South Africans celebrate Freedom Day on the 27th April. This year I will be celebrating Freedom Day by feasting with family and friends. The idea of marking the day with a feast came to me while reading Anna Trapido’s book, Hunger for Freedom. The book also reminded me of South Africa’s food heritage and particularly Madiba’s love of all things spicy – pickles, breyani and even crab curry are just some of the recipes featured in the book. There are many stories that are beautifully written – stories that tell us about people, the food they prepared and the meals they shared.
Indian food has long played an important part in the development of a South African food culture. Our nation’s love of strong spicy flavours and chilli is part of our heritage. Everywhere you go in South Africa, there is Peri Peri, Garlic, Chutney, Dips and generally robust flavours. Those of you who have travelled widely will know that this is not always the case in other countries.
Try to find a traditional Durban Curry in India – you can’t! And don’t think that South African Indians grew up on Rogan Josh, Korma and Vindaloo – we grew up eating curry and rice! Ever been to an Indian wedding – I just know that you were served breyani, breyani and more breyani cooked in the biggest pot you have ever seen. My point is that South African food is not based on fancy schmancy recipes, but rather on good wholesome spicy food.
We grew up eating curry cooked in AMC pots every day, but every now and then one of the many great cooks in the neighbourhood would break out with something different for example Malva Pudding, Milk Tart and Bobotie. It was always like a breath of fresh air, and although we might have immediately gone back to our Durban curries, the memory of those ‘adventures’ has always stayed with me. I still try to relive those adventures in my cooking, although Durban Curry will always have a special place in my heart.
Here are two of recipes that I will be preparing for my Freedom Day Feast….
Crayfish Curry - perfect for the Freedom Day feast
One of Madiba’s favourites, Crayfish Curry – this is how I make it!
12 medium sized crayfish tails, deveined
50ml sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
7,5ml coarse salt
Curry leaves, if you have them
15ml freshly crushed garlic
30ml Curry Me Home Red Chilli Powder
6 – 8 ripe tomatoes (I used the 1 and a half tins of Spar Whole Peeled Tomatoes)
5ml Curry Me Home Ground Cumin
10ml Curry Me Home Ground Coriander
2 sprigs of curry leaves
Fresh coriander, to garnish
If you are using fresh tomatoes, blanch them in boiling water. Remove the skins and chop. I used the tinned variety for this recipe simply because I was out of ripe tomatoes and the ones in the veggie basket were too firm to make up a good sauce. Chop the tinned tomatoes and remove the hard centre.
Heat the sunflower oil on medium. Add the onions, salt and curry leaves. Saute until the onion is light golden brown before adding the garlic. Saute the garlic for a few seconds until fragrant and then add the red chilli powder. Stir for 5 seconds and then add the tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes soften and add the cumin, coriander, turmeric and sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer for until the sauce thickens slightly. Add the crayfish tails and simmer until the shells change colour. When the tails curl slightly and the meat is cooked, remove the pot from the heat and add curry leaves. Add the fresh coriander and serve with basmati rice.
I leave the crayfish in the shell – it adds more flavour to the sauce.
A sweet ending...
Yum Yum Malva Pudding
Serves 4 – 6
200ml castor sugar
250ml cake flour
5ml bicarbonate of soda
20ml butter, melted
100ml full cream milk
50ml fresh cream
15ml apricot jam
5ml vinegarMalva Sauce
125ml castor sugar
125ml boiling waterIce cream or custard, to serveHere’s how:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease an oven proof dish with non stick spray. Sieve the flour and bicarbonate of soda twice. Stir the salt into the sifted dry ingredients. Combine the melted butter, full cream milk and the cream. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl. Use a hand held beater, and beat the eggs while gradually adding the castor sugar. Continue beating the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the sifted dry ingredients, alternating with the milk and cream mixture. Lastly add the apricot jam and the vinegar. Beat well ensuring the mixture is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and set.
For the sauce:
Combine the cream, butter, castor sugar and boiling water. Simmer the sauce on low for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens slightly. Pour the hot sauce over the baked pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Serve the malva pudding warm and topped with ice cream or custard.
Use 150ml full cream milk instead of a combination of full cream milk and fresh cream for the pudding.
Whipped cream can be served with the pudding.