I’ve never cooked with waterblommetjies before, this was my first time buying and even cooking them…….
Waterblommetjies (Aponogeton distachyos) are also known as Cape Pondweed/Cape Hawthorn/Cape Asparagus. Waterblommetjies (small water flowers) are one of South Africa’s indigenous ingredients originating from the Khoisan culture. I happened to be doing my grocery shopping at Pick ‘n Pay and saw them. You’ve got to respect Pick ‘n Pay for providing us with traditional and indigenous ingredients such as Madumbis, Okra, Waterblommetjies etc. My instinct was to buy them so I did that but the problem was that I had no recipe and absolutely had no idea how I was going to prepare them. The funny part is that I didn’t even realise it was highlighted on the front pack mentioned that a recipe was provided on the back pack the product. In my state of oblivion, I asked a couple of friends if they knew someone who has a recipe and one them did. I ended up following the recipe on the back pack.
I don’t usually consume all the food that I prepare for the blog or column. I give it away to friends, colleagues or to a family in the township. I sometimes warn them before hand…”do not prepare dinner / bring lunch tomorrow”. Haha! It’s kind of funny because on several occasions my colleagues didn’t bring lunch to work in hopes that I was gonna bring a blog dish and they were disappointed. On a serious note, I’ve got nothing but love for them and I love the support and willingness to sample my dishes. I gave the Waterblommetjie and Bredie dish to a Zulu family (originally from KZN but living in Cape Town). It was also their first time to try out a dish with waterblommetjies. I asked for feedback the following day. Apparently, the kids took out all the waterblommetjies and left the meat. The reaction is to be expected if people are not used to certain ingredients. In all honesty, some ingredients have to grow on you like for instance, it took me sometime to get used Mopane worms. So I completely understand their reaction to this dish. I was also not gaga about them but then again I’ve only tried out one dish, one recipe and one preparation method. That’s not enough to change one’s perception or convert one into liking a certain ingredient. Some recipes recommend that waterblommetjies should be soaked in salt water overnight. I do not know why they have to be soaked overnight but if you know please feel free to share. I guess to expand one’s knowledge on this delicacy, one should attend the annual Waterblommetjie Festival hosted by Windmeul Cellars and Rhebokskloof in Paarl. Word is, the festival showcases several Waterblommetjie dishes prepared in a variety of ways, wine, etc. I would also like to hear about your experiences Waterblommetjies, have you tasted them before? How do you usually prepare them?
1kg cubed stewing lamb
2 onions, diced
2 potatoes, diced
3 tsp crushed garlic
250ml chicken stock
Juice of 1 lemon
2T butter or margarine
Oxtail soup powder
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Its soup and bredie (stew) season plus some dumplings! I was missing my aunt and thinking of meaty bones and dumplings……..
Back where I grew up, in Alice kwaNtselamanzi there was a butchery called KwaMxotwa. It was just a minute away from my house. My aunt would make sure to buy the bones whenever they were available. The bones were like clean, most of the meat was removed. But she bought them for the gravy. I would come back from school and have that!
Guys, I’m so addicted to seeds, I’ve posted about them a few times on my blog and column. Then I was walking around at a Pick ‘n Pay and saw these Moroccan Flavoured Roasted Seeds….I bought a packet and snacked on them and then all of a sudden incorporating them into a dumpling and stew recipe sounded like an interesting idea. …
The producers from the SABC 2 show, TalkSA, called and wanted to do an episode on traditional food. Of course that includes cooking, eating, laughing and more eating! I prepared a lamb stew with morogo and feta dumplings for the episode. A lot of people especially in the Cape are not used to food items such as dried morogo therefore I take special pleasure in explaining what they are to them. And because the shoot was done at my place I took out my stash of mopane worms….I just do it to freak people out….(you should see people’s faces when I take them out and say “this is what we are having” it works every time! Hehe! I know I’m bad.
Ever since I started using morogo on some of my recipes I get some people asking ‘how do they taste like?” or “do they taste like spinach?” I got to ask Pascale (the camera lady) and Riaan (presenter) the same questions as it was their first time tasting morogo. This was Pascale’s answer….you are gonna laugh at this one…”ummm, they taste like spinach with a bit of ganja (weed)”. I don’t know why I never thought of that answer but it is spot on! Fortunately (or unfortunately for some), the morogo doesn’t have the same effect as the ganja….. I believe the episode will be aired next week. Don’t miss it! Now let me share the recipe.
Lamb Stew with Morogo and Feta Cheese Dumplings
15ml (1Tbsp) olive/canola oil
2 – 3 spring onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
500g stewing lamb
1 beef stock pot
500ml (2cups) boiling water
6 baby potatoes, with or without a peel
4 patty pans, cut in half length wise
250g self-raising flour
About 60ml feta cheese (I used half of that small packet you get at retail stores)
About 2- 3 tablespoons of dried morogo soaked in about 60ml boiling water
Salt to taste
Enough cold water to form a dough
30ml (2Tbsp) Moroccan flavoured seeds
Few sprigs Italian parsley, chopped
30ml (2Tbsp) tomato paste
5ml (1tsp) brown onion soup (feel free to add another tsp)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
I just melt at the mention or even thought of this dish….it takes me back to a time….to a place…yes you guessed it right my grand mother’s kitchen back in the day…
Whether it’s prepared in winter or summer this dish is a guaranteed winner and your guests will give you the complimentary ‘oooh’s and ‘aaah’s around the dinner table.
I grew up in an environment whereby if there’s been a slaughtered cow the whole community got a notification. This meant bringing your buckets or whatever container you could find and go collect some meat. Take as much as you want, however, the meat had to be cooked and eaten immediately to avoid spoiling.
Stew and dumplings is one of the dishes that were chosen to prepare the meat. I remember sitting with my cousins around the fire place with the potjie simmering away. The killer was the aroma coming out of the potjie every time the lid was opened to stir the contents.
I really don’t feel like dwelling on how good this recipe is. It really speaks for itself. All you need to do is to try it…just watch out for the ‘oooh’s, ‘aaah’s as well as the consequent licking of fingers!
Dumplings and Lamb Stew Recipe
575ml (2¼ cup) cake flour
250ml (1 cup) warm water
5ml (1tsp) instant dry yeast
10ml (2 tsp) sugar
1 onion, chopped
25ml cooking oil
± 500g stewing lamb, trimmed and cubed
2 tsp (10ml) salt
4 black pepper cons
50 ml chutney
4 carrots, chopped
4-6 baby potatoes, peeled
1 stock cube
75ml split peas
2ml crushed chilli
2.5ml medium curry powder
5ml fresh parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
5ml worcestershire sauce
You can replace the lamb with mutton or beef and adjust your water and cooking times accordingly.