UIB Travels: Bo-Kaap Cooking Tour

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Daltjies – my favorite dish of the day

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.

Zainie, ifo her house in Bo-Kaap
Zainie, ifo her house in Bo-Kaap

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).

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Fave shot of Bo-Kaap with the majestic Table Mountain in the background
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Street Views – Lion’s Head Mountain in the background
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Street view – Table Mountain peeking through
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The bright & colorful houses of Bo-Kaap. In the background you will notice Signal Hill
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Street view
With all this beauty around me I had to get the obligatory selfie, complete with a hibiscus flower in my hair
With all this beauty around me I had to get the obligatory selfie, complete with a hibiscus flower in my hair

Spice Much?

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!

The Spice Market
The Spice Market – Rose Corner Cafe
Spices anyone?
Spices anyone?
Here I am holding a curry leaf (who knew curry powder came from a leaf? Not me!) ifo curry powder
Here I am holding a curry leaf (who knew curry powder came from a leaf? Not me!) ifo curry powder

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).

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Zainie’s kitchen
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Some of the spices in Zainie’s kitchen

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.

Chicken Curry
Chicken Curry
Cooking chicken curry
Stirring the pot. One of the most important things I had to do was ensure all the ingredients were mixed together evenly and thoroughly

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).

Zainie preparing rooties dough
Zainie preparing rooties dough

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).

Look how sexy my cooked rooties came out
Look how sexy my cooked rooties came out

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!!!

Mixing Daltjies ingredients together
Mixing Daltjies ingredients together

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.

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Daltjies poppin!

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.

Zainie mixing the beef filling for the samosas
Zainie mixing the beef filling for the samosas
My folded samosas - I was so proud
My folded samosas – I was so proud
After folding the samosas they were cooked in piping hot sunflower oil
After folding the samosas they were cooked in piping hot sunflower oil
Poppers - These are samosa skins that were "broken" and too short to be used in the samosa folding process. Instead of tossing the skins, they were fried up and lightly seasoned for me to snack on as I cooked - so good!
Poppers – These are samosa skins that were “broken” and too short to be used in the samosa folding process. Instead of tossing the skins, they were fried up and lightly seasoned for me to snack on as I cooked – so good!

After cooking Daltjies and Samosas, the chicken curry was nice and tender – and ready for consumption!

Cooked chicken curry
Cooked chicken curry
Proudly holding my chicken curry
Proudly holding my chicken curry

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.

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The spread

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.

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Keepsakes

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!

XO,

~Pennie Penz

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