Cape Malay Culinary Experience

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I am thoroughly enjoying the beauty of Cape Town, its diversity, its moody climate, its people and its flavours. Everyday I learn and see new things all around me and I just can’t get enough.
I am surprised to hear that some people who’ve lived here all their lives have never visited places right around the corner from them. We are creatures of habit and comfort zones. Often we find ourselves visiting the same places at the same time on the same day over and over. One of the things that my husband and I wanted most from moving to Cape Town was to create new experiences, travel new roads and expose our children to new opportunities.
Wait, that sounds like a mid-life crisis…
If it is, I encourage everyone to embrace it no matter what your age is.

Part of the experience of visiting Cape Town or any destination for that matter, is tasting its local cuisine.
We all have to eat. Why not eat something that is part of the tradition of Cape Town – made by locals, cooked from the heart and shared with love. Sure, you can cook it from a recipe and eat it at home…but it never tastes the same.
In order to understand cultural cuisine, you have to understand the locals that have been cooking it for generations. If you are lucky, you get to cook alongside them, sit down to eat with them and listen to their stories as they share some tips and more…
I thought it would be fun to go and learn a different cuisine for Heritage month, so when I came across an advert for a Cape Malay Culinary Experience on Sa Experience-it, I jumped at the opportunity.

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On the menu was making rotis, samoosas, chilli bites or dhaltjies as they are called here and a Cape Malay chicken curry. What I loved about this cooking class was the fact that it felt like I was visiting a friend and cooking along with her in her kitchen. What a great atmosphere. There were six of us rolling, smearing, stirring and …tasting in Gamidah’s kitchen. Gamidah, our host, runs cooking classes from her brightly painted blue home on Wale Street in the Bo-Kaap. She calls her business “Lekka kombuis” – meaning yummy kitchen. In a very relaxed and aromatic quaint kitchen she taught us how to make the perfect fluffy roti from scratch. I will never buy these again now that I can make my own. It does need a bit of effort, but the dough can be made in bulk and frozen for when you need it. There are two ways to eat a roti – filled with curry and rolled like a pancake or just torn off in little pieces and dunked into the curry. I prefer tearing little pieces off.
While we all got to try out the roti and samoosa making techniques, the curry was “talking to us in the background”. Yep, cooking involves all the senses… Gamidah says she listens to the pot and that’s how she knows when the food is ready for a stirring or needs more water.

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To end the experience on a high, we took a stroll across the road to Atlas Trading Co. – the Ahmed family have been running this spice shop for over half a century. When you step inside, its’ like walking into an aroma heaven and it feels like you’ve been taken back fifty years. Spices galore. We all stocked our pantries full of the spices we need to make all the goodies we had just learnt about…and more.

They sell rice and flour by the kilogram the old fashioned way. In a brown paper bag – it just looks so much better than a plastic bag.

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Below is the recipe to the curry that Gamidah taught us to make.
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Take a look at other recipes of traditional Cape Malay dishes by clicking on the images below.

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Thanks so much Brenda from SA Experience-it for the great experience and I am looking forward to more in the future.

For more information on the Cape Malay Cooking Experience visit SA Experience-it website. They have a whole range of other planned tours on offer.
SA Experience-it Travels-Tours-Events
P.O. Box 100520, Milnerton, 7435
Tel: +27 (0) 824 600 886*
Fax: +27 (0) 865 516 595
info [at]

Atlas Trading Co.
94 Wale Street, Bo Kaap
021 423 4361


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