One of my favourite things to watch growing up were cooking shows, including Jamie Oliver and Nigella. Every Sunday afternoon on SABC 3 I would cross my legs in front of my grandmother’s boxy TV, remote in hand, as a microphone repeating what Jamie & Nigella said. I could only make tea and scrambled eggs, but whenever I did it, it would be a show! There I’d be walking around the kitchen showing “my audience” how to make a cup of tea.
Fast ward to my matric, when I applied to a culinary arts program at the International Hotel School. One of the requirements was an interview where I had to share a family recipe and how I made it special. I chose my grandmother’s Jeqe (steam bread) recipe. It was a simple old-school recipe which I tried to modernise. I added a few new ingredients. I was worried that they would not like it because I’d completely changed what was supposed to be a simple traditional meal. I was so thrilled that the recipe was accepted and got me admitted to the programme. Here it is below. Enjoy!
1 ½ Cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
½ Teaspoon salt
1 ½ Teaspoon yeast
1 spoonful each of Mixed herbs and Origanum
2 Grated carrots
½ a red and yellow pepper, diced.
250g Garlic butter
1 cup of lukewarm water
Mix, flour, salt, sugar, yeast, herbs, and origanum together. Add the carrots and peppers.
Rub garlic butter into the mixture.
Add enough lukewarm water to the flour mixture to form a soft dough. Add about 20 – 30 ml extra water, should it be necessary. The dough must not be too stiff.
Knead the dough for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Cover with greased plastic and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
Once rested, knock down the dough.
Place dough into a greased pan.
Prepare a pot of boiling water and place greased pan with dough inside and cover with a lid until cooked.
Carefully lift the pan from the pot and place onto a cooling rack. Allow it to stand for 5 minutes, then loosen the sides with a butter knife, pulling it away gently from the side of the pan. Turn out onto a cooling rack. Once cooled, slice and serve with a delicious hearty stew.
Tell us: Do you like Jeqe and who in your family makes it best?