Recently, my friend Vanessa and her husband Gavin sent me some strange looking brown tubers in a parcel (full of other lovely goodies for me too).  They turned out to be amaDumbe, or more commonly known as Madumbi here in South Africa, or as Taro elsewhere.

Scientific name: Colocasia esculenta

This ‘‘potato of the tropics’’, amaDumbe (Colocasia  esculenta) is found all over the world in subtropical regions and is cooked much like a yam. amaDumbe, originated in
Oceania and South East Asia. It was spread by human settlers eastward to
New Guinea and the Pacific over 2000 years ago, where
it became one of the most important food plants economically and culturally. It is believed that amaDumbe has been cultivated for over 6000 years.

The mature corms and young shoots of amaDumbe are mostly used as boiled vegetables, but the corms are also roasted, baked, or fried. Roasted or boiled corms can be eaten alone or with stew.  amaDumbe corms are very rich in starch and they are a good source of dietary fibre.

I got six tubers in my parcel and instead of popping them into the oven, I have planted them so that I can harvest many more in 8-10 months time.

The plant looks just like an elephant ear and the young shoots and leaves are also edible. I hope they grow.




8 thoughts on “amaDumbe

  1. I ate one a few weeks back. Simply boiled in water. Peeling the skin off was a bit of a sticky process. The taste is not as distinctly sweet as the sweet potato, and the flesh not as firm as the potato. It was my first one, and it had been cooked and eaten in the simplest form, so we’ll experiment and see what they’re like when baked, roasted, mashed, or even chipped!


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