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Fatima Sydow cooks up a stylish new cookbook



Fatima Sydow cooks up a stylish new cookbook

Sago pudding from Fatima Sydow Cooks, published by Human & Rousseau. (Photo: Henk Hattingh)

Fatima Sydow, the Cape cook and host of the TV show Kaap, Kerrie en Koesisters with her sister Gadija, has published a new book, Fatima Sydow Cooks (Human & Rousseau). We selected recipes to share with TGIFood readers.


See Fatima Sydow’s recipe for her kingklip with honey, chilli and lemon sauce here

Fatima Sydow’s slow-braised short ribs from her book, Fatima Sydow Cooks (Human & Rousseau). (Photo: Henk Hattingh)

Slow-braised short ribs

Low and slow cooking is the order of the day with this delicious dish. It results in butter-soft, fall-off-the-bone meat. When I served this as the main course at a dinner party, my friends all asked why I bothered with utensils… These ribs are a little sticky, a little salty, a little sweet and a lot of “just right”.


2 kg short ribs

salt, to taste

60 ml (¼ cup) oil

2 onions, chopped

30 ml (2 tbsp) ginger, chopped 

8 cloves garlic, peeled

60 ml (¼ cup) brown sugar

125 ml (½ cup) soy sauce

30 ml (2 tbsp) dark soy sauce

30 ml (2 tbsp) brown vinegar 


Place the ribs on a tray and season with salt on all sides. In a large pot, heat the oil until very hot, then place half the short ribs in the pot. 

Brown the meat on all sides, which will ensure a deep, rich flavour. Remove the short ribs from the pot and set aside. Repeat this process with the remaining short ribs. Next, to the same pot, add the onions, ginger and garlic and fry until the onions are golden brown. Return the ribs to the pot. Add 750 ml (3 cups) hot water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium, close the pot with the lid and allow to cook slowly. 

After an hour, the water will have almost cooked away, so add another 500 ml (2 cups) hot water, the brown sugar, soy sauce, dark soy sauce and vinegar and cook for another 3 hours, adding a little water when necessary. Serve with roasted vegetables, or mashed potatoes or thin, crispy fries.


Instead of water you can add beef stock.

For extra texture, sprinkle over roasted sesame seeds before serving.


Sago pudding

I can never make just one of this favourite winter warmer, because when the news gets out, family and friends are soon knocking on the door with a takeaway bakkie at the ready. On one occasion, a friend even shouted through the window: “Gie a bietjie liefde, kanala!” (‘Give a little love, please!’) as she held out her container to me. I gladly filled it up… with love.

(Serves 10)


1 litre milk

250 ml (1 cup) sago, soaked in water until doubled in size

2 cinnamon sticks

2 pinches of ground cardamom (optional)

15 ml (1 tbsp) custard powder

60 ml (¼ cup) milk

250 ml (1 cup) sugar

10 ml (2 tsp) vanilla essence

4 extra-large eggs, whisked 

Butter, a few knobs

Cinnamon sugar

250 ml (1 cup) sugar

15 ml (1 tbsp) ground cinnamon 


In a pot on medium heat, heat the 1 litre milk to just below boiling point, add the drained sago, cinnamon sticks and ground cardamom, if using, and stir. Mix the custard powder with the 60 ml milk. Stir into the hot milk mixture with the sugar and cook until the mixture is translucent and thick. Cool to room temperature and remove the cinnamon sticks.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (static oven) or 160°C (fan oven). Prepare the cinnamon sugar by mixing together the sugar and ground cinnamon, and set aside. Next, add the vanilla essence and eggs to the cooled milk mixture and stir until well combined. 

Pour the batter into a greased deep oven baking tray and add a few knobs of butter. Sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar and bake for 45 minutes.


If you prefer a thicker pudding, add an extra tablespoon of custard powder mixed with cold milk.

Don’t add the eggs to a warm milk mixture or they will turn into scrambled eggs. DM/TGIFood



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