Waterblommetjie Bredie

Raw Waterblommetjies..Aren't they gorgeous?
Raw Waterblommetjies..Aren’t they gorgeous?

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?

Waterblommetjie Bredie served with Pap
Waterblommetjie Bredie served with Pap

Waterblommetjie Bredie

Serves: 6

500g waterblometjies

1kg cubed stewing lamb

2 onions, diced

2 potatoes, diced

3 tsp crushed garlic

250ml chicken stock

2T vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

2T butter or margarine

2T chutney

Oxtail soup powder

Salt and pepper for seasoning


  1. Remove the stems and soak waterblommetjies in salt water overnight.
  2. Lightly brown meat in butter and season.
  3. Saute onions and add stodck, lemon juice and garlic.
  4. Bring to the boil and add meat.
  5. Leave to simmer until the meat is semi cooked.
  6. Add waterblommetjies, potatoes, vinegar and chutney.
  7. Make a paste with soup mix and cold water.  Add to the meat.
  8. Leave to simmer until the vegetables are cooked.
  9. Season to taste and serve with rice or pasta.

About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

Comments ( 5 )

  • Interesting to see the reactions you got, Thuli. I cooked with waterblommetjies for the first time recently too. It was for the blog challenge, so I didn’t have lamb as an ingredient to cook the bredie. In the end I made a veggie bredie which was delicious. But I agree that waterblommetjies are an acquired taste. The adults liked them but the kids not so much. I think the soaking in salt water is to get rid of the bugs from the pond. Mine didn’t have any bugs though.

    • Hi Kit,

      Thanks for sharing! I would love to try out different dishes prepared using Waterblommetjies. I was reading up on the festival and it sounds like fun. We should go! xx

  • G

    Hi Thules!!!!

    I think waterblommertjies re soaked in salt water in order for them to be sweeter.

    Like we do with cabbage…soak in salt water for 1 hour and it brings out the sweetness.

    Hope I got it right!

    • G, LOL! I see you ignoring that I say you don’t bring lunch sometimes and get disappointed….hehehe!

  • I always soak the waterblommetjies and refresh them often with clean water to get rid of all the dust, sand, etc. I love waterblommetjie soup! That is my favourite. I do add it to a stew, but it taste like green beans (or almost similar) when added to a stew! (That is my perspective in any way!)

Post a Comment