Image Credit: The Truffle Journal
This South African dish is made of meat, typically lamb, stewed with waterblommetjies which are the flowers of an aquatic flowering plant called Aponogeton distachyos. Its name derives from Afrikaans and literally means ‘little water flower stew’. The buds of Aponogeton distachyos are picked in the southern midwinter months of July and August, leading to their use in winter stews such as waterblommetjiebredie.
Dutch colonists struggled to cultivate crops successfully and as a result, for the first few years, there was little to eat. In desperation, the colonists turned to whatever fresh fruit and vegetables were locally available, and it is thought that this is how waterblommetjies was introduced in South African cuisine.
Today this dish is enjoyed once a year in the months of July and August mainly by the indigenous Coloured people of Western Cape. Waterblommetjie is very low in calories and is high in vitamins and minerals.