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An Ode To Karima Brown

Shane Stoffels pays tribute to the late Karima Brown by making tomato stew using her recipe.

I love me a good bredie. Gosh, those closest to me will say I just love food. Food and koek – knypkoek to be specific. And a kaaskoek, maar dan moet dit gebak en so kaal soos Lenore Combrink s’n wees. Sonder frills en allerhande going-onnens or toppings. Naked. Finish and klaar!

Maar mens kan nie van koek alleen lewe nie.

So, bredie was on the menu. Tomato bredie.

My daughter Abi loved this dish the first time I made it, having used chicken. Daai kind van my maak mos geluide soos sy eet as iets lekker is. And she couldn’t wait to tell her granny that Granny – who in my opinion makes the best rump steak in the world – has some serious competition. Ek dink die kind oordryf.

I believe that leaving well enough alone (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it) and looking at constant improvement are balancing acts. At the same time, I find myself often browsing and looking at recipes of dishes I love, and those I still need to try. And so, while browsing, I happened upon a friend’s posting about Karima’s tomato bredie recipe. Reading through it, one spice jumped out at me… as ek mos eers moet Google oor wat ’n spice is, is ek sommer moeg, ook as die lys van speserye net nie einde kry nie. But then I heard my ancestors – mimicking the voice of Sir Winston Churchill – ‘Google we must, and Google we shall!’

Karima remained true to her roots with this dish, but much like the international asset that she was, added twists, turns and techniques that elevated a dish so well-loved by many to the next level.

This is my second time following Karima’s recipe in which she uses lamb knuckle. I deviate slightly at one point, and while Karima does hers in the oven, mine is done in the slow cooker, much to Abi’s frustration, want die kind was koud en honger. Die vrou kook vir ’n hele nasie – meeste kere kook ek net vir een – so ek het maar afgeskaal. Die afskaal is nie die afwyking nie. Ek gooi bietjie rooi wyn by. En weereens het Abi ge-oeee en ge-aaaaa en ‘hmmmm Daddy, this is yummy!’

A friend one day said that ‘food, to us, is more than just eating, it is a spiritual experience’. If you disagree, just look at Fahiem Stellenboom. He takes me to church every time he cooks, and he is Muslim!

My friend, in reflecting on Karima’s dish, put it this way: ‘A true Cape Malay dish, the dish has a hint of chili garlic and ginger (which is the Malay influence).

With Karima’s addition of herbs, especially basil, it has an Italian feel to it. With the parsley and rosemary, it has a touch of European flavour and makes it a dish that is global and symbolic of our unity as humanity – something we have forgotten. The rice is finest Basmati, from Pakistan, and this simple meal comes together capturing a utopian vision of a world that’s heaven sent and has us putting aside our differences and embracing our diversity...’

Thank you, Karima! I am learning to cook like you. If only I can learn to plate like you. Maar ek het nie krag om ’n PhD in Platingology te doen nie.


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