Check Jam Roll

Posted on Leave a comment

Salwaa Smith – Cape Malay Cooking & Other Delights

From My Kitchen To Yours – keeping our heritage alive!

Check jam roll this is a quintessential Cape Malay recipe. One that adorned every cake table at a wedding, hujaaj, on the Eid/labarang table or any other social gathering. Check jam roll is also known as Battenberg Cake in England. This striking checkerboard cake is a favourite for afternoon tea in England. Legend has it that the cake was created in honour of the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Victoria to Prince Louis of Battenberg in the 1880s. (The coloured squares inside are thought to represent the four princes of Battenberg) It’s quite possible that the English brought the recipe to South Africa and we’ve adapted the recipe to represent our colourful personalities as the original recipe was only yellow and pink in colour and covered with marzipan.

From what I can remember my sister in law making this cake, she used to finish it off in chocolate flavour as well as a plain icing sugar. This cake can be made in advance and keeps well for up to a week if wrapped and stored properly. Slices of this cake was often used as a centre piece in a cake plate at wedding and other such gatherings.

Assembling the cake requires some precision, but it’s easier than it looks. The batter is thick enough that you can fairly neatly spoon two colours next to each other without them bleeding together; you might have to trim a bit off each half to cut away any combined bits. Or you can create a divider to keep them separate. I’ve wrapped a thin piece of cardboard, such as from a tissue box, in aluminium foil to good effect. My recipe makes 2 cakes.


6 large eggs

1½ cups castor sugar

½ cup hot water

2 tsp cooking oil

2 cups self-raising flour

3 tsp baking powder

1 heaped tablespoon cocoa powder

½ tsp vanilla essence

½ tsp red food colouring

½ tsp rosewater (optional)

½ tsp green food colouring

½ tsp peppermint essence (optional)

½ cup smooth apricot jam

1 tbsp hot water

2 cups icing sugar

3 tbsp cocoa powder (omit if finishing off the cake plain)

Enough water to make a paste

Desiccated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan. Lightly grease two Swiss roll tins and line it with greaseproof paper. Cut a strip of cardboard to fit the length of the tins. It should fit snug. Cover the cardboard with foil. Lightly grease the foil and wedge into place.

In a large bowl beat eggs and castor sugar until light and creamy. Mix in vanilla essence, oil & hot water. Fold in the self-raising flour and baking powder.

Divide the mixture evenly into 4 bowls. Mix the red food colouring and the rosewater (if you’re using it) in one bowl. In the 2nd bowl mix the green food colouring and peppermint essence (if you’re using it). In the 3rd bowl mix the cocoa powder and in the 4th bowl the vanilla essence.

Turn the pink mixture (the red will have turned pink) into one side of the prepared tins. Turn the green mixture into the other half of the tin. Turn the chocolate and vanilla batter into the second prepared tin. Smooth the batter gently into the corners.

Bake for 20 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Leave to stand for 5 minutes in the tin. Slide a knife between the cake, tin and foil strip. Turn onto a wire cooling rack lined with greaseproof paper. Remove greaseproof paper attached to the bottom of the cakes. Leave to cool completely.

Trim the cake so that each half measures approximately 28x9cm. Cut each slab in half lengthways so that there are eight equal pieces.

Mix the jam and hot water to thin the jam slightly. To assemble the cake, brush the top of each cake strip with the jam and press a pink strip on top of a vanilla strip, do the same with the chocolate and green strips. Press the pink/vanilla strip together with the chocolate/green strip to create a chequerboard effect. Make sure to brush all the inside strips with jam to help it sticking together.

Mix the icing sugar and cocoa powder together with a bit of water to make a thick paste. Brush the cocoa paste all around the outside of the cake and roll desiccated coconut all over the cocoa paste. Wrap the cake firmly in greaseproof paper and leave to set for a couple of hours. Cut a very thin slice off each end of the cake for a neat edge.

Visit our online shop at


Dried Fish and Cabbage

Posted on Leave a comment

Salwaa’s Dried Fish & Cabbage

Salwaa Smith – Cape Malay Cooking & Other Delights
From My Kitchen To Yours – keeping our heritage alive!


As we discovered on our recent trip to Portugal, Bacalhau (salted cod fish), is the most popular ingredient in Portuguese cooking. Traditionally there are more than 365 different dishes, one for each day of the year.  
Salted Cod – Bacalhau

This reminded me of the dried snoek and cabbage bredie my grandmother and aunty used to make. So naturally we bought a small piece of salted cod which is similar to hake as we know it.



So today I share my grandmother’s recipe with you. What are your memories of this dish?

Salwaa’s Dried Fish & Cabbage

1 medium cabbage
300g saltfish
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp cooking oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated
2 green chillies, or according to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into half
Salt, if needed

Salted Cod – Bacalhau


Soak the salt fish in water for about 30 minutes to remove excess salt.

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onions and garlic, sauté until golden brown.

In the meantime slice or shred the cabbage finely.

When the onion is nice and golden, add the cabbage, potatoes, chillies and pepper.


Stir and cook until the potatoes is almost soft. Add drops of water if needed.

The cabbage must be a deep golden brown.

Strain the fish in a colander, pick or cut the fish into small pieces.

Add the fish to the cabbage, stir gently to combine.


Simmer a further 10 minutes.

Taste for salt and add according to you taste buds.

Serve with white rice, homemade blatjang or lemon atchar.


Here’s my complete recipe:

Salwaa’s Dried Fish & Cabbage

1 medium cabbage
300g saltfish
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp cooking oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated
2 green chillies, or according to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into half
Salt, if needed

Soak the salt fish in water for about 30 minutes to remove excess salt.

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onions and garlic, sauté until golden brown.

In the meantime slice or shred the cabbage finely.

When the onion is nice and golden, add the cabbage, potatoes, chillies and pepper.

Stir and cook until the potatoes is almost soft. Add drops of water if needed.

The cabbage must be a deep golden brown.

Strain the fish in a colander, pick or cut the fish into small pieces.

Add the fish to the cabbage, stir gently to combine.

Simmer a further 10 minutes.

Taste for salt and add according to you taste buds.

Serve with white rice, homemade blatjang or lemon atchar.

Cook’s Note:
Use dried snoek or 2 tins tuna
I used a “spitskop” cabbage


Koesister Pre-Mix
Koesister Pre-Mix

Visit our online shop
All content and media belongs to Salwaa Smith & Cape Malay Delights (PTY) LTD.


Ramadaan 2018

Posted on Leave a comment

Assalamu Alaikum (peace and blessings upon you)


That time of the year is upon us – Ramadaan. The ninth month in the Islamic calendar.  It commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and lasts between 29 and 30 days. Fasting is obligatory for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, travelling, are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding or menstruating.

The fast is from dawn to sunset, with a pre-dawn meal known as Suhur and sunset meal called Iftar.

As well as fasting, abstaining from eating and drinking during daylight hours, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Quran throughout the month. Muslims should engage in increased prayer and charity during Ramadaan. Ramadaan is also a month where Muslims try to practice increased self-discipline and self-restrain.

With this in mind many of us have already started planning and stocking their freezers weeks and months before in preparation of welcoming this blessed month. Samosas, pies, quiche, spring rolls, doughnuts and traditional Cape Malay koesisters all of which can be made in advance and frozen for up to six months. This savouries and sweet treats can be fried, baked or sugared before iftar and served with a healthy soup for family and friends.


Even though Ramadaan might seem like it’s not all that close, the earlier you are prepared, the better. Thinking of what to cook takes about as much time and effort as the actual task. Make the most of your time now to browse through recipes and try out dishes to assess the cooking time and the amount of effort required. Make a schedule for one or two weeks and rotate it during the month, or make it for all 30 days! You’ll save a lot of time during Ramadaan doing the prep beforehand. If you have older children get them involve peeling and chop onions, garlic, ginger, dhanya, etc. Freeze them in portions ready to use. Likewise, vegetables for soup can also be prepared now, peel, chop, liquidise pour into freezer bags.


Before sunset children will be seen going from house to house taking barakats (plates of food or treats) to the immediate neighbours. In a typical Cape Malay home Iftar will consist of dates, soup and savouries. Boeber, a milk drink, will typically be served with something sweet e.g. koesisters or fritters. After the prayer, a light meal will be served.


Kebabs or burgers can be made, pre-baked and frozen. Homemade, no preservatives. You’ll get approximately 18 burgers from a kilogram of chicken mince. You may substitute the chicken mince with steak mince. Make chicken mince by shredding fillets in a food processor.


My recipe for kebabs or burgers

1kg fresh chicken or steak mince
3 large onions, finely grated
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp. minced ginger
1 Tbsp. minced green chillies or to taste
1 heaped Tbsp. jeera/cumin powder
2 tsp salt or to taste
1 bunch dhanya, finely chopped



Mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight for the flavours to develop. Next day shape the mixture into burgers or use a burger shaper. Separate the burgers with round pieces of greaseproof paper, big enough to cover the whole burger. Freeze until needed. This mixture can also be used to make chicken kebabs. Pre-bake for about 6 minutes in the oven to hold the shape (can be frozen at this point) before putting the kebabs on the grill. Cook from frozen. Serve with naan bread and a healthy salad for a scrumptious meal.


For Ramadaan we all want quick and easy recipes, the following recipe is no exception. This two ingredient recipe can be used to make naan bread as well as pizza bases.


2 Ingredients Naan Bread

500g self-raising flour

2 cups full fat Greek yoghurt


Mix the self-raising flour and yoghurt in a bowl until the mixture forms a dough. Leave to rest for 15 minutes. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface into the desired shape or size. Brush with a mixture of melted butter and oil on both sides. Alternatively add garlic paste to the oil mixture to give it a garlic flavour, garnish with freshly chopped dhanya. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 200C for 10-15 minutes. For naan bread turn half way through baking. Makes 2 large pizza bases or 8 naan breads.


A meal idea for Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) is to make mini Frittatas which can be prepared the night before and pop into oven in the morning.

1 medium diced onion
1 large carrot, grated
1 medium chopped tomato
5 chopped mushrooms
2 chopped spring onion
1 finely chopped chilli
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup of grated mature cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. self-raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Dry parsley for garnishing


Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl. Spoon into a greased muffin tray. Bake at 180C for 15 minutes. Makes 12 Frittatas.

Cooks tip: substitute with any other vegetables of choice. Left over sausages, chicken or meat can be added as well.



Another easy and quick meal is lamb or mutton chickpea pilau. The meat can be substituted with chicken pieces which reduce the cooking time significantly. No potatoes are added instead chickpeas are used.


Lamb/Mutton or Chicken Pilau Rice.


750 gram lamb / mutton pieces cleaned and cut into small pieces
4 cups long grain or basmati rice
1 tin chickpeas (400gram tin)
2 large onions, diced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
60g butter
2 stick cinnamons
5 cardamoms
2 star anise
3 tsp garam masala
2 tsp jeera / cumin
2 tsp salt
2 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp crushed ginger
3 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
Chopped dhanya for garnishing
Soak the rice in hot water to cover for 30 minutes. Meanwhile using a large heavy based pot melt the butter with the oil. Fry the onions until golden. Add the lamb, mutton or chicken pieces and spices and cook until done. This will take approximately 20 – 40 minutes depending on the type of meat. Add the chickpeas.

Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Add the rice to the lamb, mutton or chicken and chickpeas. Stir gently to combine. Dot with butter (optional) and chopped dhanya. Add 4 cups of hot water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat to low and steam until the water has evaporated and the rice has cooked. Serve with dhai or atchar. Serves 6



Salwaa Smith is the author of Cape Malay & Other Delights Cookbook. Salwaa is the third generation Cape Malay cook in her family and is the founder of Cape Malay Cooking & Other Delights on Facebook and other social media. Salwaa offers Cape Malay cooking experiences for locals and tourists at her purpose build kitchen in Newfields on the Cape Flats. In addition, she also founded the popular Little Chef Cooking and Baking Club for children which is held during school holidays. Salwaa has her own range of pre-mixed cooking sauces and spices which can be purchased online at or from her kitchen in Newfields.


More recipes and meal ideas can be found on her social media – or

© All Rights Reserved 2018

Free eBook

Posted on 1 Comment

Greetings Everyone

From My Kitchen To Yours – keeping our heritage alive!

Welcome to all my new readers at, I hope you like what you see here and will take some time out to try some of my recipes.

Thank you for taking the time to subscribe to receive my eBook. I’m sure you’ll find a few favourites in it. Mine has to be Shepherd’s Pie, it’s so simple and easy to make. If you haven’t been able to download the eBook be sure to click the link at the end of this email.

I regularly post recipes on Facebook as well as here, on my website, be sure to check it out. These recipes are already proven to be really popular so make sure to have a look and treat your family, friends and neighbours to some quick and easy treats.

I have a few projects on the go. One of them has been Cakes For Kids – Free Birthday Cakes For Kids In Need. Please join us at and if you would like to sponsor a cake or ingredients please email

The second exciting project is that I’ll be launching my own range of Cape Malay Cooking PreMix spices at the Face of Melayu Heritage Day Event. Come and join us on the day, there will be lots of activities as well as traditional Cape Malay lunch on sale. Come and purchase  your Cape Malay & Other Delights Cookbook for only R189 and your Cape Malay PreMix spices.

VENUE – 99 SOUTHERN CROSS DRIVE CONSTANTIA between 09:00 and 17:00!




Have a wonderful day and please tell your friends and family about Cape Malay Cooking & Other Delights.

Don’t forget to download your own copy of my eBook. Click on the link below

Winter Warmers with Cape Malay Cooking’





Battle over bobotie

Posted on 17 Comments

Article courtesy of Munadia Karaan (Voice of the Cape Radio)

FEATURE Part 1 – It is turning out to be a battle royal in food circles – is bobotie a true Cape Malay dish or is it “boerekos” that were merely made in the kitchen by slaves from the East? And as such, to whom does this heritage food belong? In the latest edition of De Kat, the debate is brought to the fore and for many food and heritage experts in the Cape Muslim community, it is about time that the matter is properly addressed, given how much of their heritage they have lost because of others claiming it or an inability to properly record it.

In a letter sent to the magazine earlier this year, author of Die Geskiedenis van Boerekos 1652 – 1806, W.W.Claassens took strong exception to “unfounded stories” by authors of the 20th century whom she said had not done the necessary research about the origin of traditional Afrikaner dishes. Bobotie, she wrote, is not a product or improvised dish based on an original recipe of the Cape Malays. After many years of research, she said she had proven that the names Cape Malays gave to food was their only contribution to the development of boerekos.

Claassens added that “the most important Afrikaans writers who were so eager about the contribution of the slaves to boerekos, are busy rewriting their books.” She bases her opinion on the claim that Eastern slaves were never a dominant group at the Cape and as such, they would not have been able to have a significant influence on the food of the Cape. Nor would the wives of the slave owners have allowed them to dominate in the kitchen by cooking foods from their homelands, even if they could afford to buy Eastern spices.

Other side

However, journalist and local food blogger, Johan Liebenberg, who wrote the De Kat article pointed out that several of Claassens assumptions were wrong. He quoted historical sources that sighted that by 1731, the slave population comprised 42% of the city’s population. He also pointed out the shortage of women in the early days at the Cape or the lack of knowledge among those who were here to cook with Eastern spices. Other historical sources confirm that slave women were an integral part of the households at the Cape in the era 1657 –  1808 and even in the 19th century, they played a key role in preparing meals, he wrote.

As for bobotie itself, Claassens claims that it stems from a Roman chef and added that its original name had long fallen by the wayside. However, Liebenberg’s research shows Dutch sources confirming that the dish came via the Cape of Good Hope from Indonesia or vice versa and from there was brought to the Netherlands around the 17th century. He even found proof of such recipes dating back to the 18th century where it was known as “bebotok”, close enough to bobotie.

Liebenberg believed that Claassens should have paid more attention to the role of the Dutch East India Company in the development of certain dishes in colonies it had occupied. From 1602 – 1796 the DEIC had almost a million employees in the East who all had to bring some influence from those countries with them when they returned home, especially with regards to food. It can also not be ignored that many of these officials had taken Eastern women as partners, which helped to create a Creolised culture in the early Cape with multiple influences from Europe, Africa and Asia, he argued.

Denying heritage

While he had great appreciation for the research Claassens had done, Liebenberg wrote, he concurred with the UNESCO view that there is not just one narrative on heritage studies. That, he wrote, is the story of our history. He points out that little is really known about the women or slaves at the early Cape. They were not in the habit of writing down their recipes when they were battling to survive while working in the kitchens, in gardens or elsewhere. “They have already been denied their heritage once. And now a second time?” he asked.

Meanwhile, a member in the Cape Muslim Family Research Forum pointed out that no spokesperson from the Cape Muslim community has stepped into the fray to contest the claim that Cape Malay food tradition has no historical ties. “Thus it is claimed that signature Cape Malay dishes merely have south East Asian labels, whilst the actual recipes are derived from the slave master’s kitchen,” he wrote.

“This is a type of age old Verwoerdian ideological approach with a  narrow heritage lens of focussing on European food origins, whilst intentionally denying the Cape Muslim community its slave legacy of a rich Creolised food ways. We must add to the South African rainbow, not subtract from the national heritage legacy,” he said, urging a national debate on a long neglected issue.

More on this story on Sunday Live at 08h30. Also read Liebenberg’s full article here. VOC (Munadia Karaan)
Last modified onThursday, 27 June 2013 06:03

Bobotie why so silent?

FEATURE Part 2 – Bobotie might be a cultural landmark in the country, widely recognised to come from Cape Muslim heritage, but there has been a virtual silence in the so-called “Cape Malay” community after an Afrikaner writer claimed that they had nothing more to do with the traditional dish than naming it. According to author of Die Geskiedenis van Boerekos 1652 – 1806, WW Claasens (79), bobotie was in fact true blue “boerekos”. In response food blogger Johan Liebenberg took on Claasens’ reasoning in the 6 June edition of De Kat. Speaking to VOC’s Sunday Live, Liebenberg also took issue with the silence on the issue from the Cape Muslim community.

According to Beeld of 22 April 2004, Claassens’s research into the cuisine of slaves in the 17th century showed that perceptions that the slaves had brought the the art of cooking with spices to prepare dishes such as bobotie to the Cape, were unfounded. Where the slaves came from, people were too poor to afford spices, and they mainly used chillies, turmeric and ginger, she said.

“Slaves didn’t bring any new dishes to the Cape,” she claimed. They only learnt in the Cape about cooking with spices and the typical dishes that were brought to the Cape, according to cookbook authors. Claassens stated that the dishes that formed part of the food culture in the Cape in the 20th century, known as boerekos, were essentially European.

The main contributors were Dutch, German and French cooking, which in turn had its roots in Roman, Persian and Arabic cuisine. Claassens said the Dutch wouldn’t have bought spices from the East if they didn’t have any knowledge about it. She traced curried fish, as we know it today, back to Belgium where it was prepared as early as 1500.


This was hotly disputed and largely dismissed by Liebenberg, who told VOC in response: “What it proved to me was the fact that if you do a doctoral thesis or dissertation, you can arrange the facts as you like. That is why many – including in the foodie community in South Africa – accepted her opinion, because it seemed right as she expressed it.”

Liebenberg said that Claasens and her crew had used a book on the Arab influence in European food to prove that boerekos stemmed largely from European food. “But they largely forgot that there were influences from the Malay community.” He said he had to look at his own research and resources to dispute many of Claasens’ claims, amongst others that during the period in question slaves constituted 42% of the population and were not the minority as Claasens claimed.

“Some of my sources claimed that slaves were the majority, certainly as far as women were concerned,” he explained. Claasens also claimed that no European woman would give slave women the right to dominate in the kitchen on the preparation of dishes and the latter were anyway too poor to afford cooking with expensive spices. “I think that claim is ridiculous,” Liebenberg said shortly.


“But what I find more astounding is that no one in the Cape Malay community got up. And I am sorry if this is an indictment, but of all the historians in my beloved Malay community, why didn’t they get up and say this is not true? Why does it take an Afrikaner like me to say this is nonsense? She was awarded a PhD for this. There is a question begging,” Liebenberg stated.

Fellow panelist on Sunday LiveNew Age journalist Yazeed Kamaldien, said that one reason for the silence might be the fact that people were so involved with bread and butter issues that it left little time to concern themselves with heritage issues. “But what is the bigger debate regarding Afrikaner heritage and culture? For example, we have had the issue of the Afrikaans language with people of colour coming forward to say it is their language as well.”

Liebenberg concurred and said it was necessary for his community to look at facts. “We regard ourselves as Afrikaner or whatever, but we are actually mixed. We are all a melting pot and we all have to realise that we are not one culture, but a hybrid of cultures. So we must get rid of our exclusivity in order for us to move forward a little bit.”


Given that the Afrikaner community was very proud of its heritage, which it had tried hard to preserve, Kamaldien asked: “Why was it so relevant for this author to claim something as bobotie as part of the Afrikaner culture? Is it because people feel constantly threatened, that they need to hold onto their past so badly? We actually see it as journalists that white Afrikaners feel so downtrodden in a country that used to belong to them.”

While it was true that Claasens came from a different generation, Liebenberg said her attitude was not completely unique to others in her community. “For example, in 1992 there was only one Afrikaner folk festival. Today there are five. In other words, I think the  Afrikaners feels threatened and want to grab onto things that they regard as theirs. Often much of what they believed in, no longer exists,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Liebenberg reiterated his affection for Cape Muslims and their rich culture that he has strongly advocated in his work. “I grew up among Malay friends in Milner Road. The border between Military Road and I was the Bo-Kaap. Sometime around 1994, I had been busy taking photos for an article on the Bo-Kaap. A Malay woman invited me in for tea and koesisters. Her daughter also appeared with her young baby and I never understood why they showed such wonderful hospitality towards me. Until this day I wish I could contact them again to thank them for it,” he said wistfully.


While authorative voices in the Cape Muslim community were largely silent, the matter did evoke strong debate and even humour online, including from many ex-pats. Commenting on Facebook, Nawhal said it was both ironic and refreshing that a white Afrikaner male was championing the cause of “Cape Malays” – a term that in recent years were seldom used and substituted for Cape Muslims, which some felt was more politically correct.

“Until this day our slave ancestors are being questioned on their food. Let’s hope someone with the necessary skills will come up with details on who bobotie really belongs to. I’m rooting for a Cape Malay slave, stolen from Penang, who worked as a cook in some Cape Dutch household and she should ‘suma’ also be the one who added cinnamon and cardamon to the once boring milk tart, turning it into a ‘regte melktert’, while bringing her version of Penang curry with flaky rooti to the Cape,” she quipped.

Naeem felt that it was at times like these that the passion showed by people like the late Dr Achmat Davids to preserve Cape Muslim heritage was sorely missed in setting the record straight. Fara in the US took a dig at Claasens: “She cannot let go of the past. Let it go Claassens, it’s over. Bobotie belongs to us, ‘die Slamse kinners’ Lol.” Shaheda added: “At least in the US, they admitted that if it was not for the natives and the slaves, they would have starved to death or died of bland food. Lol.”

Zuid Afrikaner commented on VOCFM: “The only ‘contribution’ the current Boere made to OUR bobotie, was to add apricot jam and flaked almonds to it, eek!” Even non-Muslims like Jo-anne weighed in on the debate. “I consider bobotie to be part of my cultural heritage – and it’s a great family favourite. My ancestors include slaves and indigenous people; Dutch and French settlers, so maybe it’s one of those dishes that celebrates our shared and entangled histories.”


Heritage fundi, Kammie was irate at the exclusion of the Cape Malay’s contribution by Claasens and her ilk. “Bobotie has enriched two South African culinary traditions – boerekos foodways and Cape Malay cuisine. Thus bobotie as the national dish symbolises the one signature recipe whereby food is the great democratic leveller regardless of social status, rank or station in life,” he wrote on VOCFM.

“Communities have embraced Cape Malay cuisine as part of the South African culinary tradition with copies of Cape Malay cookery books by Cass Abrahams, Fadiela Williams, Zainab Lagerdien, not forgetting Boorhanool Movement’s perennial Boeka Treats, which are bestsellers in SA households, regardless of race, creed and language. Let’s focus on our shared food traditions ranging from bobotie to sosatie, from Orania’s koeksusters to Bo- Kaap’s koesisters,” he urged.

Another ex-pat, Salwaa of Cape Malay Cooking who is based in the UK had quite a bit to say. “I always thought bobotie was a Malay dish brought with the slaves from Java and Indonesia etc. Since starting my blog, I did lots of research into authentic Cape Malay recipes and all the articles I came across was of the notion that bobotie is a Cape Malay dish which came with slaves who arrived from Java and various Indonesian islands in 1658. Being slaves, the Malays often ended up in the Dutch kitchens and their influence remains apparent in dishes such as bobotie etc.

“The origins of the name are not clear although in Indonesia ‘bobotok’ was an Indonesian dish consisting of meat with a custard topping that was cooked in a pan of water until the egg mixture set. It’s also one of those dishes that reflects the history of the country and the many cuisines that melts together to create what we now know as South African cuisine. Bobotie is a Cape-Malay creation, and they (the Malays) spiced it up even more with cumin, coriander and cloves, with influences from the Dutch who brought ground meat to the local cuisine, the spices were introduced by the slaves from Indonesia and the presentation is reminiscent of English shepherd’s pie.

“It’s interesting as well to note that frikadel is a popular dish in Germany (they even make kool frikadel I believe) and Holland amongst other countries. Frikadel is also known in Indonesian cuisine through Dutch influence as ‘perkedel’. I believe the spiciness of bobotie came from the Indonesians who brought the spices with them. This is one of the reasons I started my food blog, to keep our food culture alive and to make the recipes accessible to all. Otherwise who knows, we might have more of these debates regarding our other cultural dishes in the future,” she wrote. VOC (Munadia Karaan)

Last modified onThursday, 27 June 2013 08:06