Ledombolo or “dombolo” is one of the things I love most about going home. It reminds me of my childhood and Sunday lunches. Directly taken from the English word “dumpling” ledombolo is basically a South African dumpling.
Just like magwinya there are loads of various ways of doing it and some different names too according to how you make it (if you make it into balls and cook them in a stew for example or if you steam it in a dish). Before I get long emails telling me that I’m distorting recipes and heritage let me put it out the way…this is MY tweaked recipe for ledombolo. I grew up with it being steamed in a large dish and cooked a big loaf and then sliced for serving. You can do that if you like just make sure to keep checking it with a skewer to see if the middle is done. This recipe, however, is for the smaller kind that you cook by placing them in stews like the European way…
Its a recipe that involves yeast and flour. I’d like to recommend, once again, that you knead the dough for a while before allowing it to rise, this makes for a softer and more airy result. We grew eating ledomboli with stews and tripe but it can be eaten with anything saucy. I’d recommend oxtail stew, somehow the sweetness of the ledombolo works with the savoury flavour of oxtail.
NOTE: Get the stew or sauce going before starting
* 2,5kg cake (all-purpose) flour
* 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* Handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
* 1 cup (250ml) sugar
* A pinch of salt
* 7ml instant yeast
* Warm water
– Mix all the dry ingredients and cheese together
– Separately pour a cup of warm water into a jug and add the yeast to it and allow to foam.
– Now add the water and yeast mixture to the flour and then slowly add more warm water and mix (either with your hands or with a mixer that has a dough hook attached).
– Add the chopped parsley as you mix.
– Once the dough becomes a soft bread dough like consistency stop adding water and knead. If using a mixer mix until it starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl, if by hand knead for around 15mins.
– Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap brushed with oil. Prove until double in size
– Knock the dough back by punching it a few times by hand. If making a stew, roll into tennis ball sizes and place in the simmering stew or alternatively cook the ledombolo whole in a metal bowl inside a steamer (or oriental bamboo steam basket).
* The dumpling is ready when a toothpick pricked into it comes out clean.
Chef Lesego (@LesDaChef)