• Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world, with most countries honouring mothers with gifts and flowers as well as a day off from activities such as cooking or other household chores.

    In honour of their mothers, three chefs at Capsicum Culinary Studio, South Africa’s largest culinary school with six campuses across the country, were asked to share the recipes for the dishes they most recall their mothers making for them.


    Sandra Nagan’s South Indian Fish Curry

    Ann Nagan, Durban campus head, says her mother Sandra instilled in her a love of authentic Indian cooking, and if she had to choose a favourite dish she made for the family, it would be her South Indian Fish Curry.

    Photo: Supplied


    • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 large onion, diced
    • 6 green chillies, sliced down the middle
    • 1 tsp mustard seeds
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 2 tbsp Kashmiri masala
    • 112 tbsp fish masala
    • 8-10 ripe tomatoes
    • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced in half
    • 2 stem curry leaves
    • 4 tbsp black tamarind, soaked in hot water
    • 2kg of fresh fish (salmon is especially good)
    • A few small brinjals, chopped (optional)
    • Salt to taste



    1. Soak the tomatoes in hot water until the skin starts to come off, then remove and puree in a food processor.
    2. Add just enough oil to cover the base of a flat-bottom pot and heat.
    3. Add mustard seeds and allow them to fry.
    4. Add diced onions, green chillies and curry leaves.
    5. Once the onions are translucent, add the sliced garlic and masala spices.
    6. Mix well and allow to braise for a few minutes before adding the pureed tomatoes and salt to taste.
    7. Allow to simmer on medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes.
    8. Mix the tamarind in a little hot water, then strain into the mixture.
    9. Reduce heat to low and allow to cook for an additional 8 to 10 minutes before adding the fish and brinjals, making sure you don’t break the fish.
    10. Swirl the gravy around, but do not mix.
    11. Reduce the heat and allow it to cook for another 10 minutes, or until the gravy thickens and the fish is cooked through.
    12. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice, bread, or roti.


    Spinach Pesto Pasta with Chicken

    Kamogelo Makhubela, a Pretoria campus student, says his favourite dish made by his mother is her spinach pesto pasta with chicken. About it, he says, ‘It’s one of those recipes where a little goes a long way, and it can be eaten hot or cold.’

    Photo: Supplied


    • 200g spinach
    • 50g of cashew nuts
    • 4 garlic cloves
    • 120ml of extra virgin olive oil
    • 200g parmesan cheese
    • 300g pasta (penne or rigatoni work well, but you can use just about any pasta).
    • 200ml of lemon juice
    • 2 chicken breasts
    • sprig of rosemary
    • 12 tsp lemon pepper
    • 1 tbsp thyme
    • Sea salt and ground black pepper



    For the pasta:

    1. Place spinach in a bowl and blanch it by pouring boiling water over it and covering it with a lid.
    2. In a separate pot, boil the pasta in salty water until almost al dente.
    3. Toast the cashew nuts in a frying pan over medium-high heat until golden brown (about 3 minutes), keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn.
    4. In a blender, add the blanched spinach, 60ml of the oil, three garlic cloves, half the parmesan, 20ml of lemon juice and the toasted cashews, and blend until everything is incorporated.
    5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    6. Strain the pasta and save a cup of the pasta liquid.
    7. In a pan at medium heat, add the pasta and pesto a spoon at a time, then add the pasta water for the right consistency (it should be thick but smooth).

    For the chicken:

    1. Soak the chicken in lemon juice for about an hour.
    2. Pat dry, and set aside.
    3. In a pestle and mortar, grind the rosemary, thyme and garlic cloves, adding 20ml of oil to create a smooth paste.
    4. Rub all over the chicken, then grill or pan-fry the chicken until cooked through.
    5. Slice into pieces, lay over the pesto pasta and finish off with grated parmesan.


    Granny E’s Triangle Delight Cake

    ‘There may be dishes for Mother’s Day that are a lot more intricate, fashionable, or even grander, but the best part of this cake is the sharing,’ says Pretoria campus student Catherine Greyling. ‘I used to make it with my grandmother for my mom, as she did with her grandmother for her mom. It’s every mom’s favourite, and it’s the stuff memories are made of. What more do you need for Mother’s Day?’

    Photo: Supplied


    • 1 packet of tennis biscuits
    • 1 tub of smooth cream cheese
    • 1 tin of condensed milk
    • 50ml of lemon juice
    • 10 cherries


    • 12 cups icing sugar
    • 2 tbsp margarine
    • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
    • 3 tbsp hot water
    • Cherries
    • Dark chocolate shavings or buttons



    1. In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk and slowly add the lemon juice while stirring until the mixture thickens. Taste regularly to make sure it is just right.
    2. Set aside and cool in the fridge.
    3. Divide the biscuits into two equal amounts on a sheet of tinfoil, and set half of the biscuits in rows of three each to form the sides of the triangle.
    4. Carefully spoon half of your mixture over the biscuits. Set out the other half of the biscuits in the same pattern.
    5. Spoon the rest of the mixture over the biscuits.
    6. Arrange the cherries in the middle of the cake, lengthwise.
    7. Carefully use the foil to bring the two sides together to form a triangle. Press gently together.
    8. Wrap firmly with the foil and cool in the freezer.
    9. Mix the cocoa powder with the warm water, add the margarine, sift in the icing sugar and mix until you get a spreadable mixture.
    10. Spread over the sides of your cake and decorate with whipped cream, cherries and chocolate shavings.

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    The perfect (limited edition) gift to spoil mom this Mother’s Day

    Issued by JAG Communication

    Recipes supplied by JAG Communications

    Feature image: Supplied