Kamo Kamo Maori Squash and Italian Borlotti Beans

A crop which gives me great pleasure is borlotti beans, not only for their flavour but also because I love the idea of growing protein food! I eat fresh borlotti, or I dry them and then use them to make nice soups and stews; in particular I like soups with pumpkins, but since this year I am traveling on, I will not enjoy the pumpkins that are growing in my garden. So I tried a different 'pairing'. A friend gave me some kamo kamo, the traditional Maori squash, and told me that the way to eat it is to boil it (skin on) and then cut it and spread it with butter (or olive oil...) salt and pepper, and scoop the flesh out with a fork.

I had two kamo kamo so I boiled one (as a was told) and cut the other and sauted with a drop of olive oil and other vegetables from my garden: red onion, and celery.

Then I added the beans and some water, salt and pepper, and cooked everything until the beans were soft.

I added water little by little, when necessary, and I thought that this would be good with more vegetables (maybe a little carrot and some parsley leaves) but I didn't add anything else as these have quite strong flavours and I really wanted to taste the kamo kamo as much as possible. The resulting stew (or soup, if you use more water) was nice although the kamo kamo doesn't have a distinctive flavour like pumpkin.

For the second experiment: well, nice to have the kamo kamo as a side vegetables with butter or olive oil, but once agin I think that my husband liked it more than I did. Next time I will need to put something 'stronger" on, like pesto, or a sesame seed and miso dressing :-)

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©


  1. When I was in NZ recently, we stuffed the kamo kamo and baked it.. First we cut the ends off, cut it in half length-ways and scooped the seeds out. Then we brushed pizza sauce all around where the seeds were, as you would a pizza base. We then cut up some fresh tomato, salami, and grated some tasty cheese.. Mix all that together and put into the kamo kamo. Bake in moderate oven (180 degrees celcius) for about an hour or until flesh of kamo kamo is soft. Very yum! On another occasion we finely chopped some left overs from the night before that consisted of broccoli, cauliflower, and beans. Also adding in fresh, finely chopped garlic and tomato. Put a little bit of grated cheese over the top and baked as per the first one we made.. We also spread pizza sauce in the kamo kamo before putting everything else in (like the first one we made. Kamo kamo makes a great base for a vegan and or vegetarian meal!

  2. Lots of great ideas, thank you! :-)

  3. Our favourite way of eating kamokamo:
    Choose a kamokamo with skin that has not yet hardened off, then cut it into 2cm slices working from the stalk end, steam cook in a double boiler until just past al dente, remove from heat, and eat! By the time we get to our second or third slice we might add a little salt or pepper, just for variety, but the buttery delicate taste of a young kamokamo unadorned is one of our favourite summer vegetable treats. Last night we had steamed kamokamo sliced as above, steamed large flowerets of broccoli and cauliflower, and a tasty broadbean frittata - a great mix of delicate and rich!

  4. I absolutely love the young, baby kamokamo, when the skin is still delicate to touch. After removing the ends, I dice the whole thing into about 2cm cubes. I saute in butter with alittle oil, season with salt and ground pepper, until they are not quite cooked, and turning a lovely bright green colour. Then I add a heaped teaspoon of chicken stock powder to 1 cup boiling water, and add this over the Kamokamo. Put the lid on the pan to steam-finish the vege, for around 3 minutes, and then thicken with alittle cornflour (1 tsp) with some water.
    The chicken stock just heightens the delicate taste of the kamokamo, and you end up with a lovely sort of gravy with it.

  5. Lovely to find in a garden near PN NZ. Delicious mild taste.Good even 2 to 3 days re-heated.

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  9. I have been experimenting with Kamo. I figured whatever I can use a Zucchini or Scallopini for in cooking would work for kamo. Have made fritters(added grated potato to bulk it up), soup, stuffed and baked, roasted, in boil up, and am currently seeing how it works in pickles. it's also nice just grated, no seeds, with sliced shallots, crushed garlic, salt & pepper. the older the kamo get the better they are for using in fritters, soups etc as the flesh doesn't go mushy too easily. Sometimes I also cut it into quite thick slices, but a slice of onion on top, then sliced tomato and a bit of grated cheese, then bake.

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