Kumara, the New Zealand sweet potato, is a very Kiwi winter staple. There are different types of kumara, but the most common are the gold/yellow/orange ones, and the red ones. The reds look prettier, but if you peel them inside they are white, while the orange ones are still colourful under their skins.
Kumara are sweet and they mush and blend so well that I used them a lot when I was making baby food, years ago. The kids have progressed from baby food now, but I haven't stopped blending kumara: I am just adding more seasonings to it now :-).
I used the orange kumara here, peeled. This is not a recipe as such, you can add what you like to your blend. Peel and boil the kumara, or roast them for more flavour. Blend with a couple of garlic cloves (peeled), salt and pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, and a fevourite spice (some examples are smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, or a mixture of all of the above if you like). Serve as a dip or with a plate of meze.
Kumara and Celery Soup
This is such a classic NZ soup, everybody seems to know how to make this one: You just need some kumara (I used the red ones, peeled). Cook about 2 large kumara with 3 or 4 celery sticks (with leaves, most Kiwis do not add the leaves here, but celery leaves have lots of flavour and they are perfect for soup) in a litre of light vegetable stock. When the celery and kumara are soft blend well and serve. No need to add cream, in my opinion, but do if you like. Serves 4.
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©