Fatima Sydow Cooks is filled with deliciousness and flavour – home cooking that is good for the soul.
Fatima Sydow Cooks is filled with deliciousness and flavour – home cooking that is good for the soul.

Cape Malay cooking queen’s new book Fatima Sydow Cooks is filled with some of her fondest food memories

By Kashiefa Ajam Time of article published Apr 10, 2021

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Johannesburg - Fatima Sydow is known as the Cape Malay cooking queen. In Fatima Sydow Cooks she is back, to share easy, accessible recipes, her fondest food memories and a few surprises.

The book is filled with deliciousness and flavour – home cooking that is good for the soul. Think mussel curry and freshly baked bread to mop up the creamy sauce, slow­braised short ribs that fall off the bone, a real ­deal masala steak sandwich, and an oxtail so hearty you’ll go back for seconds, and thirds.

With over 90 recipes, Fatima Sydow Cooks has you covered; from sauces, bakes, light meals, curries and hearty stews to puddings and something for the cookie jar.

A book for everyone, with a bit of Fatima magic and a few novel twists to some of the classics. After all, who else would turn a lamington into a cake, a roti into a curry pie, or a peppermint crisp tart into a strawberry delight?

About the author:

Author Fatima Sydow. Image supplied.

Fatima is a cook and former caterer. She loves people and uses her cooking to bring them together. Sydow’s Facebook page, where she shares her recipes, has gained her a massive following across the world. She and her twin sister Gadija have their own cooking show on Via, DSTV 147, called Kaap, kerrie & koesisters.

Here are three recipes from the book

Lemon pepper calamari



250 ml (1 cup) cake flour

125 ml (½ cup) cornflour

30 ml (2 tbsp) lemon zest, salt and pepper, to taste

500 g calamari rings

2 eggs, whisked

250 ml (1 cup) panko crumbs, oil, for frying

lemon wedges, to serve

When I was growing up, calamari was a treat that we would have just once or twice a year. It wasn’t a familiar ingredient and I only learned to cook with it in my twenties. The first time I tried, I fried it too long – but it is from our mistakes that we learn the most! These days I particularly love making this dish for a lunch or supper in the garden. A squeeze of lemon provides just the right balance for the tender calamari.


1.In a bowl, mix the flour, cornflour, lemon zest and salt and pepper together. Coat half the calamari rings with the flour mixture. Shake off the excess flour. Dip the calamari into the bowl with eggs, then dip into the bowl of panko crumbs.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan to almost hot. Fry the calamari for 1 minute only. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towel. Repeat with the other half of the calamari.

3. Serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

Creamy shrimp pasta Alfredo



250 g tagliatelle

45 ml (3 tbsp) butter

45 ml (3 tbsp) oil

500 g shrimps or prawns, shelled and deveined

5 ml (1 tsp) paprika

2.5 ml (½ tsp) crushed dried chilli

salt and pepper, to taste


45 ml (3 tbsp) butter

45 ml (3 tbsp) onions, finely chopped

2–3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

15 ml (1 tbsp) green chilli, finely chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

125 ml (½ cup) water

500 ml (2 cups) fresh cream

125 ml (½ cup) Parmesan cheese, grated

fresh basil, chopped, for garnishing

Pasta has always been a family favourite in our home, and finds its way into all kinds of different dishes. But my love and appreciation for it grew even more when I visited Europe in 1996 and 1997. I learned so much while I was there, including how to make the creamy Italian classic, pasta Alfredo.


1. Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package instructions. Set aside.

2. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the shrimps, paprika, chilli, and salt and pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove the shrimps from the pan and set aside.

3.For the sauce: In the same pan, combine the butter, onions, garlic, chilli, salt and pepper. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

4. Add the water and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the onions are cooked through.

5. Lower the heat and whisk in the fresh cream and Parmesan cheese.

6. Next, add the pasta and shrimps. Remove from the heat and toss the pasta a few times, to coat with the sauce. Garnish with fresh basil and serve immediately.

Banana fritters



1 egg

250 ml (1 cup) milk

15 ml (1 tbsp) butter, melted

15 ml (1 tbsp) sugar

10 ml (2 tsp) vanilla essence

2 medium bananas, chopped

250 ml (1 cup) cake flour

5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder, pinch of salt, oil, for frying

cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling

In Cape Town, an exchange of Ramadan treats happens every night before the break of fast. One evening when I took some cakes to our neighbour, Aunty Fatima Bobbs, she ushered me into her beautiful kitchen and in return filled my plate with golden, light and dreamy banana fritters. Nowadays when I make them, they always make me think of Aunty Fatima. I hope mine are perfection, just like hers.


1. In a mixing bowl, combine the egg, milk, butter, sugar and vanilla essence. Add half the banana and use a whisk to mash the pieces into the batter.

2. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix thoroughly with a spatula. Add the remaining banana pieces and stir until coated with batter.

3. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick pan over medium heat. Carefully place spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil and fry until brown. Flip the fritters and continue to brown. Remove the fritters from the oil and drain on paper towel.

4. Sprinkle over cinnamon sugar and serve while warm.

* Fatima Sydow Cooks is published by Human & Rousseau, which is an imprint of NB Publishers, and retails at R360.

The Saturday Star

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