Hugo Uys’ bio pic by Karl Simone
By Naveen Duwadi
Each month, Chef Hugo dives into the best of the ever-changing NYC food scene, offering up his top 5 restaurant discoveries. Going along for the ride, he’ll interview a noted South African celebrity, getting to know them over a great food and delicious conversation. Want to eat and drink like a New Yorker? Keep your eyes on this page.
[The Guests] In Conversation with Ismail & Candice Abrahams
Behind the well-known facade of this DJ and supermodel couple, Ismail and Candice Abrahams have given a voice to creatives and disenfranchised individuals, all the while creating a distinct name for themselves throughout South Africa.
Sitting down with Ismail, ‘The DJ Man,’ and Candice, former Mrs. South Africa & Mrs. World, it’s clear that there’s more than meets the eye between this public-facing duo. On a recent trip to NYC, Hugo had the chance to peel back a layer or two over a meal at one of the city’s top Halal restaurants: Junoon.
CANDICE: Having been crowned Mrs. South Africa and Mrs. World, you must have a beauty and wellness regimen that ‘passes’ the test. With food creeping into the beauty space in the form of superfoods to better one’s skin and complexion, how have you incorporated food into your personal beauty routine?
There’s a reason the adage “moderation is key” exists–because it’s so very true. Having sensitive skin, I’ve become more conscious about the types of food I eat in order to keep my skin looking healthy. The secret I found is actually quite simple–eating avocados as part of my daily routine. I found that the healthy fats in them keep my skin looking dewy and breakout-free. Morning smoothies are my go-to, filled with sunflower seeds, avocado, strawberries, spinach and banana.
CANDICE: You started the Candice Abrahams Foundation to empower young women though fashion. Has food played a part in any of these women’s stories that you’ve been a part of in building back self-confidence?
Absolutely! We host a variety of events as part of the Candice Abrahams Foundation, including soup kitchens. What I love the most about them is seeing how food helps change the conversation, no matter your situation. I’ve found that cooking and being around food is a kind of therapy. The women who participate and cook at our events use food as a common medium to communicate, share stories and inspire each other. I so look forward to hosting more events where a younger generation of girls can be a part of this experience.
ISMAIL: Cooking and music go hand-in-hand. Are there any tunes you love to cook to in the kitchen?
I’m all about Sade in our kitchen. Her ‘Lovers Live’ DVD is all I need to get my culinary juices flowing.
ISMAIL: As the ‘DJ Man,’ you know the intricate art of mixing music to create the perfect set; if you were to bring this skill into the kitchen, could you tell us your ideal meal, all Halal of course.
My favorite mix is taking leftover curry and cracking two eggs into it for the most amazing 5 minute breakfast. Or when I have some more time on my hands, I love adding in a can of baked beans, coriander, chili powder and 2 boiled eggs into a delicious curry–it’s so satisfying.
BOTH: I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you about your plans for the holidays–any particular traditions and dishes that you prepare as a family?
We love cooking together as a family. Our favorites are butter chicken, chicken and prawn curry, savory rice, and garlic naan. For dessert, you’ll most likely find a traditional trifle and coffee cake on the table.
[The Top 5] Chef Hugo Uys’ Top Halal-Friendly Restaurants in NY
For most New Yorkers, Halal food is pigeonholed as a street food delicacy. While this prized cuisine still exists in its most accessible form throughout the streets of NYC, there are many restaurants that take this type of cooking to the next level. Here are Hugo’s top 5 restaurants serving Halal dishes to add to your culinary journey.
Best Dish: Eggplant Chaat
Best Dish: Lamb Gyro
Best Dish: Dilliwala Butter Chicken
Best Dish: Pad Thai
#5: The Halal Guys
Best Dish: Combo Sandwich
[The Recipe] Lamb Bobotie
One of my favorite holiday-time dishes that’s also Halal-friendly is a South African staple: Lamb Bobotie. For me, what makes the dish are the garnishes–fresh banana, saffron rice, shredded coconut and crushed peanuts. You can’t get more South African than this.
- 1 lbs minced lamb
- ½ lbs minced beef
- 4 large shallots, chopped
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
- 1 ½ tbsp curry powder
- 1 ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 6 fresh bay leaves
- 2 slices day old bread, crumbled
- ½ of a lemon, finely grate rind, then juice lemon
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tbsp butter
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 3 oz dried apricots, chopped
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and medium chopped
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- Set oven to 350°F
- Heat butter in a saucepan and fry the shallots and garlic until translucent
- Stir in the curry powder and 1 tsp turmeric
- Add in the minced meats
- Place mixture in a mixing bowl and set aside to cool down
- Add in the bread crumbs, milk, lemon rind and juice, egg, salt, pepper, apricots, apple and raisins, and mix thoroughly
- Spay a baking dish with butter, and pack mixture into dish
- Whisk 2 eggs, milk and ½ tsp turmeric together
- Pour milk and egg mixture over the meat in baking pan and place 6 bay leaves on top
- Bake for 45 min or until golden brown on top
- Serve with saffron rice, shredded coconut, sliced banana, crushed peanuts and a chutney of your choice
Get in Touch with Chef Hugo Uys
Naveen Duwadi is the non-obvious millennial foodie. He’s worked extensively in the digital space, and was part of the initial team at HelloGiggles, a digital brand founded by actress Zooey Deschanel. Since then, he’s worked across Time Inc.’s food and luxury publications including FOOD & WINE and Travel + Leisure, helping to market the brands to Fortune 500 companies. Naveen currently resides in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood, where he’s endlessly researching his next greatest meal.