From supporting role to star of the dish – the rise of the humble kūmara

“Peelability” can be a big factor, and orange kumara is known for its thinner skin, Locky says, as well as its slightly sweeter taste and smoother texture.

And both agree that there is nothing better than supporting a product as nutritious, filling, affordable, versatile and delicious as kūmara.

“I feel so privileged and passionate about it, it’s so good for you and has so many uses. You can make soups and stews, beautiful salads and even use it in baking,” Locky says.

He is a big fan of making homemade kūmara fries, while Chris’ favorite food is salads.

“For light dining in the summer, I like roasted kūmara and red onion in a couscous salad, and in the winter, it’s great in a richer potato salad with bacon.”

Kūmara has indeed been a highlight in the MasterChef NZ pantry this year and now you can launch new dishes in your own kitchen – the team at New World have provided Newshub with a recipe for gnocchi kūmara with cream to garlic, so you can impress the judges (friends, family and housemates) at your house! Find more recipes inspired by Master Chef with New World here.

Recipe: New World Gnocchi Kūmara with Garlic Cream

For 4 people

Preparation time: 20 mins

Cooking time: 50 mins


  • 500 g orange kūmara, cleaned

  • 1 cup plain flour

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 300ml cream

  • ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

  • 1 bag (120 g) baby spinach

Ingredient tip

  • 2 cups fresh arugula

  • ¼ cup almonds

  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated

  • ¼ cup olive oil


  1. Put the kūmara in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through and test tender. Drain, then let cool. Once cooled, peel the skin off the kumara and put it in a potato masher or mash it in a large bowl.

  2. Sprinkle the flour and a pinch of salt into the kūmara, then mix gently until a soft dough forms. If the dough is too sticky, add a little flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough briefly into a smooth ball, adding more flour if needed. Cut the ball into 8 equal-sized pieces and roll each piece into a long rope about 2 cm thick. Cut each string into equal-sized pieces, then dust lightly with flour; place them on a floured tray or bench.

  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi in two batches and cook until they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and drizzle lightly with olive oil in a bowl to prevent the gnocchi from sticking.

  4. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Pan-fry the gnocchi in two batches until golden brown, remove from pan and set aside.

  5. Add the garlic to the same skillet and sauté for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the cream, parmesan and baby spinach and cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened. Return the gnocchi to the pan, then season to taste and serve.

Tip inspired by New World’s Master Chef

Add a chef’s touch to this dish with a deliciously peppery homemade arugula pesto! Combine two cups of fresh arugula, ¼ cup of almonds and ¼ cup of grated parmesan in a food processor, then season with salt and pepper. Slowly pour in ¼ cup of olive oil while the food processor is running, then drizzle over the gnocchi to serve.

This article was created for New World.