Welcome to the beautiful Boland region of South Africa, where the natural landscape boasts a variety of stunning flora and fauna. Amongst these wonders is a traditional dish that has captured the hearts and stomachs of locals for generations – water blommetjies.
An introduction to the delightful waterblommetjiesbredie
A popular dish in the Boland region is waterblommetjiebredie, a delicious and hearty stew. The name water blommetjies translates to “water flower” in English and refers to the Aponogeton distachyos plant, which is native to the Western Cape. In the winter and spring months, these fragrant and succulent white flowers can be seen floating on the ponds in our valleys.
Waterblommetjies bredie is a flavourful stew made with lamb or mutton, waterblommetjies (water lilies), and a variety of other vegetables and spices. The dish is known for its rich, hearty flavour and is typically served with rice or samp (a type of dried corn).
Cape Malay waterblommetjie bredie: What is “Bredie”?
“Bredie” may sound like a typical Afrikaans word for stew, but its roots go beyond the South African culture. The word actually originates from Malaysia and was brought to the Cape by Malays who were often forced into slavery during the 17th and 18th centuries. These Malays were skilled in cooking and introduced a new style of cooking to the Cape that incorporated their traditional ingredients and spices. This is how bredie became a prominent element of South African cuisine.
The origin of the waterblommetjiesbredie
The addition of waterblommetjies to bredie is what sets this South African stew apart from others. Waterblommetjies are small, edible flowers that grow in the shallows of freshwater ponds and dams. They have a delicate flavour that adds a unique taste to the stew. The use of waterblommetjies in cooking can be traced back to the indigenous Khoisan people who used them in their traditional dishes.
One of the reasons why waterblommetjies bredie is so highly revered in South Africa is because it is a seasonal dish. Waterblommetjies only bloom during the winter months, making this stew a treasured delicacy that can only be enjoyed for a short period of time each year. The stew is typically made in large batches and shared with family and friends, adding to the sense of community and tradition that surrounds this dish.
Waterblommetjie bredie recipe
Now that you know the history and origin of waterblommetjies bredie, it’s time to give it a try and experience its deliciousness for yourself.
What you need:
- 2 kilograms of waterblommetjies
- 1.2kg cubed thick rib mutton
- Finely chop 2 onions.
- Finely chop 3 cloves of garlic.
- Juice 3 lemons.
- 500 ml mutton stock
- 500 ml white wine
- 10 baby potatoes, each halved.
- 4 large carrots (chopped in medium sized cubes)
- Four leeks (halved and sliced into 1cm pieces)
- 40 ml of olive oil
- 30ml of salt
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
What to do:
- Begin by preparing the waterblommetjies for cooking. In a large bowl, cover them with cold water and add a pinch of salt. Allow them to soak while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Heat some oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat. Once hot, brown the meat on all sides until it is nicely seared.
- Now, add the onion and garlic to the pan with the meat and sauté until they turn translucent.
- Next, reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the wine, lamb stock, and lemon juice. Make sure to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan for added flavor.
- Cover the saucepan and let the meat cook slowly until it becomes tender.
- Once the meat is tender, add in the carrots, leeks, potatoes, and waterblommetjies. Cook for an additional 30 minutes on low heat, making sure not to overcook the delicate waterblommetjies.
- Season with a pinch of sea salt and a generous grind of freshly ground black pepper, adjusting to your taste preferences.
Waterblommetjie stew recipe: Conclusion
Waterblommetjies bredie is more than just a stew; it’s a symbol of South African culture and heritage. This beloved dish has been passed down through generations and continues to be enjoyed by many. So, next time you have the opportunity to try waterblommetjies bredie, savour every bite and remember the rich history and tradition that goes into making this delicious stew. With its unique blend of Dutch, indigenous, and modern influences, waterblommetjies bredie truly represents the diverse and flavourful cuisine of South Africa. So, why not gather your loved ones around the dinner table and enjoy a taste of this cultural delicacy? You won’t be disappointed!
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