Sometimes I am really happy to be a vegetarian: it means that I don't have to try wild specialties like huhu grubs. Not that many New Zealaders would either, you can't buy them in shops (I think) and you have to forage for them in the bush (they eat rotten wood) or go to special wild food festivals like the Hokitika Wild Food Festival. But I found a better, and vegetable alternative, with New Zealand yams.
Yam are much bigger than huhu grubs, and I got the red and the apricot colour varieties, I thought that they looked really pretty. After boiling them the colours had faded, a lot, and the look was... well, like in the photo above. I left them on the kitchen bench and went to get the kids from school. As soon as they arrived home the went" "Huhu grubs????". No, they have never eaten them, but they saw them and know what they look like. They giggled a lot, they said that yams really looked like gigantic huhu grubs.
Just boiled they didn't appeal to me, so I roasted them with olive oil, smoked garlic, smoked salt, coriander seeds and a few chili flakes. Then I served them with some wasabi mayonnaise (just mayo mixed with a dash of wasabi) and they went down a treat. In this household my husband is the only one that has ever eaten huhu grubs, I asked him if the flavour was similar to these yams, he said: "No, these taste much better!"
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©