Cape Malay cuisine has all the warming spices and flavours that feed the soul. The Malay community combines the rich heritage of Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia which is vastly echoed in their cuisine. Traditionally, they eat with their hands and use a variety of spices in their dishes. Food is at the heart of the Cape Malay culture, which explains why this community believes in feeding people well by laying out hearty meals.
With hints of African and European influences, the intoxicating aromas wafting through the air lure you towards loads of Cape Malayan delicacies. Cape Town, South Africa is the thriving central hub for this melting pot of vibrant cultures. Cape Malay curry is one sure to delight all your senses. Here’s a few reasons why we love this fragrant curry so much:
Perfectly Combines Sweet and Savory Elements
Spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise lend a sweet touch to the special curries created in Cape Malay cooking. Raisins, dried apricots, jams, and tangy chutneys are also essential components of the gravies prepared here, which help add to the sweet flavour and introduce a fruity element.
Savory ingredients that go into making a lip-smacking Cape Malay curry include: turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chilli powder. Bay leaves, chopped onions, as well as minced ginger and garlic add to the rich depth of flavour. For a welcomed note of tartness to cut through the sweet and spice, red wine vinegar is often added.
Served With a Twist
Curries all over the world are generally served alongside rice; The Cape Malay cuisine likes to take things up a notch with the addition of a few surprising twists. When served with rice, it is rarely plain, steamed white rice. Most often, the rice cooked has a golden-yellow hue from ground turmeric and is fragrantly spiced with the inclusion of cardamom and cinnamon. Flatbread is also often served as an accompaniment to mop up all the divine juices of the gravy.
The curries from this region with a slightly thicker consistency also pair well with egg noodles or mashed potatoes. When wanting to achieve a thicker consistency, a little flour and tomato paste are good thickening agents. To make a thinner gravy, you can increase the amount of liquid in which the main ingredient is cooked i.e.: water or stock. At times, buttermilk or coconut milk are also added to intensify the complexity of the curry and add a creamy element.
Versatile to the Core
You can replicate Cape Malay curry recipes using either vegetarian or non-vegetarian core ingredients. In vegetarian cases, curries made using black-eyed beans or charred apricots are the hot favorites. For meat variations, use either lamb, chicken, beef, or even fish.
The beauty of Cape Malay curries is that they are neither pungent nor overly spiced, yet bursting with flavor. Why not try tucking in the traditional Cape Malay way and rid of your cutlery and dig in with your hands?