Kumara is nutritious and versatile
I find it very easy to fall into a rut with my favourite foods and recipes. It’s sometimes hard to move past what you know and love, venture outside your comfort zone and try some new combinations.
The recipe below combines two ‘‘nutrient dense’’ ingredients that I love, combined with a subtle layer of Indian spices and unique textures to create a delicious lunch dish or lighter dinner the whole family will enjoy.
It is also a great way to introduce Indian flavours to your child’s palate.
Maori brought kumara to New Zealand over one thousand years ago from the Pacific Islands.
It was very difficult to grow back then due to the kumara caterpillar, which could destroy crops. Cleverly, they combated these parasitic creatures by using skilfully tamed black-beaked seagulls.
Kumara is a very nutritious vegetable. It’s high in antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E and beta-carotene, as well being a great source of fibre and gluten free.
Anti-oxidants help wage war against free radicals in your body. Simply put: free radicals try to damage healthy cells and antioxidants help to neutralise them.
There are three main types of kumara: Owairaka Red Kumara, which is red on the outside, white in the middle and a Kiwi favourite that has a delightful mellow flavour.
It holds its shape well when cooked which makes it great for salads, curries and even on the barbecue.
The Beauregard Orange Kumara is sweeter in taste and has a softer ‘‘melt your mouth’’ texture. These are great for mashing and soups. I have used this variety in this recipe.
Finally there is the Toka Toka Gold Kumara, a subtle combination of the two above, which has a softer texture with a delicate sweet taste.
Its colour and flavour add a great addition to a roasted vegetable dish.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult and this recipe is neither.
Kumara and Quinoa Cakes with Yoghurt Dressing Ingredients
3 cups of orange kumara mashed (dice and boil until soft, drain and then mash) 2 cups of cooked quinoa (1 cup of dry quinoa cooked according to pack or in rice cooker. Remember the 1 dry cup to 2 cups of water rule applies with quinoa) 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped 1 medium red onion diced 4 tablespoons rice flour (or normal flour if not gluten free) 1 tablespoon of olive oil 1 teaspoon of sea salt 1 tablespoon ground cumin 2 teaspoons curry powder 1 tablespoon of ground coriander 1 good bunch fresh coriander chopped
cucumber, peeled, deseeded and grated
clove of garlic crushed Juice and finely grated rind of half a lemon 175g tub of natural or Greek yoghurt
teaspoon cumin Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan to a medium/high heat and fry the onion, garlic, cumin, curry powder and ground coriander for 3-4 mins until the onion has softened. In a large bowl, combine the mashed kumara, quinoa and spice mix. Mix through the flour and fresh coriander. Make patties in your hands (about 3 tablespoons each) and place onto baking paper. Bake for about 20 mins at 200 Celsius. Turn after 10 mins. Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and set aside. Remove cakes from oven and serve immediately with the dressing and a salad. Makes about 20 cakes and serves 4-5.
Kumara and Quinoa Cakes with Yoghurt Dressing.