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When hearing the words “tomato bredie”, most of us are transported back to our childhoods, our memories entwined with the joy of this delicious yet oh-so-simple traditional dish. There are many different ways to serve tomato bredie, be it with rice, stywe pap or just on its own in a bowl. You honestly can’t go wrong!

Classic South African food 

The history behind this South African classic

Tomato bredie is an essential part of our history and culture. However, its origins come from Dutch kitchens to our very own Cape Malay roots. It stems from the days of Jan Van Riebeeck when bredie was the food of the servants – this was around the1600s. Legend has it that it came from simple ingredients, namely offcuts from the farmers’ meat. The servants would then stew it for long periods of time, which is how its name came to be.
Some versions have chillies, but given its Cape Malay heritage, it’s a mostly mild, fragrant dish. Along with boerewors and pap, bobotie and malva pudding, it forms one of the many pillars that make up our South African culinary heritage.

Tamatiebredie and mieliemeel: A match made in heaven

As with any South African food, tamatiebredie pairs deliciously with pap. A staple in our country, pap is another calling to our roots and reminds us of our humble origins. Typically served in place of mashed potatoes or rice, pap is devilishly simple to prepare and a perfect vessel for the rich flavours of this wonderful stew. 

An all-day affair 

As most Saffas know, we don’t limit pap to just dinner time. It’s the perfect dish for any time of the day. We eat it for breakfast with a bit of sugar and amasi, or for lunch with a lekker side of wors. And of course, for dinner, it can be served alone as a side dish or as a standalone stew or curry. 

How to make tomato stew (Tamatiebredie) 

What you need: 

  • 2 to 3 Kgs of Stewing meat, preferably mutton, but beef or lamb are great alternatives 
  • Cooking oil for frying (Olive oil would be best, but any oil will work just fine) 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 500g of onions thinly sliced 
  • 1kg tomatoes, peeled 
  • 3 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes 
  • 1kg sweet potato or regular potatoes, cut into chunks 
  • Fresh basil or oregano (optional) to taste 
  • Cooked rice or stywe pap to serve 

*Tips:  

  • Season and brown your meat before you begin cooking. This releases the meat’s natural flavours and will undoubtedly send you straight into a food coma!  
  • Olive oil is the best for cooking when it comes to flavour, but any oil you have on hand will work.
  • Mutton is traditionally used for tomato stew, but any meat will work.

What to do:

  • Brown the meat in a saucepan or pot with a touch of oil. This is the same pot you’ll be making the bredie in. Do this in small batches; overcrowding the pan will result in a lack of caramelization. Set the meat aside in a clean dish once complete. 
  • Fry the onions in the same pot until translucent. 
  • Peel the tomatoes. To do this, score the tomatoes across their bottoms and place them in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. Then remove them and put them in an ice bath to cool. The skins will peel right off.
  • Add all your tomato to the pot along with the browned meat. Add your seasonings and cook for 3-4 hours on the stovetop or in the oven at 150 degrees Celsius. 
  • Roast your potatoes or add them into the pot with 30 to 45 minutes to go. Serve with fresh oregano/basil and your choice of starch. 

To make the rice

You will need:

  • 2 cups of rice of your choosing
  • 2 and 2/3 cups of water

What to do:

  • Rinse the rice in a sieve under cool running water. Wash for approximately 2 minutes 
  • Place the rice into a pot with water. For 1 cup of rice, use 1 1/3 cups of water. 
  • Bring to a hard boil, and then give the rice a vigorous stir, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pot. Lower the heat to low-medium and cover with a lid. 
  • Cook the rice for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

For the pap

You will need: 

  • 3 cups of water 
  • 2 cups of mieliemeel/ maize meal 
  • 2 tablespoons of butter 

What to do:

  • Bring the water to a boil and add half the maize meal. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Leave the pap for 10 minutes, and resist the urge to stir. 
  • Remove the lid, then vigorously stir the pap to incorporate any remaining maize meal. Repeatedly mash the pap against the pot’s side to work out any lumps. 
  • Slowly add in the remaining maize meal, stirring and mashing between each addition. Reduce the heat to low and let the pap steam for 15 minutes with the lid on. 
  • Remove the lid and stir again. If the pap is a bit too dry, you can add more water and stir. Mix in the butter, and you’re ready to serve. 

Enjoy!

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