese cuisine, head and shoulder above others when the subject is tong shui (糖水), or sweetened soup. It is absolutely mind-boggling to see a pan can turn out seemingly endless varieties of sweetened soup with all kinds of ingredient.
As celebrated as the sugared taro is, you won't see it often in many Chiuchow eateries outside China because of the cost-profit reality. The recipe is easy but the timing is difficult to master; unlike other desserts, this one requires the full attention of the chef in the cooking. At best, the dried sugar syrup should embrace the taro like a casing after the stir-fry, that's how the name came: fan sa, the sa, or sugar, is on the outside of the food rather than inside. The same can apply to the deep-fried sugared lily bud (反沙蓮子) and the deep-fried sugared mandarin (反沙桔子).
White sugar 400g
Peel the taro. Trim the ends and sides of taro to make a rectangular block, then slice about 2 or 3 cm thick. Stack the slices and cut into sticks 2 cm wide (just a tad bigger than that of the pommes Pont Neuf).
Deep-fried with pre-heated oil to golden in color; make sure it is well-done.
Remove the taro and the oil from the wok.
Add white sugar and a little water. Cook the syrup slowly until the surface of the liquid bubbles. Add the fried taro.
Here comes the tricky part: remove the wok from the fire immediately. Switch on a fan in full gear and stir the taro in the liquid in the wind. Which way the wind blow does matter in this case: blow to the taro so the syrup can solidify during the stir-frying.