This week two of South African food has a few more Indian and Malaysian influenced dishes than last week:
Cape Malay Chicken: A medium strength chicken curry, with a tomato base that includes apples because they tasted good and it’s fall. Served with roti jala. Roti Jala are Malaysian, not Cape Malay, but they’re a delicious addition to any meal. A crepe batter is swirled onto a hot skillet in such a way that it creates a net of “noodles”. I make mine crispier than what I understand to be authentic (I’m point this out in case you go to Malaysia and are shocked). I like a little crispness with the curry. The best way to reheat the crepes are back into a hot skillet with a little oil. It should take moments. If you don’t want to bother and you hit them in the microwave and they turn out soft, then you can think of it as closer to authentic. Either way, cold is not a great option for this dish.
Bobotie: Like a meat loaf with chutney and a savory custard topping, part local beef and part lamb. It comes with roasted sunchokes and potaotes. Ideally you would put this dish in a pan in the oven at 375-degrees to reheat it. That keeps the structure while warming it up. Will the world end if you put it in a microwave? No.
Biryani and Beans: Spiced rice pilaf with Bengali spinach and garbanzo beans (to make it a complete meal). You may or may not have noticed during previous Asian-inspired weeks, but I have anxiety about reheating rice. The spinach and beans are easily reheated in a saucepan with a splash of liquid (broth, milk, water), and you could add the rice in there after the spinach part gets warm. Or you could do them at the same time. Or go for the microwave. Here’s the thing – don’t overcook the rice! Cook it to just warm! I always get impatient reheating and cook the heck out of my rice and obliterate their texture, it happens particularly easily in a microwave; don’t do like I do.
P.S. This rice tastes fine cold or room temperature, but the spinach doesn’t so some reheating is in order whatever you do.
Samosas (Veg): 3 small per order, with chutney. When I say “small” I mean that 3 is a serving size, it’s not a serving for three people. These are vegetable filled and baked rather than deep fried. You know what would make these healthy, baked, samosas taste best when you reheat them? Frying. I’d let them come to room temperature and then pan fry them in canola oil. You could also put them uncovered in an oven to recrisp them. I haven’t tried them cold but I will, and I’ll update this note afterwards. The one thing that doesn’t really work with these is the microwave because it will soften the outside crust. I like having one order of these and one of the isidudu (below) for a meal.
Isidudu (Veg): Pumpkin & hominy (corn). If you’ve had a pozole, you can think of this as a stripped down pozole with minimal broth. It’s local pumpkin from the farmers’ market, a little vegetable broth, and the hominy. Reheat gently in the microwave or in a saucepan. This does not have a strong spice mix on it, I add hot sauce at home. . . I add hot sauce to just about everything that arrives on my plate as a matter of principle.
Chili, Curry, Pineapple Raita (Veg): In Durban, South Africa, they sell long pineapple slices on a skewer, rolled in a spice mix of curry, chili powder, cayenne, and salt. This cold salad is a version of that street snack. On a related note, if you roll orange sections in the same spice mix and then cook them into an omelet it tastes surprisingly good. A guy from Turkey taught me that during the brief time I was in a vegetarian cooking cooperative, but I don’t know whether it’s Turkish or he just made it up because we had oranges, eggs, and very little else to use to create dinner (did I mention it was a brief time in the cooperative?)
Rusks: Twice baked cookies, good for dunking in tea or coffee.
Upside-Down Skillet Corn Cake: With pear fruit bottom. This would be particularly delicious warmed up with a small scoop of ice cream on top (and if you want to get specific, with a small scoop of Strafford Organic Cinnamon Ice Cream on top).