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TUBERS Potatoes and Kumara

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Author Topic: TUBERS Potatoes and Kumara  (Read 541 times)
« on: June 11, 2009, 07:19:19 pm »

Tune in to tubers

By JAN BILTON - The Marlborough Express | Thursday, 11 June 2009

FOOD STORE: Pizza potatoes are great served as an accompaniment or a snack.  JAN BILTON/The Marlborough Express.

FOOD STORE: Pizza potatoes are great served
as an accompaniment or a snack.
JAN BILTON/The Marlborough Express.

Tubers are a great source of nutrients and even better, they taste delicious, too.

Both the potato and kumara are versatile: they can be the mainstay of soups, salads, stuffings, casseroles, sweet bakes as well as delicious side dishes.

Exactly where the kumara originated is a matter for debate.

Kiwis tend to think of it as an indigenous food and indeed it was one of the country's first. And over the years, horticulturalists took something good and made it even better.

The kumara like the potato, yam and Jerusalem artichoke is a tuber, the thick rounded part of a rhizome (underground stem) that stores the plant's food. No wonder they're so good for us.

Potatoes have long been thought of as power houses packed with nutrition.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) in his History of Life and Death praised the potato as a "health-giving and fortifying food".

Tubers are a good source of complex carbohydrate that ideally should provide 50 per cent of our total energy intake.

Complex carbohydrate helps prevent a craving for the sweet foods that contain simple sugars that are quickly digested and which then accelerate hunger pangs.

Tubers keep their nutrients, freshness and taste longer if stored correctly.

Remove them from the plastic bag in which they were purchased and store loose, in a cool, dark, dry place.

Or, cut off a leg of an old pair of (clean) pantyhose, drop the tubers into it and hang in a cool, dark, dry place.

Never store in the refrigerator as the flesh will discolour and break down. And remember, storing tubers and onions together will cause potatoes and kumara to rot more quickly.


Great served as an accompaniment or a snack.


  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 1 cup grated tasty cheddar cheese
  • 1 spring onion, diced
  • tsp each: dried basil, oregano
  • 2 Italian-style sausages, cooked
  • 1 tomato, sliced


  • Microwave the potatoes on high (100 per cent) power for about 4 minutes or until soft and cooked.
  • Meanwhile, combine the cheese, spring onion and herbs.
  • Halve the potatoes lengthwise.
  • Place on a grilling tray, cut-side up.
  • Sprinkle with half the cheese mixture.
  • Thinly slice the sausages and place on the potatoes.
  • Top with the tomato and the remaining cheese mixture.
  • Place under the grill until the cheese is bubbling.

Serves 4.



  • cup mild olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup fresh parsley and 1 tsp dried basil
  • cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 400g kumara


  • Place the oil, garlic, parsley and basil in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
  • Place in a bowl and stir in the cheese.
  • Peel, slice and steam the kumara.
  • Place on a serving plate.
  • Microwave the basil sauce on high (100 per cent) power for 1 minute.
  • Stir well.
  • Spoon the hot sauce over the kumara.
  • Alternatively, bake the kumara then split and serve the sauce on top.

Serves 4.


To keep the potato as dry as possible, steam or microwave rather than boil.


  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • tsp salt
  • 25g butter, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp each: chopped chives, chopped parsley, sugar
  • 1 cup cooked and mashed potato
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


  • Preheat the oven to 225C
  • Lightly grease a baking tray or Swiss roll pan.
  • Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
  • Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add the herbs, sugar, potato and egg and mix to form a dough.
  • Turn on to a lightly floured surface and gently knead, until smooth.
  • Pat out to form a 2.5cm thick rectangle. Cut in 8-10 equal squares.
  • Place on the baking tray or pan.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden.
  • Place the scones on a wire rack, cover with a clean tea towel.
  • Best served warm.

Excellent served with soup.

Makes 8-10.


The common, purple-skinned kumara are also suitable for this recipe.


  • 400g golden kumara
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1-2 tsp each: olive oil, crushed garlic
  • 70g pine nuts, chopped
  • 8 each: capers, sundried tomatoes, well drained and chopped
  • 1 small egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • freshly ground salt and black pepper to taste


  • Peel the kumara and steam until cooked. Mash well. Chill.
  • Saute the onion in the oil, until transparent.
  • Add the garlic and pine nuts and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  • Add the capers and sundried tomatoes and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  • Remove from the heat and combine with the kumara.
  • Add the egg and enough breadcrumbs to bind.
  • Mix well.
  • Form into 4-6 patties.
  • Cover and refrigerate to set.
  • Cook in a little oil in a non-stick frying pan for about 5 minutes each side.

Great served as an accompaniment or with a salad as a light meal.

Serves 4-6.

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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2011, 02:55:09 pm »

Taking up the challenge of the humble spud

By GRAHAM HAWKES - The Southland Times | 10:10AM - Monday, 26 September 2011

DELICIOUS: Rosti potatoes — also known as mock whitebait patties in the Hawkes’ household — offer a different way to serve potatoes. — JOHN HAWKINS/The Southland Times.
DELICIOUS: Rosti potatoes — also known as mock whitebait
patties in the Hawkes’ household — offer a different way to
serve potatoes. — JOHN HAWKINS/The Southland Times.

AT THIS time of the year a daily challenge can be thinking of a different way to serve potatoes.

Since we've usually had enough of New Zealand's favourite starch either mashed, roasted or baked, a fresh style is always appreciated.

During my training years at the Otago Polytechnic our tutor informed us that by the time we finished our apprenticeship we should be able to serve the potato a different way every day of the year.

That in itself is not hugely difficult: the essential is understanding which potato to serve at the appropriate period and, more importantly, which variety to use to achieve the best result with the appropriate cooking style.

Potatoes are one of the few vegetables native to the New World, probably originating in the South American Andes. Botanically, potatoes are succulent, non-woody annual plants and members of the nightshade family.

The portion we consume is the tuber, the swollen fleshy part of the underground stem.

Potatoes are hardy and easy to grow making them inexpensive and widely available throughout the world. Having been a staple for around 200 years and enjoyed by 97 per cent of New Zealanders (more than half of them consuming the vegetable four times a week) finding another way of presenting them is guaranteed to please.

When buying potatoes, always choose ones that have been grown close to you whenever possible. Potatoes vary according to the region and the season they are grown in.

Choose potatoes without cuts, bruises, green patches or shoots. At times you may choose a smooth-looking potato over a misshapen one and assume that is a better product. This is not necessarily the case as some varieties characteristically have skins that are netted or have eyes in them.

A potato does not have to look good to work brilliantly. Different potatoes will cook differently so you need to select a potato suited to your end use.

However, the same variety will sometimes cook differently. Generally, potatoes are marked as boiling, salads, wedges or baking and I guess that is a reasonable enough guide.

If the potato does not perform the way you predict, then it will be necessary to change the way you prepare it, or change your cooking method.

The other option is to understand whether the potato is floury or waxy. Some potatoes are less floury or less waxy than others. These potatoes are general purpose ones and will tend to perform most tasks, although perhaps not as well as the ones that clearly fall into the floury or waxy category.

As the season progresses, potatoes change. For example, an Ilam Hardy early in the season is quite waxy. As the Ilam Hardy gets older, it is a good general-purpose potato; towards the end of the season, when more of its natural sugars have converted to starch, it tends to be floury. Not all potatoes will show such a range of characteristics. Weather, climate and soil have a dramatic effect on the cooking performance of the potato.

A locally grown Nadine maybe very waxy, while a Pukekohe-grown Nadine may be only slightly waxy.

The flavour is also influenced by the same factors. As a guide, Draga, Nadine and Frisia and most early new-season varieties would be classified as waxy. Ilam Hardy, Red Rascal, Agria would be more commonly known as floury.

Waxy potatoes are ideal for boiling, salads, casseroles and soups, while floury are ideal for mashing, wedges, roasting, chips and baking. Rua and Desiree would be the most common general-purpose potatoes available at present.

So this week let's look at a dish that utilises a floury potato and brings back memories of 83 Harvey St in my younger years.

Often on a Friday night we were served what my parents called mock whitebait patties. They were in fact a potato fritter, which we found absolutely delicious and always looked forward to.



Ingredients: (makes about four fritters)

  • 4 large Ilam Hardy potatoes
  • 2 rashers of streaky bacon
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 50g lard
  • 1 small onion, peeled and grated
  • 50g butter


  • Cook the potatoes by boiling in salted water until nearly cooked.

  • Drain and allow the potatoes to cool. Once cooled, peel and coarsely grate.

  • Roughly chop the bacon, cook in a heavy based pan with the onion. Once cooked, remove and add grated potato, leaving the bacon fat in the pan. Season with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.

  • Heat the lard in the same pan and add the potato mixture in handfuls. Take care not to squeeze the potatoes.

  • Flatten the potato into a fritter and cook until brown and crisp (about 7 to 8 minutes) and turn. Cook on the other side until brown and crisp. Now brush the edges of the pan with the butter (this will add to the crispness and the flavour of the fritter).

  • Remove from the pan and serve.

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« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2012, 09:56:11 pm »

The beauty of a baked spud

By LIZ BRESLIN - The Southland Times | Wednesday, 18 July 2012

SMASHING SPUDS: Baked potatoes stuffed with bacon and cheese.
SMASHING SPUDS: Baked potatoes stuffed with bacon and cheese.

"WHAT'S 'TATERS PRECIOUS?" Poor Gollum, not to know.

Most of us Kiwis are with Samwise Gamgee. We like our taters. It's like he tells Gollum - "P-O-T-A-T-O-E-S. Boil 'em, mash 'em, put 'em in a stew."

Twenty per cent of New Zealanders eat them fresh every day. Not just hot chips, then. And a whopping 97 per cent of us, according to official statistics, do like a nice spud.

Why do we call them spuds? Not, apparently, from the acronymic urban myth that is the Society for Prevention of Unwholesome Diets — rather from the colloquialisation of old and foreign words for the spade used to dig out the taters.

The Irish have probably got a lot to answer for in terms of potato popularity here in New Zealand. In the 1840s, a great potato famine hit Ireland.

Probably THE great potato famine, at least that's how we learned it at school.

A million people died and a further million left for foreign shores.

Those who washed up here continued a strong growing tradition. Potatoes had been introduced into Ireland (from South America via England) in the 1700s. A crop for the gentry, not the commoners. But a glance at any Irish cookbook will show how central they've become to the everyday diet.

In fact, my Irish cookbook has more index entries for potatoes than any other food substance. They span soups, starters, mains, vege dishes, breads and desserts. Phew.

I could eat potatoes every day for every meal, thanks to the many ways of preparation and my Irish ancestry. Or is it down to the fact that my mother eschewed them while pregnant with me, due to some "deadly nightshade" scare of the seventies?

But my absolute favourite isn't a biggie in New Zealand at all.

The jacket potato. Important enough to have its own menu section in most British pubs and cafs, baked potatoes are mostly relegated to a side dish here. But for me, they're a main event. There's something glorious in the simplicity of a soft, fluffy potato with golden, crunchy skin.

While British celebrity chefs have their own take on how to cook jacket potatoes par excellence, it's really as easy as this: get a floury type of tattie and wash it.

Then you need a little bit of salt and oil and a lot of time and heat. An hour at 220C should do it. Microwaving misses the point, which is the contrast between skin and steamy insides. Ditto frozen ready-bake varieties recently launched with enticing smells emanating from the ads in British bus shelters. No way. But nice try.

Baked potatoes have been popular in the UK for ages.

I'm picking they must've been well-munched in Victorian times, seeings as food vans selling them tend to harp on that era. We do know that street hawkers sold up to 10 tonnes of potatoes on the streets of London each day in the mid-19th century.

That's a lot of cheap, filling food.

Apparently, the No.1 British filling for the jacket potato is baked beans and cheese. Other popular toppings include plain cheese, tuna mayonnaise, prawn cocktail and chilli con carne.

None of them to be knocked before they're tried. The trick is to have a fuss-free accompaniment.

Leftovers or whip-togethers are great, and Jamie Oliver suggests salmon and cream cheese, while Nigel Slater has a cheese and bacon creation. Yum.

But still, I could quite happily eat mine with just butter, salt, pepper and a second potato on the side.


Elevate your baked potato to a treat in a jacket with some clever toppings:

Mix smoked salmon shavings with lemon zest, black pepper and a skerrick of sour cream.

Mash half a Boursin cheese into each large baked potato.

Make a salsa of diced tomato and avocado and finely chopped chilli and spoon into the quartered baked potato.

Mix equal amounts of parsley pesto with soft goat's cheese. Scoop out the baked flesh, combine all ingredients, then replace.

For a baked potato version of a prawn cocktail, combine 1 teaspoon of chilli sauce with tsp creme fraiche and 2-3 thawed, cooked prawns (per potato). Slice the potato into quarters and spoon in the "cocktail".

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