These Daltjies or Spinach and sweet corn fritters are a made from scratch and are a delicious and easy to make Cape Malay appetiser, crispy on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside.
Cape Malay Daltjies or Chilli bites are made with chickpea flour and are a ubiquitous Cape Malay savory appetiser found on the tables of most homes during Ramadhan or for a quick snack.
In Cape Malay homes daltjies are usually eaten at the time of breaking the fast with mushroom soup, red lentil soup, boeber or falooda milkshake and is one of my favourite Ramadhan treats since childhood.
My favourite daltjie recipes during childhood were those made by my father’s sister Gadija and his niece Faieka. I was never able to master either of their recipes, to my great disappointment.
In more recent times my favorite daltjie was from our neighbor Aunty Faldeela. When she was pregnant during Ramadhan with her daughter (nearly 30 years ago now), she was too tired to make fancy things like she used to in previous years. So every night she made daltjies. After two weeks she apologised for sending the same thing every night when Katriena passed the plate over the back wall. Katriena laughingly told her that it was the one thing I looked forward to every night at iftar. So from that day she made daltjies every single night during every Ramadan when I was still in Cape Town. This is the closest I came to her texture and when her daughter sent me her mother’s actual recipe I saw that it was very close except for the oil and sugar that I have included here as optional.
A few years ago my mother’s friend gave me a tip that transformed my daltjies from boring to sublime. She suggested that I use her easy chilli bites recipe consisting of a popular pre-packaged chilli bites mix with sweet corn kernels added in. It resulted in the most delightful flavour combination, and one I have tried to recreate here without using any pre-pack mix.
Cape Malay daltjies are very similar to Indian vegetarian snacks like a vegetable bhajia recipe or corn pakoda and is a twist on a palak corn recipe. My later father enjoyed his crispy spinach fritters if they were made with big pieces of spinach leaf dipped into the daltjie batter and shallow fried.
Daltjies are delicious at iftar served with soup or boeber.
For other recipes for Ramadan snacks you can check our Ramadhan recipes or click on the links below.
- Vegan Red Lentil soup
- Falooda milkshake
- Cape Malay Pancakes (pannekoek recipe)
- South African Flapjacks pancakes
Cape Malay Daltjies (Chilli bites)
- 100 grams chickpea flour approximately 250 ml or 1 cup
- 140 grams cake or fine sponge flour approximately 250 ml or 1 cup
- 10 ml baking powder approximately 2 level teaspoons
- 2.5 ml salt adjust as required
- 7.5 ml ground cumin approximately 1 1/2 teaspoon
- 5 ml ground coriander approximately 1 teaspoon
- 2.5 ml turmeric powder approximately 1/2 teaspoon
- 1 small red onion finely grated (approximately 40 grams)
- 1 small carrot finely grated (approximately 40 grams)
- 50 grams chopped spinach approximately 250 ml or 1 cup
- 125 ml sweet corn kernels approximately 1/2 cup
- 1 chopped green chilli use 2 for spicy
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves and stalks
- 1 clove garlic finely grated
- 1 egg plus water to make 200 ml liquid.
- 5 ml olive oil approximately 1 teaspoon
- 5 ml sugar approximately 1 teaspoon
- 750 ml Sunflower Oil, for deep frying use as much as required to deep fry in your pot
- Coriander micro-greens
- In a clean medium sized bowl sift the chickpea flour, cake flour and salt.
- Add the ground cumin, ground coriander and turmeric and combine with a whisk.
- In another bowl grate the garlic, onion and carrot and add the chopped spinach, corn kernels and chilli and stir to mix through.
- Finely chop the coriander leaves and stalks and add to the other vegetables.
- Toss the vegetables into the chickpea flour and then add the egg and water mixture. If using add the sugar and oil too.
- Stir to combine thoroughly and leave to rest for at least 20 minutes before frying.
- At this point you can add the optional teaspoon olive oil and sugar and mix it through.
- Let the batter rest for 10 minutes. The batter may seem thick at first but will loosen up while it rests as the vegetables start releasing their liquid.
- Add the baking powder just before frying and mix through thoroughly before frying off tablespoon fulls of batter in oil at least 5 cm deep.
- Fry until golden brown and check that they are evenly cooked before removing with a slotted spoon.
- Drain on kitchen paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
- Garnish with coriander micro-greens (or chopped coriander) and serve hot.
- All spices are not equal so check the flavor and taste of the batter and add more spices and seasoning where required.
- If you want it a bit spicier, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder.
- If you don't have spinach, then kale or swiss chard may be used instead.
- I used a small ice cream scoop to obtain even sized balls.
- The balls will roll over when they are cooked on the one side.
- Nutrition: I have estimated 5ml sunflower oil per daltjie even though if cooked at the right temperature the batter does not absorb much oil.
Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.
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This recipe was first published on 05/06/2016 has since been updated.
Kitchenhutt Spices - kashmiri chilli powderMay 4, 2023 at 1:17 pm
What an exquisite article! Your post is very helpful right now. Thank you for sharing this informative one….
Bintu - Recipes From A PantryJuly 22, 2016 at 12:25 am
I bet these are lovely freshly cooked with a dip. Yum
Razena SchroederJuly 22, 2016 at 10:44 pm
Actually it’s such a wonderfully moist and flavourful fritter that it doesn’t even need any dip. If you need one something sweet and spicy would be good 🙂
RazinaJune 21, 2016 at 10:40 am
love fritters for my iftar, this one looks delicious
Razena SchroederJune 21, 2016 at 1:54 pm
Me too 🙁 I think the fried food is even more appealing to us when we are fasting, like a quick fix for all the cravings.
FareehaJune 21, 2016 at 9:55 am
Wow, the fritters looks so amazing. I am always amazed how our cuisines have some similarities yet are so unique in their own way. I am loving all the combo in this and simply can’t wait to try it out
Razena SchroederJune 21, 2016 at 9:39 pm
Thanks for the kind words. I suspect the similarities are due to the cultural melting pot that is Cape Town… Malay / Dutch / British / French / Indian influences abound 🙂
Cape Malay cuisine has evolved to be completely different from the original Malay / Indonesian cuisine, and has adapted to the regionally available produce and tastes.
SherienJune 21, 2016 at 7:17 am
I am always in search of new ideas for making fritters…. Thanks for sharing
Razena SchroederJune 21, 2016 at 9:13 am
You are most welcome 🙂 I hope you like them.
Coffee and CrumpetsJune 21, 2016 at 4:10 am
Oh, these look wonderful! I haven’t made any fried stuff iftar this Ramadan but these might be the game changer! I love spinach pakora which I make all the time, but these with the corn and a heavier fritter is definitely something I love. Thanks for the inspiration and Ramdan Kareem!
Razena SchroederJune 21, 2016 at 9:12 am
A blessed Ramadan to you too in shaa ALLAH. This was the only fried iftar snack I made this Ramadan and it happens to be my favorite, so I may just make it again 🙂
TasneemJune 21, 2016 at 12:21 am
This is exactly like the pakoras we make but we don’t add cake flour and egg in the batter. So lovely to see rhat your Cape Malay recipes and Indian recipes have so many resemblances – processes and ingredients in common.
Razena SchroederJune 21, 2016 at 9:07 am
The cooking of the Cape Malay community has various influences resulting from the mélange of people who originally settled there. Although there are many dishes that share typically South Asian ingredients, I noticed that they are often prepared in a completely different style and bear only a passing resemblance to the original.
Here and there the names may even be similar to dishes from the Malay / Indonesian archipelago, yet the execution is completely different having taken into account that the same tropical ingredients were not available to our local communities.
The closest thing that I recall to the pakodas I’ve eaten in Dubai are the spinach daltjies that our neighbour used to make during Ramadan. It was basically a piece of spinach leaf (not baby spinach) dipped into the daltjie batter and shallow fried. My father loved those more than the traditional daltjies as they were less bulky and more crunchy.
ShaziaJune 20, 2016 at 12:20 pm
Fritters are all time favourite of mine!Spinach and corn sounds great…Looking delicious Razina!?
Razena SchroederJune 21, 2016 at 8:58 am
I’m such a fritter nut too! The combination of spinach and corn is definitely a winner for me 🙂
RashidaJune 20, 2016 at 12:02 pm
Definitely I’ve missed this blog during my blog hop days. Mash Allah, nice recipes with clear instructions & beautiful pictures…I’m going to visit you more often
We never used baking powder in fritters instead used baking soda…if I replace powder with baking soda is that going to make a huge difference?
Razena SchroederJune 21, 2016 at 8:57 am
Wa alaykum salaam wa rahmatullah Rashida, it is great to finally have you visit 🙂 I’ve never used baking soda in the daltjies but from what I cant tell baking soda is much more potent than baking powder and you will probably require less. Let me know how it turns out if you make the substitution.
RashidaJune 21, 2016 at 10:46 am
Definitely will update you.
Asiya SubaniJune 20, 2016 at 11:10 am
A perfect iftar recipe and they are quite tempting…
Razena SchroederJune 21, 2016 at 8:55 am
Thanks Asiya. These are probably my all time favorite iftar snack 🙂
Rafeeda@The Big Sweet ToothJune 20, 2016 at 10:59 am
These sound like pakodas! With so much going in… I love how round and beautiful these look, normally our pakodas are so off shape even though they taste good, hehe… I would love these with a hot cup of chai… 🙂
Razena SchroederJune 21, 2016 at 8:54 am
I’ve tasted pakodas and although the daltjies share similar traits of chickpea flour, spices and vegetables they are more substantial and less oily. The daltjies are great with a cup of hot boeber 🙂
Jackie GarvinJune 12, 2016 at 11:29 pm
I’m always up for fritters! These look divine.
Razena SchroederJune 13, 2016 at 9:01 am
Thanks Jackie. I love fritters too 🙂
Emma @ Supper in the SuburbsJune 12, 2016 at 10:50 pm
Oh I do love a good fritter 😛 can’t say I’ve ever used spinach or corn in one though! Great idea!
Razena SchroederJune 12, 2016 at 11:25 pm
They are great, and the combination of spinach and corn is a winner 🙂
DianaJune 12, 2016 at 9:50 pm
These look like wonderful vegan appetisers! I’d say perfect for suhoor! Ramadan Kareem!
Razena SchroederJune 12, 2016 at 11:25 pm
Thank you 🙂 We tend to have them for Iftar or breaking the fast with soup or boeber… although I must admit that I have had leftovers for suhoor on more than a few occasions 🙂
sue | theviewfromgreatislandJune 12, 2016 at 7:40 pm
These sound delicious, a little bit like the pakorah that I love in Indian restaurants!
Razena SchroederJune 12, 2016 at 11:23 pm
They’re a little bit more substantial than pakoras but have similar flavourings.
Azlin BloorJune 12, 2016 at 6:34 pm
Hi Razena, I love Cape Malay food as I have a friend here who occasionally cooks it when she has a party! These fritters are going on to my to-do list, I can’t wait to make them for Iftar in the coming week!
Razena SchroederJune 12, 2016 at 6:37 pm
That’s great to hear. In shaa ALLAH you love it as much as I do, and hope you come back and let me know what you think 🙂
Lisa H. | Lisa's Lemony KitchenJune 11, 2016 at 3:33 am
What caught my eye was… the word ‘cape malay’.
I am from Malaysia (now residing in Australia) and of mix heritage (Indian-Thai-Chinese) but I consider myself as Malay, brought up as one, speak like one and have Malay food running amok in vein ;P.
I read about Cape Malay more than a decade ago, when local newspaper (Malaysia) wrote about Cape Malays. It was an interesting read.
What excite me is that I could now have the inside of Cape Malay lifestyle, food from your blog. Am definitely following your culinary journey.
Those fritters sure looks inviting 😀
Razena SchroederJune 11, 2016 at 1:18 pm
Wa alaykum salaam wa rahmatullah. We are a strange mix, the Cape Malays, and our food and customs are probably unlike any found anywhere else 🙂 In shaa ALLAH you will find something familiar here 🙂
NammiJune 6, 2016 at 10:36 am
Yummm i love fritters like these to break the fast.
Razena SchroederJune 7, 2016 at 4:09 pm
I love them too, delicious with a bowl of soup or boeber 🙂