I had a request from Pim regarding my IMBB contribution of South African risotto. Pim wondered what she could substitute for boerewors in this recipe as she did not think she would be able to find boerewors in the US. Au contraire, Pim!! South Africans are well-travelled bunch & we don’t like to be far from the taste of home.
Often when we have a dinner party in London, people ask me to cook them an authentic South African meal. Nothing would please me more – but there is a problem. Well, there are 2 problems, really – the first one being what you would define as a traditional South African meal. Do you cook umnqgusho – samp and beans – with wild spinach on the side (traditional Xhosa); frikadelle with groenboontjiebredie – meatballs and bean stew (traditional Afrikaans); roast chicken and veg (traditional English) or a vegetable briyani (traditional Indian)… The list is as extensive as the various cultures of the Rainbow Nation.
The other problem is the fact that most of our unique South African dishes rely to a large extent on particularly South African ingredients which can be difficult or downright impossible to obtain abroad – I would love to make some smoked snoek (fish) patè or a lovely Kudu (game) fillet – or in a moment of wild abandon try my hand at waterblommetjiebredie (a traditional Cape stew made with mutton and a local aquatic herb). But I challenge anyone to find these raw ingredients outside South Africa at short notice – or at all!
However, it appears that I’m not the only one missing home cooking, which is why shops have sprung up supplying South African goodies wherever South Africans have congregated. Boerewors and biltong (dried meat seasoned with spices – like beef jerky only much, much better!) seem to be the main cravings, along with the sauces, spices, jams, chocolates and biscuits of home. So, for all those of you who are looking to taste South Africa without needing a passport, here are a few places who will gladly sell you South African produce – including boerewors for my risotto!
IN THE UK:
Web Butchers: 10 Montfort Place, Southfields, London SW19 6QL. Tel. (020) 87882959