Nthabiseng Ramaboa, known as Chef Nti has become one of the go-to food connoisseurs in South Africa. Photo: Matthews Baloyi
Nthabiseng Ramaboa, known as Chef Nti has become one of the go-to food connoisseurs in South Africa. Photo: Matthews Baloyi

Chef Nti's tips on how to make the most of lockdown cooking

By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi Time of article published Apr 20, 2020

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Nthabiseng Ramaboa, known as Chef Nti, has become one of the go-to food connoisseurs in South Africa.

And after releasing her cook book last year, My Modern African Kitchen she's been able to become a fully fledged celebrity chef.

During lockdown Nti has been sharing recipes with her follows on social media to help them cook up a storm in their own home .

Participating in the #dontrushchallenge, which saw some of South Africa's celebrity chefs take part in the popular lockdown inspired challenge, Nti made  noodles in broth. 

Many of her followers praised her for showing off the versatility of noodles. 

We chatted with the chef to talk about being the kitchen during the lockdown and how to have fun while cooking up a storm.

For those who are cooking for the first time- what tips can you give them that will help them keep trying until they get it right?

Get a recipe, go through it, read it well and understand what the author wants you to do. Get cook books to guide you and work with what you have in your pantry. I have 10 pages in my book that share practical recipes. Make sure you follow nice and easy recipes all the time.   

What kind of recipes do you think are most suitable for lockdown cooking?

I don’t think we should be focusing on what recipes are suitable. There are challenges that come with lockdown, such as loss of income. So, people should be working with what they have which is everyday ingredients. Be creative and feel free to substitute some of the ingredients that you don’t have or can’t find.  

Do you have any words you would like to say to restaurateurs and waiters who are currently not able to work?

These are thought times, personally, I’m experiencing this. Suddenly a source of income has been canceled. Other people have suddenly found themselves without employment.  Take heart, let's ride the wave. The most important thing is we are healthy and we have our lives. Take it one step at a time. You are not going through this alone, the whole country and world is with you. It’s not easy and it can be overwhelming, but you are not alone. Focus on your comeback-people are looking forward to going out and eating fancy food again.

So when the lock down is over- what’s the food you think we should cook to celebrate our ‘freedom’? 

I want  lobster, crab and all the exotic food I cannot find at my local supermarket. I want  to go back to my favourite Mediterranean restaurant and order the most delicious crab pasta and other delicious things I can not have here at home.

Here is a recipe you can try from Chef Nti.

Seafood Samp Paella (Serves 4)
Nthabiseng Ramaboa, known as Chef Nti has become one of the go-to food connoisseurs in South Africa. Here is an image of her African spin on paella- Seafood samp paella
PICTURE: CRAIG FRASER
Ingredients

2 cups samp, soaked overnight
8 cups water
3 tbsp butter 
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 large brown mushrooms,sliced
1 green pepper, diced3 tbsp oil
12 medium prawns, peeledand cleaned
200g calamari rings200g hake steaks (or anyfirm-fleshed fish)12 cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper

Method

Cook the samp in salted boiling water until cooked through and very soft (about 2 hours). 
Keep replenishing the water so that the sampdoes not burn.In a large, heavy-based frying pan or wok, melt the butter, add the onion and garlic, and sauté until transparent.Add the mushrooms and green pepper. 
Cook until soft.In another frying pan, heat the oil and add the prawns, calamari and hake. Fry gently until cooked, about 10 minutes.Add the seafood to the vegetable mixture and toss lightly.
Add the cooked samp and cherry tomatoes, and mix carefully.Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve warm.
For added colour and flavour, add 1 tbsp tomato paste to the pan in step 2.

Chef Nti - My Modern African Kitchen

Chef Nti - My Modern African Kitchen is available on Loot.co.za. Click here to purchase

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