Food is important to the heritage and traditions of South Africans across cultures and religions.
Our cuisine is a unique fusion of many different external cultural influences, and dining out is one of the most popular things to do, especially if you are a visitor.
It's also there to preserve culture and tradition. Most of us know more about the different cultures in our country through food: how it's prepared, the flavour, and most importantly, how it is consumed.
Chef lecturer at Capsicum Culinary Studio, Ukhonaye Mconi, believes that it’s time South Africans started embracing and promoting their own cuisine.
Mconi says it’s all very well talking about regional and seasonal ingredients, we also have to take these and use them in uniquely South African dishes updated for a new dining generation. He believes our best meal is formulated in our heart and soul, and any person who eats our food is affected by what we have in our heart; happy or troubled.
“I think we need to introduce all our dishes to the world. There are so many wonderful South African dishes that deserve to make their way on to mainstream menus at our restaurants. It’s time we start celebrating them and updating them,” he says.
Below, Mconi shares his Bacon umngqusho arancini recipe that you can try this Heritage Month.
450g samp and beans, soaked overnight
20ml olive oil
300g streaky bacon, chopped
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
3 tbs chopped garlic
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
1 tbs curry powder
1100ml vegetable stock
400g all-purpose flour
1kg panko breadcrumbs
400ml egg wash
Oil to deep-fry
Black pepper and salt
Cook samp and beans in half the vegetable stock for 50–65 minutes, till soft. Strain.
In a pot, fry the bacon, onion, garlic, and thyme with the oil and butter till fragrant and golden.
Add carrot and curry powder and deglaze with the stock. Pour the cooked samp into the stockpot and simmer until it thickens fully. Stir in the chilli.
Once cooked, cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge until it stiffens.
Set up a breeding station. Flour bowl, egg washbowl, and bread crumbs container.
Place the samp mixture on a cutting board and cut into even-sized squares.
Coat each square in flour, dip into the beaten eggs and then roll in the breadcrumbs.
Deep-fry squares till golden and serve with a condiment of your choice (I suggest chipotle mayo).