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Pilchards (Sardines) Curry with Dombolo by Chef Nti

Pilchards Curry with Dombolo is the comfort food of Johannesburg, made with humble ingredients and packed with flavor. Pilchards Curry with Dombolo uses pilchards, also known as sardines, in a tomato curry stew with the softest flour dumplings.

Chef Nti loves to celebrate her heritage in everything she cooks, which is why she uses canned pilchards in this recipe, as they are very popular in Soweto, the township in Johannesburg where she grew up. Chef Nti has adapted this recipe to use more accessible ingredients and a much shorter cooking time, using a cheat method to make her dombolo, or flour dumplings. Make this dish for a quick weeknight meal that feeds the belly and the soul.

Serves 8

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

For the curry:

3 tbsp oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

2 tsp curry powder, (we use Chef Nti’s all purpose spice mix)

1 can chopped tomatoes

1 can Lucky Star Pilchards in Tomato Sauce, pilchards cleaned, deboned, and kept in halves, and set aside the sauce from the can

Salt and pepper, to taste

Handful of chopped parsley, for garnish

For the dumplings:

2 cups self-raising flour

2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

1⁄4 tsp salt

1 cup double cream plain yoghurt

  1. Heat oil in a large pot and fry onions and garlic until softened and translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened as well. Stir in the curry powder and fry until fragrant.

  2. Add the can of chopped tomatoes.

  3. Pour the pilchards and sauce from the tin into stew. Season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.

  4. Prep the dumpling dough while the curry is simmering.

  5. Stir the self-raising flour, parsley and a pinch of salt in a large bowl to combine.

  6. Add 1 cup of yoghurt and stir this into the flour mixture to form a dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface until soft and smooth.

  7. Divide the dough into 8 portions and roll into evenly-sized balls, using damp hands when working with dough to avoid it sticking.

  8. Place the dumpling balls on top of the stew and close the lid of the pot.

  9. Cook on medium to low heat, allowing the stew to simmer gently and the dumplings to steam for about 25 minutes, until the dough has puffed up and the dumplings are cooked through.

  10. Spoon some stew with a dumpling into a bowl, sprinkle over some freshly chopped parsley and enjoy!


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