Cooking with kumara


is a plant-based chef who founded Little Bird Organics

Here’s her recipe for…


        Watch Megan make her Kumara Curry.

This is a delicious, light, fragrant curry that everyone will enjoy – just adjust the amount of chilli to suit your taste. Rob’s Taputini kumara are really mild and sweet which was perfect for this curry. It adds a lot of natural sweetness which works well in a Thai curry – a regular Thai curry has a fair amount of added sugar that we’re often not aware of, so it’s nice to find that sweetness from the veges themselves. Rob’s kumara also cooked quickly due to them being small. If you were using regular kumara you might need to cook for a little longer.

4cm piece of fresh turmeric
6cm piece of fresh ginger
3-4 shallots or 1 large onion
2-3 sticks of lemongrass
2 kaffir lime leaves
2 red chillis (add to taste – will depend on how hot your chillis are)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cups coconut milk (see below for making your own)
400 grams kumara or sweet potato
1 zucchini
¼ medium head of cauliflower
sea salt to taste
To garnish – bean sprouts, basil, coriander microgreens or coriander, freshly chopped red chilli, spring onions, cashew nuts and a lime wedge. (The herbs are the most essential garnish for this dish, the others are nice to have but optional.)

Peel and chop shallots. Slice turmeric and ginger into large pieces – no need to peel if they’re nice and fresh. Slice chillis (you may only need one and add the other to taste). Crush the kaffir lime leaves in your hand and smash lemongrass with something hard like a pestle to release more of the essential oils and flavour.
Add coconut oil to a heavy-based pan on a medium heat, then shallots and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the other fresh spices for another 2 minutes.
Add coconut milk and cook at a medium heat for 5 minutes.
Scrub kumara and chop into even-sized pieces. Add to the pot and cover and cook for around 10 minutes.
Chop cauliflower into small florets and slice zucchini. Add to pot and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Before serving remove any large pieces of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, ginger or turmeric.

Garnish with fresh bean sprouts, chilli, spring onions, lime wedges, basil, cashew nuts and coriander microgreens (or just coriander).

Tip – for a thicker curry you can add 1-2 tablespoons of coconut butter after the spices have infused in the coconut milk (this is different to coconut oil – it’s ground up dried coconut that makes a thick paste – available at most health food stores.


Make time: 5 minutes | Soak time: 1–2 hours

1¼ cups dessicated coconut
2 cups warm filtered water
pinch of vanilla bean powder or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Soak dessicated coconut in warm or hot water for 1–2 hours.
Place all ingredients, including the soaking water in a high-speed blender and blend for 2 minutes until well combined. I blend this for longer than regular nut milks, as getting a little heat in the blender brings out more of the fats from the coconut and gives a creamier result.
Strain through a fine cheesecloth/muslin or a nut milk bag. The result should be a lovely, smooth milk that doesn’t contain any grainy pieces. If it does, strain again or use a finer-weave cloth.
Pour into a jar or bottle and seal.
Stores in the fridge for 2–3 days. Shake well before using. Some of the milk will solidify in the refrigerator, but taking it out of the refrigerator for 10 minutes and then giving it a really good shake before using it will bring it back together.


is a naturopath and nutritionist

Orange and yellow varieties of kumara are high in Vitamin C and carotenoids. The purple ones are high in anthocyanins which means they are have important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Even though kumara are sweet and starchy, they’re low on the glycemic index (unlike potatoes) so tolerated very well by diabetics. Research has actually shown that the orange variety can lower blood sugar levels in diabetics and provide energy. Orange kumara increases a type of protein hormone produced in the fat cells which modifies our insulin metabolism, leading to much more balanced blood sugar.

Kumara is a great food for our skin – the high Vitamin A and C content is great for people with acne. Kumara also promotes the forming of collagen – the protein that holds us all together – our connective tissue, skin, muscles, bones, tendons. Collagen depletes with age, so it’s a great vegetable to eat as you age.

To get the most nutrients out of your kumara, particularly the beta carotene out of orange kumara, cook or eat kumara with some fat – butter, olive oil, coconut oil.