waatlemoen konfyt

With fragrant spices redolent of the aromatic East, boboties, rotis and raitas, in the latest The Big Ideas Issue, DECO has decided to celebrate cooking that has been infused with years of imagination, heritage, originality  and a strong sense of gemeenskap.  We are calling it, The New/Old Ingredient-Heritage. 

In the magazine we share recipes for Tamatie Bredie, Oumens Onder Die Kombers,  Bobotie, Sweetcorn Fritters and Herzoggies from Craig Fraser’s new recipe book, Bo-Kaap Kitchen. We just couldn’t help but share one more with you, a simple recipe for Waatlemoen Konfyt,

A delicious preserve using the distinctive round, white-fleshed melons sold by Bo-Kaap grocers. Gaironessa likes to eat the cooked ginger later – ‘it keeps the cold out’.

1 green watermelon
2 tbsp slaked lime (available at pharmacies)
2 pieces of ginger, 4cm big

Cut the watermelon into large chunks, remove the pips and peel the skin off, so you’re left with the white flesh. Cut it into 12cm pieces. Prick each piece with a fork to penetrate right through, on all sides. Soak overnight in lukewarm water with slaked lime added, stirring twice overnight, then rinse off in clean water. Place in a large pot with enough water to cover the melon pieces, and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes, then remove and strain. Weigh the melon, then place it back in the empty pot. Add the same weight in sugar to the pot, add the ginger and just enough water to cover the melon. Allow to simmer on a low heat for 2 hours, leaving the pot uncovered. Remove the ginger pieces and decant the jam into sterilised bottles, seal well and store.

Serve with scones, bread and cheeses.


More than just a cookbook – part photo journal, part historical document, part culinary journey into the homes of the people of the Bo-Kaap, celebrating a uniquely South African culture.

Through personal stories, recipes, historical images and Craig Fraser’s beautiful visuals,Bo-Kaap Kitchen reveals the heart of the Cape Malay people, their history and identity, distinctive architecture and language. The warmth and character of the people shine through as they share their stories about cooking, family bonds and strong faith.

Residents of the Bo-Kaap are descendents of some of the first people to settle at the Cape, mostly descendents of slaves brought here from as diverse places as Ceylon, India, Indonesia, Java, Malaysia, North Africa, East Africa and Madagascar. Many of these slaves were sought after for their skilled labour and excellent craftsmanship.

A large part of the book is devoted to the significance of food, which is so central to the culture. Rites of passage, pilgrimages, prayers for newborns and the deceased, breaking the fast during Ramadan, engagements, weddings, all are celebrated with meals that are shared in this closely knit community.

Book details

  • Bo-Kaap Kitchen: Heritage Recipes and True Stories by Craig Fraser