A Kokni Cookout…

kokni cookout hungry for halaal

I am blessed with a large extended family of cousins, nieces and nephews. In my parents’ generation there seems to be a strong female gene and somehow this filtered through into the subsequent generation too. We are from almost 30 cousins, at least 70% female. Growing up together meant lots of laughter, sports and craziness. We are generally a fun bunch and embarassingly but unashamedly loud and gregarious, but the one thing I always enjoy when spending time together is walking away with a sense of lightness. So much laughter is present that it unintentionally washes off feelings of stress and tension leaving the mood lifted and the spirit at peace. Many people with large families of cousins can attest to the same. No one knows your family like your cousins.

This weekend all my female cousins got together to share a sense of our own very intimate family cooking heritage. Let me give you some history and context. I hope I get this right, cos I’m gonna be in so much trouble if I don’t. Although, if any family reads this and has some amendments, please let me know and I will update.

Chiplun Kalusta Kokni Cookout Hungry for halaal

Our family stem from a village in India called Kalusta. Now many kokni’s in Cape Town come from Kalusta but our immediate family is from a very small part of Kalusta called Mawlat, which loosely translated means “where the sun sets”. We are subsequently known as Mawalte. My father was born there and came to South Africa when he was 5 years old. So I am technically, first generation South African from my dad’s side. My family from my dad’s sister’s side collectively make up the Mawalte clan. Kalusta is a beautiful green and lush village on the river. The dishes of this area naturally tend to fish and vegetarian options. For our Kokni Cookout, we then decided to keep things authentic and only stick to fish and veg dishes.

There was much anticipation for our cookout. We range from our early twenties to early forties, many being professionals with full time jobs and fitting in cooking in a hurry. Would we live up to our mothers’ high standards? Having been under the thumb of maternal scrutiny our whole lives we decided to go it alone. Deciding that we weren’t up to playing ‘Top Chef, Kalusta” on the weekend. Or hearing how this was too alni (not enough salt), or how that should have braised more. Or ‘die rys is te pap’ (the rice is too soft) or that there was not enough “karamonk” (cardomon) in the tea… sigh. I know, it’s the way of all mothers. And one day, it will likely be me on that end. Truth be told, our family is so big, we just didn’t want to have to hire a venue.

But I digress, and I know all you want to know is what was on the menu. It was quite simply, a feast. We kept things simple. Paper plates and cups and serving straight out of the pots, meant no washing up was needed. Everything went on the tables and you quite literally did not know where to begin.

kokni cookout hungry for halaal

Pani Puri, not authentic Kokni but made for a great start.

kokni cookout hungry for halaal

And puri patta…

kokni cookout hungry for halaal

followed by Sore se Chutney (Sore are small dried prawns made with a toasted coconut, garlic and dried red chillies chutney), which had to be made with normal prawns as Sore is so hard to find these days. Sadly no one comes from India with their luggage smelling of dried fish anymore handing out copious quantities of Sore… Coconut is used prolifically in many of our dishes, from fish curry to many of our vegetarian curries and side dishes. Here too is a decadent Cashew Nut curry made with coconut milk and Prawn chaat…

kokni cookout hungry for halaal

Aloo fry… it was hard work eating but someone had to do it… spoken between mouthfuls…

kokni cookout hungry for halaal

Haldoni (Fish curry)…

kokni cookout hungry for halaal

The flakiest of home made rotis and fluffy rice accompanied, Zoenkor, a dhal like curry made with chick pea flour and soured with tamarind, grilled prawns, traditional Dhal, Bareed (a dish made with mashed and spiced brinjal), Khurri, a spicy yoghurt based curry, braised butterbeans, and Goegrio, a broth made with black eyed beans affectionately known as “skottelgoed water” (dishwashing water) for it’s watery consistency with sinus clearing red chutney.

kokni cookout hungry for halaal

Dessert included favourites like Ghouti Halwa, a milky jelly type pudding made with elachi and saffron.


And Soji, a semolina based sweet dish made with tons of butter. And as a graduate from the Kokni kitchen one can never forget the yellow enamel kettle. And like well trained Kokni daughters we finished off with tea that had boiled and bubbled with a few buds of cardomon and milk that had boiled and simmered until cream had formed several times over.

kokni cookout hungry for halaal

We are way too noisy a bunch to have gotten any rest after, but typically after a feast of this nature a long nap would have been required. I’d like to think we expelled half the calories we consumed simply by the amount of laughter that was shared after.

A reader on facebook requested a Khazura recipe when she saw my pics so I am going to share that here. This is the recipe I got from my mother who got it from her mother. The quantities are big. I guess when you’re cooking for large families upwards of 5 children anything less would be a waste of time. I make half this quantity and it’s plenty. You can also wrap the dough in cling wrap and freeze it for some months before you need it.


1 kg Cake Flour
1 kg Tasty Wheat
1 kg Sugar
16 Eggs
250 g soft Butter
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp fine Elachi (Cardamon)
White Poppy seeds (optional)

Cream sugar and eggs with an electric beater till creamy and light. This will take a few minutes. And soft butter and beat. Add the dry ingredients and now you need to get in there with your hands. Mix it together and knead well. Form into a ball. Cover with cling wrap and leave to stand over night.

Divide the dough into four. Lightly dust your rolling surface with flour. If using, sprinkle your surface with some poppy seeds. Roll each piece out to approximately 5mm thick. Using a sharp knife cut the dough into diamond shapes or use a cookie cutter to make your desired shapes. Deep fry in medium hot oil till they puff up and turn golden brown. Remove to drain in a wide mesh colander and then on paper towels.  Now hide half the stash where your toddler and husband won’t find it… enjoy!


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  • Aslm dear totally love your blog… would you care to share your Goegrio reci[pe please… Jazakillah

    • Wslm Nabeelah and thank you for you kind words. I will do a post with this recipe soon. Keep your eye on the blog.

  • Absoilutely amazing, keeping our Kokni traditions alive. Could you perhaps share your sore se chutney recipe please.

    • Nabeelah, I apologise for only picking this up now. Don’t know how I missed it. Here’s the recipe.

      Sore se Chutney

      2 tblsp dry Coconut Chutney (Gobra se chutney)
      You can make this by toasting 3 tblsp coconut till it’s light brown in colour. Toast 2 or 3 dry red chillies as well in the same pan or after you have removed the coconut. Put into a grinder with a half ball of peeled garlic cloves and grind coursely or you can make it finer if you prefer. You can get this ready made in some shops but it’s not very common.
      2 large onions finely sliced
      3 potatoes diced small
      3 tblsp dry sore soaked in some water for an hour or so. If you can’t get sore, use small prawns or shrimps. (no need to soak)

      Braise your onions in some oil in a wide flat pot. Allow it to become translucent but not to brown. Add your coconut chutney and braise together till it’s fragrant. Add your potatoes and a little water and allow the potatoes to steam till it’s tender. Add salt to taste and the sore and mix through. Cook together for 5 minutes or so and serve with roti.


  • I can definitely attest to every word in this article! Strangely your entire story defines my family , cousins, food & Indian background as well

      • Lovely article
        I can do relate to it
        I’m a Memon from SA living in the uk and whenever I visit we always get together for a cookout similar to your family’s
        We even have a brunch where we have traditional breakfasts too

  • Great article…definitely something we should do more often considering how busy all of our lives have become. ..With having our own families and all. Yes dilu that soji recipe…

  • Loving the article and loved spending time with you gals! Had a great afternoon of good food, laughs and excellent company…

    • Always private but my family doesn’t know how to do quiet… lol. Will have to find that soji recipe.

    • I got completely sidetracked and never got back to you Tayob. Please forgive. Here is that recipe now.

      200g Butter
      2 cups tastee wheat
      1 cup sugar
      2 cups milk
      handful sultanas
      handful slivered almonds
      6 cinnamon sticks
      6 cardamon
      pinch of saffron

      Melt butter in low heat. Add taystee wheat and braise stirring continously until pink.
      Add milk and stir till it gets a little drier. Add sugar over the top. Close the lid and steam 5 minutes then stir through with sultanas and nuts and saffron. Steam a few more minutes and serve.