Cooking Mashua

It’s easy to grow Mashua (also known as vining Nasturtium). Its pretty little flowers and leaves grow so profusely as to almost qualify it as a weed.

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And underground, the tubers are even more remarkable. A single tuber, dropped into poor soil and neglected for the rest of the season will have developed into a huge, unruly mass of tubers by late fall. It is one of the most productive plants I have ever seen.

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But is it any good to eat? That question is more difficult to answer. A web search yields very little information, let alone any recipes. We tried it raw like a radish and it was good, in a radishy way: crunchy and spicy.

What about cooking? Sliced and fried they brown up nicely, losing all of the spiciness and acquiring instead a unique flavor somewhat reminiscent of licorice. The texture is smooth and creamy without being mushy. Steamed and mashed with just a bit of butter, salt, and pepper was also rather good.

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Mashua definitely has cooking potential. We’ll have to experiment a bit more to figure out what it would pair well with … something with a robust flavor, perhaps a bit sweet and either salty or spicy. Tofu with soy/orange glaze? Black beans with mole sauce?

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5 Responses to Cooking Mashua

  1. Anonymous says:

    any new mashua recipes? these things are taking over my life!

  2. Jude Ashley says:

    Mashua recipe:
    In a skillet, brown butter, toast a combo of fresh ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon until you can smell the roasty fragrance..
    French cut parsnip and halve mashua tubers.
    Add to skillet and slow cook until tender.
    Add salt to taste and a squeeze of lemon.
    Serve.
    Yum.
    Recipe from Jude at Dragonfly in the forest.

  3. Dawn says:

    Jude, I made your recipe adding some sweet potato, too, and it was very good! Too many other flavors to really taste the mashua, but I know I can get away with adding a great percentage next time. Thanks!

  4. Jude at Dragonfly says:

    Thanks Dawn, if you’re going to grow mashua you needs to find MANY ways to prepare it – and the flavor is just different enough that I’ve found it needs a bit of camo for me to feed it to the uninitiated.
    I like it all ways if not every day – simple with a little saute’ed fresh garlic and shallot it my standby. The sweet potato sounds like a natural for the mashua. Good idea!
    Best,
    Jude

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