Winter approaching. And with its imminence, the advent of the free greens season on the West Coast.
After the first autumn showers, the pioneering weed Chenopodium murale (muurhondebossie - cousin to quinoa) is already popping up in gardens and on empty plots everywhere - this year even earlier than the equally progressive Oxalis pes-caprae (langbeensuring).
Cold evenings and dewy mornings stir up my summer separation anxiety, and with it comes an instant nostalgia for sunny holidays in spicy locations with exotic dishes.
So I’ve given this year’s take on my traditional autumn staple of piekelvis a Zanzibari twist: chenopodium stuffed chapatis, fragrantly fiery with cumin and carom and mango powder.
On Leipoldt’s slightly off-beat recommendation, I serve it with a bokkom and egg sambal syncopated with onion and mint. With the addition of sweet-salty quince atchar, yoghurt and succulent soutslaai, bringing it all into harmony.
200g white bread flour
150g brown bread flour
60g salted butter
Pinch of snoeksout
A large bunch of Chenopodium murale leaves, washed and roughly chopped.
5ml carom seeds
5ml cumin seeds
5ml mango powder
Pinch of ground coriander
Pinch of crushed chilli
Pinch of snoeksout
Butter to serve
Combine the two flours in a mixing bowl. Melt the butter and add it to the flour. Add enough warm water to form a soft, pliable dough. Pinch off balls of dough and roll them out on a floured surface into flat rounds roughly the size of a side plate.
Combine the chopped Chenopodium leaves with the spices and salt. Place a handful on each dough round. Close it up by bringing the sides together in the middle to form a pouch. Pinch to seal. Roll out again.
Dry fry the stuffed rounds in a hot pan. Add a few drops of vegetable oil if it seems like sticking. Cook, turning frequently, until nicely browned on both sides. Melt butter over the still warm chapatis and serve immediately.