A Duo of South African Inspired Dips

peppadew hummus and curry dip

I probably spent half of my six-month stint in South Africa in the grocery store.  Well, maybe not just the grocery store.  Outdoor markets, farmstands, and roadside cafes too.  But you get the idea. And when I left Cape Town, my suitcase was jam-packed with rusks and biltong and rooibos. 

Six years later, my friend Patrick continues to feed my South African food obsession with bi-annual care packages filled with everything from sachets of spices to cans of ostrich pate.  My own dear Patrick is Patrick Ashworth, of Ashworth Africa Tours and Safaris.  Patrick develops tailor-made tours and safaris in Southern Africa and is passionate about sharing all that is South African.  As such, my care packages usually include not only a heap of food, but a healthy dose of cultural education too.  From CDs to history books to recipes, I never know what I’ll find. 

What my months in Cape Town and my friendship with Patrick have taught me is that thing about South African cuisine is that there is no ‘thing’.  In Cape Town in particular, the food is a varied woven amalgamation of cultures and peoples and history.  It’s fusion cuisine unlike anything you’ll find on even the trendiest New York restaurant menu. 

Which makes it wonderfully fun food to stretch, create and reinvent.  You know, of course, that I can never leave well enough alone, that strict recipes make me feel hemmed in. So I adore South African influenced dishes for their adaptability. 

When Patrick visited last weekend, we celebrated his first trip to Connecticut, and the lovely warm weather, with some friends and some cocktails in the back yard.  Quick and easy snacks, like these two African-inspired (but certainly not authentic) dips, along with a big pitcher of Jeff’s mango-rooibos rum punch, and we had ourselves a party!

south african recipe

I love chips and dips for parties.  Easy to grab, fun to munch on, and perfect for making in advance. This peppadew hummus couldn’t be easier to make. The hardest part may be finding peppadew peppers. Peppadews are a native South African pepper, bright red, and both sweet and hot at the same time. My local Whole Foods carries them (next to the olives), but in a pinch you might substitute pickled jalapenos. Peppadew hummus may not be traditional, but it always seemed to me that Cape Town’s cooks threw peppadews in just about everything, so why not hummus?

As for the Cape Malay curry dip, it’s even easier than the hummus.  The curry dip, though, is really best made in advance, so let the flavors develop overnight in the fridge. Just as I never saw peppadew hummus in South Africa, I never had a yogurt curry dip in Cape Town either.  But Cape Malay curry is one of my all-time favorite South African dishes.  The Cape Malay community in Cape Town dates back to the 17th Century and has its roots in Southeast Asia.  Centuries of fusion have resulted in  mild, sweet, and flavorful curries that smell like heaven. 

peppade hummus and cape malay curry dip

Peppadew Hummus

2 1/2 cups homemade or store-bought hummus (I like this basic recipe from Ina Garten)

1/4 cup chopped peppadew peppers

1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine the hummus and the peppers.  Drizzle with the oil and serve with chips, crackers or cut vegetables.

Mild Cape Malay Curry Dip

3 cups fat free plain Greek yogurt

1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

pinch of ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

In a medium-sized bowl stir together all ingredients until very well combined.  Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.  Serve garnished with some fresh herbs, if desired.

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Published in: on April 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm  Comments (8)  
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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This post makes me so happy! I spent 5 months in SA and have been longing to go back. Love the fusion (on top of the huge boiling pot of cuisines in SA already) of peppadews with hummus and the Cape Malay dip! I will definitely give these a try when I’m feeling extra nostalgic for SA.

    Missing the boerewors, rooibos and rusks all the time!

  2. this post is why i love food blogs – it’s always such an inspiration to read and see so much creativity, bringing together new flavor combinations and please do share the mango-rooibos punch recipe 🙂

  3. I’ve never had South African cuisine, your post makes me curious. The pepperdew and hummus combination looks delicious! The punch sounds amazing!

  4. Both of your dips sound terrific. I have a nice jar of hot red pepper dews and some refrigerated mild yellow ones just waiting for a recipe.

  5. These sound absolutely fantastic, Katie. 🙂 Your friend Patrick sounds like such a lovely fellow. And you must mean a lot to him since he sends you things that make you so happy. 🙂 I’m so glad you were able to hang out with him recently. 🙂

    • Thanks for the compliment! Katie is an amazing human being and I’m honoured to call her my friend. Patrick

  6. I have finally been able to enjoy cumin. My Indian friends toast theirs before adding it to a dish and it is more full flavored. Otherwise there is a sour sharpness to it that I find unacceptable. SA has some strong Indian influences, I am surprised that toasted cumin is not mentioned. Now cardamom – I could put it in almost anything :-).

  7. I love hummus!


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