Kumara is nu­tri­tious and ver­sa­tile

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

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

Yo­ghurt Dress­ing

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.

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