With growing interest in promoting crops that can withstand climatic changes, INUMPU – a native potato in sub-Saharan Africa – is one local crop that needs to be promoted – along with leafy amaranth, which I blogged about here.
As written about by the National Academy of Sciences, this is an indigenous Lost Crop. No applied research has been done on it here in Burundi – or attempts to promote and spread its propagation throughout the country. It is an excellent staple during drought periods – more so than either potatoes or sweet potatoes or corn – and thus remains locally popular as a garden crop.
Excellent chapters on both amaranth and native potatoes can be found in the following PDF book by the National Academy of Sciences:
INUMPU is the name of an indigenous type of root crop, similar in taste and form to potatoes, found in Burundi and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. We are introducing its cultivation in our village contract farming project, that is growing organic produce for the Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika, which benefits inhabitants of the local village.
Here are former blogs that I’ve written about INUMPU – or native potatoes:
- Indigenous potatoes in Africa – Another Lost Crop
- Nona Brings Us a Basket of Native Potatoes from Upcountry
- Native Potatoes a Great Health Restorative for Livingstone (1870),
- Livingstone’s Colonial Potatoes in the 21st Century
- Local Potato – More Information, but there’s not much
Here is the recipe used at the Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika – ingredients are listed in order of use; quantity is up to you:• Olive oil • Garlic • Onion • Curry powder • Pili-pili powder (red-hot powder) • Lenga-lenga, chopped and blanched (local variety of Amaranth – spinach could be used) • Red Beans, cooked (white could be used, but red are traditional) • Native potatoes, blanched
This was really delicious. The native potatoes have a very creamy texture and taste, taking up some of the tastes of the other ingredients and neither to ‘dry’ or ‘mushy’ as regular potatoes can be in a casserole dish..
However, the native potatoes, beans and lenga-lenga were slightly overcooked, so that when they were added to the pot everything did get a bit too mixed – as the picture below shows. Also, using white instead of red beans would help to keep separate the colors of the different ingredients.
The new crop of local potatoes planted in our organic gardens in the village will be ready in a few weeks, and Chef Richard will try again – and will also use the potatoes in different recipes. But the recipe used here is the traditional one in Burundi (red beans – lenga-lenga – native potatoes).
Potato preparation in the kitchen – ready for blanching
Burundians tend to add very little salt to a dish when cooking it, because pili-pili (hot) sauce is usually used, to taste, by the consumer – a replacement for salt found throughout Africa where pili-pili is eaten and salt has, traditionally, been scarce.
- Amaranth Greens (Lenga-Lenga) – Politically Correct, Easy to Grow, and Delicious. Recipes Included (dianabuja.wordpress.com)