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Delight in the taste of South Africa: Discover the tameletjie recipe

By September 29, 2023October 3rd, 2023FinGlobal

Delight in the taste of South Africa: Discover the tameletjie recipe

September 29, 2023


A tameletjie is a delightful traditional toffee treat that not only satisfies the taste buds but also holds a significant place in the rich heritage of the Afrikaner and Malay cultures in South Africa. With its sweet aroma and irresistible texture, the tameletjie embodies the essence of South African culinary traditions, making it a must-try delicacy for anyone seeking a taste of the country’s diverse flavours and cultural heritage.

The tameletjie origin

The Cape Malay tameletjie recipe, one of the oldest in South Africa, has a fascinating origin story. It was born out of the importation of sugar cane from China and the East and West Indian islands. The Malay settlers in the Cape played a crucial role in popularising this treat by adding various ingredients to the tameletjie recipe, such as pine nuts. These nuts were easily accessible due to the abundant pine tree vegetation in the Cape. Despite the relative expense of sugar at the time, the tameletjie became a common and cherished sweet among the settlers. The Malays, renowned for their street food vending in Cape Town, introduced the tameletjie to Europeans and other settlers, making it a beloved treat for all.

How to make tameletjie

A traditional South African tameletjie recipe involves a few simple ingredients, such as sugar and butter, yet the result is a delightfully sweet and sticky toffee treat. This easy tameletjie recipe is the perfect balance of sweetness and texture, making it a true delight for satisfying your sweet tooth. Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with a cup of tea, the tameletjie is a true taste of South African culinary heritage that will leave you craving for more.

Tameletjie ingredients:

  • 500 g of brown or white sugar
  • 250 ml of water
  • 125 g of butter
  • 2 ml (½ teaspoon) of vanilla essence
  • A choice of pine nut kernels, almonds, walnuts, or coconut (chopped)

What to do:

  1. In a saucepan, dissolve the sugar in water over low heat and add the butter.
  2. Boil steadily without stirring until the mixture starts frothing.
  3. Add the vanilla essence.
  4. Stir in the chopped pine nut kernels, almonds, walnuts, or coconut.
  5. Pour the mixture into a shallow, well-greased dish, and use a wet knife to mark off squares.
  6. After cooling slightly, use a knife to mark the mixture into squares. Once completely cold and set, remove from the container and break into individual squares.

The tameletjie can be enjoyed as a traditional snack or used as an ingredient in other desserts.

Embracing tradition: The tameletjie recipe

Embracing the tradition of the tameletjie means more than just indulging in a delicious, sweet treat. It’s a journey into the deep-rooted culinary history of South Africa, a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Malay settlers and Afrikaner communities. An authentic South African tameletjie recipe offers a glimpse into the past, a sensory delight that transcends generations. So, next time you find yourself yearning for a sweet indulgence, consider the tameletjie. You’re not just making toffee, but also relishing a piece of South Africa’s vibrant culinary tapestry. Enjoy the taste of tradition!

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