A Girl’s Gotta Eat Right?
As I stated in my previous post (https://unicorninbrooklyn.com/2015/06/03/uib-travels-capetown-za/), I’m a greedy foodie that is morbidly obese (on the inside) that gets insanely happy when GOOD food is involved. OK, I didn’t really say that – but I was thinking it. As a self-proclaimed foodie I am always in the mood to eat – especially when the cuisine is fresh, organic, and full of flavor. Imagine my joy when I was introduced to the Bo-Kaap Cooking Tour just minutes from my hotel in Capetown!
The Bo-Kaap Cooking Tour (http://www.bokaapcookingtour.co.za/) “takes you on a voyage into the life, food and culture of the Cape Malay’s in Bo-Kaap whilst offering you a hands-on, practical lesson on how to cook like a real Cape Malay ‘Auntie’! Learn how to fold Samoosa’s and mix Masala for that perfect pot of Cape Malay Curry! “ – The Bo-Kaap cooking tour website. The tour (which costs $60.00 USD for two students, slightly more for one on one lessons and slightly less for three or more students) includes a walking history tour through Bo-Kaap, a visit to the local spice market, and a cooking class & sit down lunch with the instructor.
The instructor, Zainie, is a beautiful, petite spitfire – full of hutzpa, humor, sass and knowledge (of both Malay food and of Capetown). The second you meet her at 10:00 am in front of the Bo-Kaap museum (http://bokaap.co.za/museum/) (the starting point for the tour) you will immediately love her. I guarantee that her bright smile and warm energy will pull you right in!
What Is Bo-Kaap?
As we walked around Bo-Kaap Zanie provided me with a history lesson about this historic region of Capetown (known for its colorful houses and cobblestone streets). Bo-Kaap (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bo-Kaap) is an area of Capetown, South Africa formerly known as the Malay Quarters. It is historical center of Cape Malay culture in Capetown (with an Islam Mosque established in the 1800’s located in the area). It is a multi-cultural area rich in history located on the slopes of Signal Hill (which if you remember is the hill that I jumped from when I went paragliding).
After learning about Bo-Kaap’s history it was time to go spice shopping! Zainie took me to Rose Corner Cafe where I learned about an array of spices and how to blend them for certain dishes. The smell of the shop was intoxicating as hell!
Time to Cook!
After leaving the spice market, Zaine led the way back to her house (where the cooking class takes place). Next stop – food!
Upon entrance into Zaine’s immaculate house you notice that it’s brightly lit, as sunlight pours in abundantly. Her helper (I can’t recall her name, but she was such a lovely woman), pictured below, is from Zimbabwe – and moved to Bo-Kaap to escape Xenophobia (an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers of of that which is foreign or strange).
The first thing that I had to do was get the chicken curry going. Thanks to Zainie’s helper I didn’t have to chop up any of the ingredients. I simply put them (chicken, vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, and spices) into the pot and proceeded to cook as I was instructed.
The chicken was organic and incredibly fresh. It was so refreshing (and odd) to see chicken so small – as an American we’re so accustomed to seeing larger than normal chicken that’s been pumped with antibiotics and steroids.
After the curry was all mixed up and simmering I was taught how to make Rooties (which is very similar to Roti. Making rooties involves a lot of flour and water, movement (as you use your arms a lot). Zainie mixed the ingredients ahead of time so I simply proceeded to knead the dough and prepare it for the freezer (where it would be taken out and cooked later on in the lesson).
After I prepared a few more dishes I made rooties! It took a lot of patience (as I had to roll the dough a specific way then fry it with a minute amount of oil).
Before cooking the rooties, I made what became one my favorite dish of the class, Daltjies (aka Chili Bites). Daltjies are fritters with flour (self rising & chick pea) spinach, onions, turmeric, baking powder, masala, and water. These babies are super easy to make and are done in no time. OMG, they taste so good!!!
After taking them out, I was able to sample a few with dipping sauces (Mebos – sweet chili sauce & Dhanya – cilantro sauce) that Zainie had on deck.
Next up, we made my second favorite dish of the class, Samosas (stuffed with seasoned organic beef, cilantro, onions, garlic, and various spices). Learning how to fold samosas was a really cool experience – I had no idea that even that was an art form.
After cooking Daltjies and Samosas, the chicken curry was nice and tender – and ready for consumption!
After all that cooking it was time to eat! While I cooked, Zainie’s helper prepared the table for an afternoon feast. She included peach iced tea, lemon water, saffron rice, and grape juice.
At the table Zainie surprised me with a bag of spices and cookbook that contained the recipes for every dish that I prepared that day.
That’s it folks – I learned about Bo-Kaap, I shopped, I cooked, and I ate (like a glutton). Zainie and I enjoyed a lovely afternoon lunch full of laughter and delicious food – an afternoon that will forever be near and dear to my heart. If the pictures didn’t already woo you, I’m just gonna go ahead and tell you that your arse needs to contact Zainie and schedule an cooking class tour (tell her that I sent you). You will truly not be disappointed!
Until Next Time Friends!