Chef Dion Vengatass from the SA Culinary Olympic Team, uses South African cuisine as his inspiration for this dish. Chef Dion says: “I love being able to embrace the various cultures and ethnic groups that have influenced what we today call South African food. My culture basically made me who I am today as a chef, the way I cook and the way I think of food. My passion for simple ingredients is all founded on my cultural background.”

The South African Culinary Olympic squad – our Springbok chefs – will be taking part in the 2020 IKA Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart, Germany. Follow the South African Culinary Olympic Team on Twitter (@CulinaryTeamSA) or keep up to date with all the Olympic squad action on Facebook (@CulinaryTeamSA).

Kale Pakora (Serves 6)


100g kale, washed
600g chickpea flour
300g corn flour
50g baking powder
50g paprika
50g ground cumin
50g ground coriander
50g fine chilli powder
40g chopped fresh coriander
60g grated ginger
60g grated garlic
50g green chopped finely
40g curry leaves chopped
800ml soda water


  • Place all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Whisk the soda water gradually in a steady stream into the dry ingredients until a thick batter consistency is formed.
  • Fold in the rest of the ingredients and season to taste.
  • Allow the batter to rest for an hour before using.
  • Coat the kale in the batter and deep fry at 180°C for 30 seconds on each side until golden brown and crispy.
  • Season with salt as soon as the pakora come out of the fryer.
  • Keep warm.

Vade (Serves 6)


5g coriander seeds
5g cumin seeds
2g fennel seeds
500g brown lentils, soaked for 24hrs in water
50g ginger, peeled
70g garlic, peeled
5g curry leaves
30g green chilli, de-seeded
2g black pepper, freshly ground
10g salt
4g smoked paprika
50g red onion, diced
10g fresh coriander, chiffonade
zest and juice of 1 large lemon


  • In a small skillet toast the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds over a medium heat.
  • Carefully toast the spices until all the oils and aromas are release, roughly 1 minute.
  • Place the spices into a food processor and pulse until coarse, transfer the spices to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  • In the same food processor (no need to wash it) add the soaked lentils and pulse until it all comes together into a coarse pasty mix.
  • Remove the pulsed lentils and add to the mixing bowl with the spices.
  • In the same food processor (unwashed) add the ginger, garlic, curry leaves and green chilli.
  • Blend until smooth and add to the rest of the ingredients in the mixing bowl.
  • You can now clean the food processor.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and combine well.
  • Deep fry 40g portions at 180°C until golden brown and delicious. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Cracked chickpeas (Serves 6)


250g chickpeas
10g salt
2g paprika
3g ground cumin
3g ground coriander
1 bay leaf
1 green chilli, slit in half lengthways


  • Soak the chick peas in water over night.
  • Remove from water and place in medium pot with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Cover with water and boil until just cooked.
  • Remove from water and allow to cool, discard the bay leaf and chilli.
  • Place in a vacuum bag when cold and crush with a mallet.

Serve all three dishes as a starter.



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