Kūmara is something we need in our community. It’s an abundance crop, says Gretta Carney, owner of Hapī Ora organic café and māra in Ahuriri–Napier. She shares some of her favourite kūmara recipes.
This is a Hapī favourite. Salt baking the kūmara seals the skin, allowing the insides to bake into a melt-in-your-mouth mash.
4 medium kūmara Fine sea salt 1 medium onion 4 cloves garlic Oil, for frying 4 large leafy greens (kale, silverbeet, collard, puha, watercress) ½ cup cream cheese (dairy or nut) Salt and pepper ½ cup sour cream (dairy or nut) Karengo salt
Scrub each kūmara well and liberally sprinkle the wet skin with fine sea salt.
Place the kūmara on a baking dish. Don’t crowd them too much, as they need a bit of room for the skin to crisp up. Bake in a moderate oven at 180°C until soft to touch – about 30-45 minutes depending on the size.
Gently fry up some diced onion and thinly sliced garlic (we use deodorised coconut oil for most of our frying). Once the onions have softened, add some finely chopped leafy greens from your garden. We mostly use kale but puha would also be good. Only fry the greens for a minute so they have softened but still retain their bright colour, and turn everything out into a bowl.
Cut a strip off the top of each kūmara and carefully scoop out the flesh leaving enough intact so the kūmara holds its shape. Put the kūmara flesh into the bowl with the onion, garlic and greens and mash together. Add the cream cheese (we use our mushroom or cultured cashew cream cheese), mix to combine and season to taste. Stuff the mash into the kūmara shells, piling it up high.
Reheat as required and top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of karengo salt to serve.
This traditional pudding can be made with little or no sweetener given the sweetness of the kūmara.
2 large kūmara Honey – a couple of tablespoons
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a shallow baking dish with butter or coconut oil.
Peel and grate kūmara. Press kūmara into the greased baking dish. Drizzle or dab with honey.
Cover with a lid or tin foil and bake for an hour until the kūmara has the texture of a soft mash.
Serve hot or cold, with cream or custard.
Kūmara can be turned into a versatile dietary friendly canapé base. Use medium-sized kumara for bite-sized canapés.
Cut kūmara into 2mm slices, skin on.
Place onto a baking tray and brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake in a moderate oven at 180°C until just cooked and slightly browned.
Allow to cool to room temperature and top with your favourite canapé toppings. We have been sending them out with smashed blue cheese topped with pan toasted walnuts in a honey reduction and dusted with toasted thyme salt, but you could also use slivers of roast beef with chutney, or pesto and roasted cauliflower.
Gretta’s roroi and stuffed kūmara recipes have been reproduced with permission from:
Te Mahi Māra Hua Parakore: A Māori Food Sovereignty Handbook by Jessica Hutchings
Te Mahi Oneone Hua Parakore: A Māori Soil Sovereignty and Wellbeing Handbook, edited by Jessica Hutchings and Jo Smith.
As Puanga and the Matariki star cluster reappear in our midwinter sky, heralding the start of a new year in Aotearoa, we talk to a healer, a politician, a biodynamic farmer and two organic growers about what Matariki means to them and how they’re choosing to celebrate it.
Gretta Carney, owner of Hapī Ora organic café and māra in Ahuriri–Napier, talks about kai as medicine, the quantum science behind biodynamics, homeopathy and Hua Parakore – and shares some favourite kūmara recipes.