South African Cape Malay Recipes

South Africa - commonly called the rainbow nation - is a diverse country with an equally diverse range of people. One of the most colourful ethnic groups is the Cape Malay community, whose origins are easily traced to the original Dutch colony established around Cape Town, now a bustling metropolis visited by people from all over the world. So it will come as no surprise that South African Cape Malay recipes are offered in many restaurants in the city, many of which are world class. These same traditional South African Cape Malay recipes are still cooked in most Malay homes. Better still, with our help you too can cook South African Cape Malay recipes in your own home, irrespective of where you live in the world.

Who are the Cape Malay people?
Strictly speaking Malays are people who come from Malaysia or Indonesia, and they are Muslims, following the religion of Islam. Cape Malays are people whose ethnicity has become entrenched in the Western Cape province of South Africa. On the other hand Cape Coloureds (as a politicised group) are people of mixed race who may or may not be able to trace their ancestry to Malaysia or Indonesia.

While Cape Malay people live all over South Africa today, their origins are traced to the original Cape Colony that was established by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. Since the Dutch had established other colonies in other parts of the world, primarily Indonesia, it isn't surprising to find that many of them were enslaved Javanese people of Islamic faith who were brought to South Africa by the employees of the Dutch East India Company. Other Muslim slaves came from other south-east Asian regions.

In the early days of the Cape Colony, many of the non-African slaves (primarily the Malay folk) were skilled craftsmen who had the ability to lay bricks, thatch roofs and do carpentry work, and make furniture. Others were skilled in food preparation and cooking. In fact many female Malay slaves took over all housekeeping duties (including cooking) from the free European burgher (citizen) women in their homes. For this reason many forms of Malay cooking also find a home in the popularised forms of South African culinary tradition as a whole.

Contemporary South African Cape Malay recipes
When we talk about "contemporary" Cape Malay recipes we mean those that are cooked today, sometimes with adaptations to the original forms.

We have chosen a selection of recipes that include some of the most popular ways of cooking bobotie, sosatie, curry, breyani and bredie, along with appetisers, snacks, soups, puddings and a whole lot more. We hope these will inspire you to experiment and then enjoy these contemporary South African Cape Malay recipes.

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