How to make authentic Cape Malay bredie

Vegetables for Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie

One of the many Cape Malay recipes that has become popular and a favorite among all South Africans is a traditional Cape Malay bredie.

A bredie is a simple slow cooked meat and vegetable stew that is a staple on many a dinner table during cold wet winters in the Cape. There are countless variations and each family has their own favorite.

In our family the favorite bredie recipe is without a doubt this Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie. Cauliflower (blomkool) bredie, Oxtail and tomato bredie and Green Bean bredie are very close runners up. The nourishing bredies are traditionally served with fluffy and fragrant long grain white or basmati rice and a lightly pickled onion and tomato or cucumber salad.

Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie

Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie

Types of Cape Malay bredie

A typical Cape Malay bredie starts with caramelised onions to which lamb, beef or chicken is added and braised slowly until tender and rich brown in color. To this magical mix you may add different combinations of fresh vegetables or cooked dried pulses.

The variations of Cape Malay bredie recipes made with lamb, beef or chicken as the main protein base plus any of the following vegetables, pulses and legumes include:

  • Suikerboontjie bredie – with pre-cooked dried half white sugar beans
  • Botterboontjie bredie – with pre-cooked dried or canned butter beans
  • Blomkool bredie – with cauliflower and potato
  • Kopkool bredie – with cabbage and potato
  • Tamatie bredie – with fresh ripe tomatoes and potatoes
  • Worteltjies en ertjies bredie – with carrots, peas and potatoes
  • Snyboontjie bredie – with green beans and potatoes
  • Pampoenkos bredie – with pumpkin or butternut squash
  • Lense bredie – with lentils
  • Sago bredie – with sago pearls and potatoes

Tips to make the best ever Cape Malay bredie

  • Caramelize the onions until they are dark golden brown but not burnt, to give a depth of flavor and sweetness. This will add layers of flavor to the bredie that are absent when the onions are not caramelised well. If you are unsure of how to go about it then my How to make Caramelised Onions like a Pro will be a great help.
  • Brown the meat with the onions to add color to the meat as well as intensify the flavor.
  • Use meat on the bone for added flavor. The best cuts of lamb for slow cooking in bredies are lamb knuckles, neck, thick ribs or oxtail and they are excellent cheaper cuts suitable for the slow cooking of bredies. Don’t bother using lamb chops as they will break down too quickly.
  • You may also use chicken if you prefer to cut down on red meat.
  • Do not add water, except to stop the bredie catching on the bottom of the pot. Slow cooking with the lid closed will create it’s own liquid and moisture and concentrate the flavour.
  • When cooking soaked dried beans, do not add salt to the beans when boiling them as it will cause the beans to toughen. Adding half a teaspoon bicarbonate of soda to the soaking water creates an alkaline environment that assists in softening the beans and reducing the sugars that cause flatulence.
  • Do not add potatoes to sugar beans, lentils, butternut or pumpkin bredie.
  • Use salt, coarsely ground black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves or allspice for aromatics.
  • Use floury potatoes for any other vegetable bredies like cabbage, cauliflower, green bean, tomato, sago or carrots and peas bredie.

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  • Reply
    Filip Ambroziak
    October 20, 2018 at 2:15 am

    Oh wow this looks amazing! I don’t think I would be able to make it as good as you do thou…wish I can sample it.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      October 21, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      Thank you. It really is so easy and requires more patience than fancy cooking techniques to deliver a great tasting dish.

  • Reply
    October 20, 2018 at 1:59 am

    I have never heard of this dish. It surely sounds and looks very delicious, I’m a vegetarian so I think I’ll have to try it without meat. Thanks for sharing though!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      October 21, 2018 at 2:41 pm

      You are most welcome. PS – These stews taste delicious with or without meat.

  • Reply
    Elle (CleverlyChanging)
    October 18, 2018 at 7:09 am

    Personally, I don’t eat meat, but the overall recipe sounds like something I can make into a vegetarian dish. The fresh veggie additions in the recipe sound yummy!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      October 18, 2018 at 10:23 pm

      A bredie is nothing without the vegetables 🙂 In the early days when meat was very expensive they used it sparingly for flavor more than anything and the vegetables made up the bulk of the dish.

  • Reply
    Ron Leyba
    October 18, 2018 at 5:49 am

    Nice recipe. Wish you posted an image or two of it. Sounds really delicious!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      October 18, 2018 at 10:21 pm

      Thanks for the heads up Ron! I didn’t realize that my changes did not save when I added the images the other day.

  • Reply
    melissa cushing
    October 17, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Oohhh… this sound like a delicious meal for sure and just perfect for this time of year as it is a stick to your ribs kind of dish. I would love to give it a try and all varieties sound delicious although I have never eaten Oxtail. 🙂

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      October 18, 2018 at 10:20 pm

      Oxtail requires slow cooking to get it really tender but it is truly the worth the wait for the end result if you are a meat lover.

  • Reply
    Monidipa Dutta
    October 17, 2018 at 4:42 am

    Yummy. They look really tasty. I would love to give it a try.

  • Reply
    Jesusa Gilliam
    October 17, 2018 at 4:00 am

    This sounds so good! I agree when the weather gets cold, I like a nice stew to enjoy for lunch and dinner. I love eating the leftovers for dinner. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      October 18, 2018 at 10:18 pm

      You are most welcome Jesus. I seem to crave soups and stews as soon the temperature starts to dip at the start of autumn and have been itching to make these comforting bredies.

  • Reply
    October 16, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    The cauliflower and potato variation must be delicious! I didn’t know about this typical dish, thank you for sharing

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      October 16, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      On my last visit to Cape Town we had it for dinner one night and it was so good I was already imagining having the leftovers for lunch the next day. The seasoning in the cauliflower and potato bredie is only garlic, salt, pepper and chilis if you like some heat yet it’s like a bit of magic in your mouth.

  • Reply
    Alice Ainsworth
    October 16, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    I love this post! I’ve been wanting to try out something new and this seems perfect!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      October 16, 2018 at 9:18 pm

      When the weather gets cooler there is nothing as delicious and comforting as a simple meat and veg bredie.

  • Reply
    Daphne Berg
    October 16, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    This sounds delicious! I’ll make sure to try it! Thanks for posting!

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