Recipes from South Africa

I've already talked about pooitjie and included a recipe in the Kids section of Mural 8.  Regi and Mel also made pooitjie for me, but the extra touch was dumplings cooked on top of the stew.  So delicious and so easy!  In South Africa, you could buy already prepared dough in large plastic bags.  I'd never seen it anywhere else.  The dough was pinched and rolled into balls.  The entire top of the pooitjie was covered with those dough balls and the simmering continued until the bread was ready.  But, that's not my recipe!  Carrot salad, a side dish for the pooitjie, was a delicious (and do-able for me in the kitchen).

Regi and Mel's Carrot Salad
Johannesburg, South Africa

5 grated carrots
1 or 2 fresh chopped chilies
handful fresh coriander
dash of black pepper
1 small onion, diced
¼ cup vinegar
dash of salt
Okay, it's a salad.  So, it's a no-brainer to prepare.  Mix it all together and enjoy.  But, it's such a new and delicious taste combination for me.

The amount of chilies used is to taste.  If you like it strong (like me), throw in that extra chili.  For variety, instead of vinegar you could use orange juice and toss in some diced pineapple.  I, however, like it just the way it is and see no need for variety.

Since the salad was so simple, and I have another recipe from Regi and Mel, I thought I'd add what they do with lentils.  I know that lentils are healthy and I should eat more of them.  But, they were always a mystery for me to use.  Now the mystery was solved.

Regi and Mel's Dahl (Lentil Soup)
Johannesburg, South Africa

1 cup lentils
1 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
½ teaspoon fresh ginger
olive oil
handful of fresh coriander
1 or 2 bay leaves
few stalks of curry leaves

Boil the lentils and then set them aside until they are soft.

Dice the onion, garlic and ginger.  Brown and simmer them in some olive oil. Add to this mixture the handful of diced coriander, bay leaves and curry leaves.  If you don’t have curry leaves (which I have never seen before) add 2 teaspoons of curry powder.

Stir this until it becomes a paste.

Add the lentils and simmer.  If you think the mix needs water, add as needed.  You don’t want it runny like a soup.  It should be thick when served with rice.