Kūmara in Australia



Mr Strange Land took some visitors to the Lobethal markets, in the Adelaide Hills, and he came back with this love offering for me. Kūmara!

Sweet potato is readily available at the local supermarkets, and at the Adelaide Central Market, but this is the first time I have seen kūmara, the New Zealand sweet potato. It has a denser and more fibrous flesh than other sweet potatoes, and, I think, a much nicer flavour. But that’s almost certainly just because it’s the taste I grew up with.

Because it’s the taste I grew up with, I have been missing it. So I was thrilled to get these kūmara. A local farmer is growing them. I’ll be keeping an eye out for them in the Central Markets down town, but if they don’t turn up there, I’ll be making regular trips up to Lobethal to get them.

The tubers Mr Strange Land brought back for me had a deeply purple skin. They were slightly woodier than kūmara at home, and the flesh was whiter. The flavour wasn’t quite as caramelly, but it was still good. I peeled them and chopped them into chunks, then tossed them in olive oil in an oven tray. As usual, I had been heating the oil in the tray in the oven while I prepared the kūmara, so it was hot when I put them in. I baked them at about 180 degrees for close to an hour, a little longer than I would have done at home in New Zealand. When they were done, the outside was firm and a bit chewy, and sweet, and the inside was soft and smooth, and sweet.


They tasted delicious.


5 responses to “Kūmara in Australia

  1. Apparently they grow them in Tasmania (home of the potato). They’re quite widely available here although mostly called sweet potato altho some places call them Kumara here too. Ray is a convert.

  2. They aren’t the same. They don’t have the right flavour. I’ve stopped buying them because I am always disappointed by them. Whatever you do, don’t try mashing them with butter and allspice, like you might at home. When I go to NZ my daughter always cooks me kumera, and I’m happier to wait for that than to eat what they offer here. None of those little red yams either. ::sobbing now::

  3. The NZ Kumara is increasingly common in NSW, even in my local Woolies, so I’m a happy person too. A small chef suggestion via a pro (not me! – I was just a willing student). Try canola oil, not olive oil to roast. I love olive oil for everything except roasting – it doesn’t produce the same crispy finish. And Anathoth jams (from Geraldine) have arrived too. From the first taste (a large spoonful) of their boysenberry jam I was back in my mother’s kitchen, glass bottles lined up and jam bubbling away.

  4. Try Wilson’s Organics, across Gouger St from the Central Markets. They also have them in season – they’ll be more expensive than they would be in the Markets, but they have them in stock over a greater period of time than the stalls which get it.