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Experience Ramadaan The Cape Malay Way

Dominated by fruity, mild spices and full-bodied flavours, Cape Malay cuisine is food for the soul. We honour the holy month of Ramadan with a spread fit for the whole family.  

Rose and date chia porridge 

Serves 4 • Total Time 15 Min [Plus Refrigeration] 



2 cups milk  
½ cup chia seeds  
½ tsp ground nutmeg  
½ tsp ground cinnamon 
1 tbsp rose syrup   


4-5 Medjool dates, chopped 
2 apples, sliced 
2 tbsp desiccated coconut  


  1. Combine milk, chia seeds, spices and rose syrup in a bowl and mix. 
  2. Chill for at least 1-2 hours or until chia seeds have absorbed liquid and slightly set. 
  3. Layer glasses with chia pudding, dates, apples and coconut. Serve immediately. 

Prep Ahead  

The chia mixture can be made the night before to make a no-fuss, nourishing breakfast that’s perfect for breaking the fast. 


Lamb and barley soup 

Serves 4-6 • Total Time 1 Hr 30 Min 



2 tbsp canola or olive oil  
salt and milled black pepper  
1kg lamb stewing meat (such as goulash or knuckles) 
2 onions, chopped 
2 cloves garlic, chopped 
2 star anise
1 stick cinnamon 
2 tsp ground cumin  
1 tbsp ground coriander  
2 tsp tomato paste 
5-6 cups lamb or beef stock  
1 orange, zested 
1 cup pearl barley  
handful mint, coriander and/or parsley, chopped  


  1. Heat oil in a pot. Season lamb and brown in batches. Remove and set aside. 
  2. Sauté onion until soft. 
  3. Add garlic and spices and fry until fragrant, adding oil if needed. 
  4. Stir in tomato paste and cook until sticky, about 1-2 minutes. 
  5. Return meat to pot. 
  6. Add stock and orange zest. Cover and simmer for 40-45 minutes. 
  7. Once meat is soft, add barley and remove lid. 
  8. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes. 
  9. Stir in herbs and season. 
  10. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with cheese and pesto toasties. 


Cheese and pesto toasties 

Serves 4 • Total Time 10-15 Min 



1 jar red pepper or sun-dried tomato pesto 
8 slices sourdough or ciabatta 
1½ cups mozzarella or cheddar, grated 


  1. Spread pesto over four slices of bread and sprinkle with cheese. 
  2. Sandwich with remaining slices of bread and toast in a sandwich press or oven. 
  3. Serve warm as an accompaniment to the lamb and barley soup, or simply enjoy on their own.


Lamb akhni 

Serves 6-8 • Total Time 1 Hr 45 Min  


3 tbsp canola oil 
2 onions, chopped 
5 peppercorns  
4 cardamom pods, crushed 
4 cinnamon sticks  
5 cloves garlic, crushed 
1 tbsp cumin seeds 
1 kg lamb knuckles or goulash  
2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste  
2 green chillies, seeded and chopped 
1 tbsp chilli powder  
1 tbsp ground coriander 
1 tbsp ground cumin 
1 tbsp turmeric  
2 tsp chilli flakes  
2 tsp mother-in-law masala  
2 salad tomatoes, grated 
6 medium potatoes, peeled, quartered and pan-fried 
¾ cup plain yoghurt  
handful fresh coriander, chopped 
salt and milled black pepper 
3½ cups basmati rice, rinsed
½ tsp saffron, steeped in water (optional)  


  1. Heat oil in a large pot, and sauté onion and whole spices for 5-6 minutes. 
  2. Add lamb and cook until browned. 
  3. Stir in garlic and ginger paste, chilli and remaining spices. Cook for 5 minutes. 
  4. Add water to cover, and once oil rises to the surface, simmer for 15 minutes. 
  5. Stir in tomatoes, potatoes, yoghurt and coriander, and season well. 
  6. Cover with rice and add saffron, if using. 
  7. Add enough water to cover rice, seal with a lid and cook over a low heat for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until meat is tender. Do not stir. 
  8. Serve with tomato sambal, dhai (p25) and coriander.


Spicy chicken biryani 

Serves 4-6 • Total Time 2 Hrs [Plus Marinating] 


1 kg chicken drumsticks and thighs  
6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered 
2 cups buttermilk 
2 salad tomatoes, grated 
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp biryani masala 
1 tbsp garam masala 
1 tbsp medium curry powder 
1 cup brown lentils 
3 cups basmati rice  
¼ cup canola oil  
2 large onions, chopped 
1/3 cup water
Pinch saffron (optional) 



  1. Combine chicken, potatoes, buttermilk, tomatoes and spices in a large bowl to marinate for about 45-60 minutes.  
  2. Par-cook lentils (10-12 minutes) and rice (8-10 minutes) separately. 
  3. Drain and set aside. 
  4. Preheat oven to 180°C. 
  5. Heat one tablespoon oil in a pan and fry onions for 4-6 minutes. Set aside. 
  6. Cover the base of a large oven dish with water and remaining oil. Use a dish that has a tight-fitting lid. 
  7. Mix rice and lentils and add half to the dish. 
  8. Cover with chicken and potato mixture, and top with half the fried onions. 
  9. Add another layer of lentils and rice, and then the remaining chicken and potato mixture, finishing with the fried onions. 
  10. Sprinkle with saffron, if using. 
  11. Cover and bake for 1 ½  hours or until cooked. 
  12. Serve with fresh coriander, tomato sambal and yoghurt.


Words by Sjaan Van Der Ploeg
Photography: Fresh Living Magazine

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