A deliciously spicy South African finger food or snack, often served as an accompaniment to curries or together with samoosas at a braaivleis or finger foods at events. This version was introduced to South Africa by the people who became known as the Cape Malays:-
As with much Cape Malay cooking, recipes for Dhaltjies or Chilli Bites show tremendous variation in particular with the type and quantity of spices used.
Cape Malay Dhaltjies
aka Chilli Bites
Some of this variation actually comes from where on the Cape Peninsula the recipe originated. This is because the availability of spices varied by distance from the harbour.
In the case of Chilli Bites the quantities and types of flours and spices vary as do the amounts and type of chillies used.
Also sometimes texture and colours, of the dhaltjies are varied by substituting sweetcorn kernels for the spinach and/or by adding grated potato.
Chilli Bites Ingredients
½ bunch spinach leaves
1 sm green apple
2 cups (500ml) pea flour
½ cup (125ml) cake flour
2 tsp (10ml) crushed dried chillies
½ tsp (2.5ml) red masala
1 tsp (5ml) salt
1 tsp (5ml) turmeric
1 tsp (5ml) ground coriander
1 tsp (5ml) ground cumin
1 tsp (5ml) baking powder
2 cups (500ml) sunflower oil
To make the Dhaltjies
Grate or chop the onion very finely
Core and grate the apple
Shred the spinach leaves into small pieces
Sift the pea and cake flours into a large bowl
Add all the other ingredients excepting the sunflower oil and baking powder
Add enough water to make a thick batter. It must not be runny
Heat the oil in a deep frying pan until fairly, but not excessively, hot
Stir the baking powder into the batter just before frying
Using a tablespoon drop the batter into the oil and fry slowly until golden brown. [ensure your oil doesn't get too hot, otherwise your chilli bites will burn]
Test by piercing with a skewer. If it comes out dry your chilli bites are ready
Remove from the heat and drain on absorbent paper [kitchen towel] or in a colander if you possess one.
Serve your chilli bites warm
This Cape Malay Chilli Bites recipe should make about 30 dhaltjies
Tip: To add colour to your dhaltjies you can divide the dry mixture in two and add a finely chopped slice of red pepper to one half. Then proceed by making two lots of batter
As with so much of Cape Malay cooking, dhaltjies have become a part of everyday South African life
Chilli Bites are especially evident as finger snacks at your typical South African braai or cocktail party..
Time, Servings and Nutritional ValuesPreparation:- 25 minutes
Cooking:- 15 minutes
Total:- 40 minutes
Yield:- 30 Dahltjies of approximately 30g each
Serving size 1 Chilli Bite
100 Total calories,
Fat content:- 4.8g of which trans fat 0.0g
Carbohydrate 11.8g of which Dietary fibre = 2.8g sugars = 2.5g
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Date Published 14th
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My Cape Malay Kitchen is a relatively new release which has immediately claimed a prominent place amongst my favourite recipe books. If you are interested in Cape Malay cooking, culture and life, I strongly recommend this excellent book, which will provide many delightful meals and insights into a loving daughter's relationship with an ill father
Faldela Williams is a renowned Cape Malay cook and her The Cape Malay Illustrated Cookbook provides comprehensive and easy to follow instructions for many delicious traditional Cape Malay recipes.
Moving to the broader sphere of South African Cuisine I have included Traditional South African Cooking by Magdaleen van Wyk and Pat Barton, a South African recipe book deserving of inclusion in the arsenal of any cook wishing to create a wide range of delectable South African meals.