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