Utter the word waterblommetjie and one thing comes to mind: WATERBLOMMETJIEBREDIE! Now in season, these delicious little water flowers are indigenous to South Africa, specifically the Western Cape where it flourishes in dams and marches.
Our chef, Jerry Kennedy, explains that waterblommetjies have a scaly formation and must be washed before cooking, preferably soaked in salty water, to remove sand lodged within the scales as well as potential insects or snails.
He shares his traditional family recipe below, emphasising the secrets to the success of this dish being the pre-soaking of the flowers as well as the combination of butter and wine vinegar.
- 1½ to 2 kg lamb (neck, shin or shoulder), or 3 necks cut lengthways and then cut across once
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive or canola oil
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) butter
- 2 tsp meat rub (your favourite choice)
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 cup (250 ml) water
- 50 ml chicken stock liquid
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) wine vinegar
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 500 g waterblommetjies, soaked in salted water
- 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A few waterblommetjie blossoms or chopped parsley as garnish
- Steamed Basmati rice
- Brown the meat in oil and butter mixture in a large, heavy based saucepan. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and season with meat rub. Add onions to saucepan and sauté. Add water, chicken stock liquid, vinegar and garlic and bring to the boil. Return meat to the saucepan and simmer very slowly until tender, ± 1½ hours. Add waterblommetjies and potatoes. Simmer for about 20 minutes until vegetables are done. Add lemon juice and season to taste. Garnish with waterblommetjie blossoms or chopped parsley. Serve with steamed basmati rice.
Tip: Jerry recommends substituting waterblommetjies with green beans when unavailable.
Wondering how to get your hands on some waterblommetjies, now that they are in season? We recommend you check out Pure Boland’s artisanal produce boxes that brim with seasonal ingredients – we heard a whisper that waterblommetjies might feature in their boxes in July and August. Go to https://www.purebolandmarket.co.za/on-sale/ to find out more.