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Enjoy a Cape Malay Barbecue

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This year has been quite challenging with Covid. We are traveling less and eating more. Why not take a tour with us and try some different Cuisines from around the World? Up first Cape Town, South Africa. Enjoy a Cape Malay BBQ – South Africa’s Unique Southeast Asian Food Culture.

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Cape Malays (Afrikaans: Kaapse Maleiers) are an ethnic group or community in South Africa. The name is derived from the Cape of Good Hope and the Malay people originally from Malay archipelago, mostly from the Dutch East Indies colony (present-day Indonesia), a Dutch colony for several centuries, and Dutch Malacca, which the Dutch held from 1641 to 1824.

Cape Malay cuisine is a mix of traditional South African flavors with those introduced from Malaysian, Indonesian and East African slaves brought to the Cape in the 17th and 18th centuries., Free Cooking and BBQ MagazineThe food is very aromatic with the use of cinnamon, saffron, tamarind, and fruit mixed with chili. Dried fruits are essential such as raisins and apricots.

As a large population of Cape Malay people comes from a Muslim background Pork is not utilized in dishes. Meat is predominantly lamb or beef.

Enjoy a Cape Malay Barbecue – Unique BBQ Barbecue Menu Ideas:

As South Africans need no special reason to Barbecue, many of these Cape Malay recipes have been adapted for the outside grill. Why not host a usual Backyard Barbecue with a Cape Malay theme? If you have any friends with roots in the Western Cape they will appreciate a taste from home!

Cape Malay Snacks whilst you BBQ

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Serve platters of Dhaltjies ( Tasty round-shaped snacks made from chickpea flour, spinach, onion, and turmeric- deep-fried in small balls. Serve with a bowl of sweet chili sauce.) Half moons, ( half-moon shaped crispy eats made from flour, butter, and breadcrumb pastry and packed with meat vegetable or chicken) and samosas ( often filled with potato and pea combinations).

Here are some recipes with a Cape Malay influence that can be prepared and cooked on an outdoor grill.

Cape Malay Sosaties: Spicy /Light Curry Meat Kebabs

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  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 x Medium Onions peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons mild curry powder
  • 2 Tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Tumeric
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ½ cup apricot juice
  • 2 Teaspoons brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 20 dried apricots
  • Zest of three lemons


Fry the onions in a pan until soft.

Add curry powder and spices. Fry for a few minutes till fragrant.

Add into the pot the vinegar, apricot juice, sugar and lemon zest. Bring this to the boil reduce and let simmer for 15 minutes. Let the mixture cool.

Prepare your meat kebabs alternating meat with a bay leaf and apricot.

Pour sauce over the kababs and then allow to marinate in the fridge for 2 days turning a few times.

Grill the sosaties over the grill on medium coals.

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Malay Cheesy Stuffed Onions


  • 4 medium onions. Peeled
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese -or any hard cheese
  • ½ cup thick cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Boil the onions whole in a pot until slightly tender. Leave to cool.

Carefully slice the top off each onion and finely chop. Put to one side.

Trim the base of the onions slightly so that they stand upright.

Scoop out about a Tablespoon of the flesh from inside each onion.

Fry together the onion offcuts, half the rosemary, and the garlic until soft.

Add half the cheese and all of the cream.

Spoon this mixture into each onion topping them with the remaining rosemary and cheese.

Wrap the onions in tin foil and place on the grill for 20 minutes until tender.

Cape Malay Waterblommetjie Bredie in a Cast Iron Pot

, Free Cooking and BBQ MagazineA bredie is another name for a stew. The water bloemetjies are a delicacy harvested from water lilies at special times of the year. No substitute will give the same final taste but green beans are similar. The consistency of the flowers is similar to artichoke leaves, but the taste is delicate. Similar to green beans with a touch of lemon.

Specialty Food shops often stocked tinned waterblommetjie’s.


  • 2 ½ lbs of cubed lamb (Knuckles, neck or rib)
  • 1 chopped large onion
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 3 Tablespoons oil
  • 3 teaspoons crushed coriander seeds
  • 2 lbs of waterblommetjies cleaned. (or substitute 2 lbs of green beans)
  • 1 lb of the cubed potato
  • 1 ½ cup lamb or beef stock
  • 1 lemon


Heat the cast iron pot and add the oil.

Brown the meat in batches. Set aside.

In the same pot gently fry the onion, garlic, and spices until soft.

Add the meat back into the pot. Add the stock and simmer on medium coals for an hour.

Add the waterblommetjies ( green beans) and potatoes to the pot.

If needed add a little more stock so the vegetables can simmer.

Remember to add the stock a little at a time as the end stew should not be watery.

When ready to eat add a little lemon juice.

Serve with rice and a cucumber salad on the side.

To finish off why not prepare in advance some Cape Malay koeksisters. These are called koeksisters but they are different from the customary South African dutch style woven koeksister. The recipe requires a little effort but the sweet treats are worth it. They can be made a few hours in advance.

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Cape Malay Koeksisters


  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • ⅓ cup of sugar
  • ¼ tsp of salt
  • 2 Teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 Teaspoons cardamom powder
  • 2 Teaspoons ginger powder
  • 2 Teaspoons cinnamon powder
  • 2 teaspoons aniseed
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tablespoon  oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 ½ cups hot water
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Desiccated coconut for sprinkling


Combine the flour, spices, sugar, yeast, and salt.

Make a mixture by adding the butter to the hot water so it melts and then mixing in the milk.

To dry flour mixture add egg, oil and milk-water mixture.

Mix well until a soft dough is formed.

This should be then left to rise in a warm area for about 1 ½ hour.

Moisten hands with a little olive oil and roll into a sausage shape. Cut off into 1-inch slices.

Place aside and let the dough pieces rise again.

Create an oval shape by stretching the dough pieces. Fry in medium hot oil until golden brown.

Drain on paper towel.


  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cardamon pods

To create the syrup place all the ingredients in a pot and bring to the boil. Take care that the sugar does not burn.

Continue to stir. The syrup should become slightly sticky.

Place the dough koeksisters into the syrup mixture to boil for 2 minutes.

Remove with a slotted spoon and then sprinkle with desiccated coconut.


Not sure if you would enjoy Barbecue from Africa? Keep in mind that many of the South’s Creole and Cajun dishes had influence from the African peoples. Read more HERE: Cajun Creole BBQ

Enjoy a taste of traditional South African cuisine from the Cape!

Ready to learn more about International Foods and Cooking? Check out:

Indian Recipe Ideas 

Greek Recipe Ideas

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