Waterblommetjie Bredie

Waterblommetjie bredie (Water flower stew / soup) is a traditional South African dish that is usually prepared during the winter month and is highly regarded as a delicacy in these parts of the world.

The dish has a longstanding history in South Africa and especially in the Western Cape. It is named after the flowers of the Cape pond weed or water hawthorn (Aponogeton distachyos) that grow during the winter month on freshwater ponds and dams in the Cape province and contains apart from the flowers either mutton or beef and a variety of vegetables. 

The flowers were already used by the indigenous Khoikhoi people which introduced them to the early settlers in the 17th century. These days waterblommetjies are as well available in cans but to get them freshly harvested is of course my preferred option. During the winter in Cape Town you can often purchase the flowers at green grocery stores or on street corners close to the highways were farm workers offer them to the people in the passing traffic.

Preparation time: 30 minutes 
Cooking time: at least 1 H 45 minutes
Resting time: 1 hour
Total time needed: at least 3 H 15 minutes
Grade of Difficulty: standard

This recipe was inspired by "camping and hiking" you can find their recipe here

Waterblommetjie Bredie

  • 4 tbs. olive oil
  • 700 gram / 24.7 oz of stewing mutton or beef, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 500 gram / 17.6 oz fresh waterblommetjies
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 8 baby potatoes, quartered
  • 2 big carrots,  sliced
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1 leek, washed and sliced
  • 1 big turnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 yellow sweet pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 liter / 8 cups of hot beef or mutton stock
  • 1tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 5 Allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 black pepper corns
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 bishops crown, cayenne or Kashmiri chili
  • 1 tsp. origano
  • 1 piece of mace (or 1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Gently wash the waterblommetjies and place them in a bowl with salt water for 1 hour
  • Sprinkle the meat with black pepper, a little cumin, origanum and salt and let it rest for 15 minutes
  • Switch on the stove and stir fry meat in a large pot till it is brown on all sides
  • Add onion and fry them till they are beginning to change color
  • Add garlic, leeks, turnip, carrots, chili and all the dry spices, stir and let all fry for a minute
  • Next add the hot stock and once bredie is starting to boil turn down the heat to low
  • Cover with lid and let the bredie simmer for 1 hour
  • Drain waterblommetjies of excess water and add them together with potatoes and sweet pepper to the pot, cover again and let all simmer for 30 minutes
  • Add peas and parsley, don't stir to avoid breaking the waterblommetjies, cover with lid and let bredie simmer for another 15 minutes
  • Taste and if desired add more salt and pepper

Serve waterblommetjie bredie hot with slices of fresh buttered bread.

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