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The way Madiba liked it: Recipes for 5 of his favourite dishes

A proper celebration needs food, and lots of it. So, for Mandela Day this year, get the oven ready, set the table and tuck into some of Madiba’s favourite dishes. 

Umsila wenkomo (oxtail stew)

SERVES 6  HANDS-ON 15 min HANDS-OFF 4 hours

2 tbsp flour
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
Salt and pepper
1.5 kg oxtail
Vegetable oil, to fry
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
500 ml beef stock
400g tin chopped tomatoes
150 ml red wine
2 bay leaves
200g green beans, topped and tailed
Dombolo, to serve (see recipe below)

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Mix flour, paprika, mixed herbs, salt and pepper in a ziplock bag. Add the oxtail, seal and shake until the meat is well coated.
3. Heat oil in an ovenproof pot and brown the oxtail (in batches if necessary). Add onion, garlic, carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add stock, tomatoes, wine and bay leaves. Cover and place in the oven for 3 hours. (Or simmer on low heat on the stovetop.)
5. Add the beans, then cook for another hour.
6. Serve with fresh dombolo.

Dombolo (dumplings)

MAKES 10  HANDS-ON 30 min HANDS-OFF 1 hour

500g flour, plus extra to knead
10g yeast
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
375–500 ml lukewarm water
Vegetable oil, to grease
3 tbsp butter

1. Mix flour, yeast, salt and sugar.  Mix in 375 ml water. If the dough is too dry, add more water.
2. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth, about 8 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 hour.
3. Divide into 10 balls. Flatten each one until it is the size of your palm.
4. In a heavy-based pot, melt the butter. Add the dombolo, leaving 2 cm between each one (work in batches if necessary). Add about 2 cm water to the pot.
5. Cover and steam the dombolo over low heat for 10–15 minutes, until all of the water has been absorbed and the base of each dumpling is golden.

Umngqusho (samp and beans)

SERVES 4 HANDS-ON 10 min HANDS-OFF 1 hour + soaking time

500g samp and bean mix
Vegetable oil, to fry
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp chicken stock powder
1 bay leaf
60g butter
2 tbsp chopped parsley (optional)

1. Soak the samp and beans in boiling water overnight, or for at least 2 hours. Rinse and then set aside.
2. Heat oil in a pot and fry onion and garlic until soft, 5 minutes.
3. Add samp and beans, chicken stock and bay leaf. Add enough water to cover. Simmer for 1 hour, adding more water if necessary. Cook until most of the water is absorbed and samp and beans are soft.
4. Stir through the butter and parsley just before serving.

Sweet chicken


8 chicken pieces
1 tbsp chicken spice
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil, to fry
250 ml chutney
160 ml mayonnaise
160 ml orange juice
1 tbsp curry powder
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
Rice, to serve
Coriander, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Coat the chicken in chicken spice, paprika, salt and pepper.
3. Heat oil in an ovenproof pan and brown the chicken.
4. Mix the chutney, mayonnaise, orange juice, curry powder and garlic together. Pour over the chicken pieces.
5. Place in the oven and bake uncovered for 45 minutes, until cooked through.
6. Serve with rice and coriander.

Rice pudding


250 ml rice, cooked
500 ml milk
250 ml cream
250 ml raisins
60 ml sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla essence
Generous pinch nutmeg
Generous pinch salt
Honey, to serve
Chopped almonds, to serve
Cinnamon, to serve

1. Place all of the ingredients (except for the honey, almonds and cinnamon) in a large pot.
2. Bring to a simmer, then leave to cook for 20 minutes, until rich and creamy.
3. Serve the pudding warm with a sprinkle of cinnamon, a drizzle of honey and some chopped almonds.

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