WELCOME TO MY HOME

Faldela Tolker is waiting to greet you on the doorstep of her neat, lilac-coloured house. She ushers you into the kitchen, where a large metal pot simmering on the hotplate emits a spicy aroma.

Chef Faldela gives cookery lessons to tourists at her home in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town. The food cooked in this predominantly Muslim neighbourhood is as piquant as the hot pink and burnt orange painted houses that rise gently up the lower slopes of Signal Hill, part of Table Mountain.

Unique to the Western Cape of South Africa, Cape Malay cuisine mixes African traditions with those of the Malaysian and Indonesian slaves brought over by the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries. A blend of spices – ginger, fennel, star anise, tamarind and, most important, turmeric – gives the food its distinctive aromatic quality. Stews, roasts and sauce-heavy curries are popular, as are meat patties and milk and bread puddings.

© 2019 by Saleem Bassadien