Madumbi and Butter Bean Soup



Madumbis are one of those seasonal gems that are sadly underused even though they grow locally in abundance, often without the use of pesticides. They are highly prized throughout Asia (often refered to as Taro), but feature extensively in South American, West Indian, and even Mediterranean cookery.

Leave a peeled madumbi soaking in water and you will soon notice that it develops a slightly slimy texture. This healing mucilage is actually one the most extraordinary benefits of eating madumbis as it is extremely soothing for the digestive tract. But don’t worry – they are anything but slimy when cooked. Instead, they cook up much like potatoes, with the most delectable nutty flavour and a texture that strikes the ultimate balance between creaminess and waxiness. If you love a good spud, you are going to fall in love with madumbis!

Boil them whole and then peel and serve with very light seasoning (they are so good on their own with flake salt), or try them here with butter beans for a hearty winter meal-in-one. Some crusty sourdough bread and a drizzle of olive oil at the table. Then sit back and say ah!

NOTE: Raw madumbi can irritate skin on the hands. If in doubt, peel with rubber gloves (get those marigolds out!) or peel under running water. See comment below.








Olive Oil
1   Onion, chopped
4 Peppercorns
1 tsp Paprika
2 cloves   Garlic, crushed
1   Red pepper, cored and finelychopped
6 stalks Celery, finely chopped
750g ripe Tomatoes, chopped (or one tin Italian peeled tomatoes)
500g  Madumbis, peeled and chopped
500ml cooked Butter Beans (or 1 tin drained and rinsed)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chopped parsley (optional)


1. Saute onion and peppercorns in olive oil over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until tender. Add garlic and paprika and stir in.
2. Add tomatoes, celery, red pepper, stirring well after each addition.
3. Add madumbis and cover with water. Simmer gently for 45 minutes until madumbis are tender.
4. Add butterbeans. Heat gently until beans are heated through. Avoid boiling at this stage to prevent beans cooking to mush!.
5. Add chopped parsley and olive oil before serving.


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    Sal · June 18, 2016 Reply

    Hi, this looks like a great recipe and I shall try it. I like taro/madumbi and am always on the lookout for new ideas to eat them. Could you please, though, put a warning in your recipe and method, telling people not to peel them with bare hands, if they are not cooked, as this can lead to nasty and long-lasting skin irritation. It wouldn’t matter, if you were writing for people who’d grown up with this wonderful and ancient vegetable, but for those unfamiliar with it, it is important advice!


    • Daniel · June 19, 2016 Reply

      Thanks Sal! This is fascinating, because I have never had a problem with the madumbi that grows locally. But, I did look it up and you are quite right in that it can cause skin irritation. I wonder if cultivars that are grown here are less irritant? Either way I have put a note in the recipe (I actually experience this very thing from peeling Butternut so I totally understand!). Thanks so much for the heads-up. Enjoy the recipe!

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