Fynbos Flavours: Three courses with a touch of Rooibos

Fynbos Flavours: Three courses with a touch of Rooibos

Naturally free of caffeine and low in tannins, Rooibos continues to earn ‘good-for-you’ gold stars across the globe and health fundis all over the world are happily swopping their morning coffees and caffeinated teas for guilt-free ‘red bush’ infusions.  It’s even becoming a trendy ingredient amongst the rich and the famous (the media was all aflutter when Rooibos ice cream was the dessert of choice at the wedding of Hollywood couple, Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas).

While delving a little deeper into this familiar South African ingredient, I came across a wonderful book called ‘A touch of Rooibos’, which has over 100 Rooibos recipes from 14 of South Africa’s most well renowned chefs. I dived into it wholeheartedly and have shared three of my favourites below. The great thing about cooking with Rooibos is that you can use ‘gewone’ Rooibos tea bags to make your Rooibos brew, and then use the tea in the recipe as needed – no tricky preparation requirements, like having to forage or prepare the natural herbs yourself!

Add a touch of Rooibos to your cooking with these unique and easy recipes; master them all and you’ve got a delicious three-course meal. Pair the meal with a Vondeling Chardonnay – its creamy, full-bodied palate makes it an ideal match with mild, aromatic curries – and Vondeling is proud to be one of WWF’s Conservation Champions.



Black mushrooms stuffed with Rooibos risotto and Parmesan cream

by Sarah Withey

Rooibos Risotto


  • 180g (200ml) butter
  • 1 ½ onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 600ml Arborio rice
  • 3 liters medium-strength Rooibos*
  • 70ml grated Parmesan cheese
  • 200g red peppers, finely diced
  • 45ml chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large black mushrooms
  • fresh herbs to garnish

*To make medium-strength Rooibos: 3 Rooibos tea bags per 500ml boiling water, infuse for 15 minutes.


  • Heat 90g (100ml) of the butter in a large saucepan and sauté the onions and garlic until translucent.
  • Add the rice and fry for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time to coat the rice with the butter.
  • Heat the Rooibos until boiling. Slowly add the warm Rooibos, a cup at a time, to the rice mixture. Stir well after each addition and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed completely before adding the next cupful. Continue adding the warm Rooibos until the rice is cooked (al dente) and the mixture creamy.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese, red peppers, parsley and the rest of the butter (90g). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Peel the mushrooms. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the mushrooms until they start to soften. Remove from the pan and place, cap side down, in an ovenproof dish.
  • Fill the centre of the mushrooms with the risotto. Just before serving, drizzle the mushrooms with a little olive oil and place in the oven until warmed through.
  • Serve the mushrooms with a spoonful of Parmesan cream on top of the risotto, accompanied by mixed baby lettuce leaves, halved cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs for garnish.

Serves 8


Parmesan Cream


  • 400ml cream
  • 100ml finely grated Parmesan cheese


  • Whisk the cream until firm, fold in the Parmesan cheese and season to taste.



Rooibos Chicken Curry

by Chris Maré


  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 200ml hot, strong Rooibos*
  • 50ml cooking oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, crushed
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 10ml curry powder
  • 4 chicken breast fillets, cubed
  • 1 tomato, skinned and chopped
  • 1 tin (410g) pineapple pieces, drained, juice reserved
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • cooked basmati or jasmine rice, to serve

*To make strong Rooibos: 6 Rooibos tea bags per 500ml boiling water, infuse for 15 minutes


  • Dissolve the chicken stock cube in the hot Rooibos
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onions, garlic, ginger, green pepper and curry powder for 5 minutes.
  • Add the chicken and fry gently for a further 15 minutes.
  • Add the tomato, Rooibos stock, pineapple juice, salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Stir occasionally.
  • Add the pineapple pieces and heat thoroughly
  • Serve with fragrant basmati or jasmine rice, and garnish/sambals of choice.

Serves 4



Rooibos ice-cream

by Jaco Slabber

Makes about 750ml ice cream


  • 300ml milk
  • 5 Rooibos teabags
  • 300ml cream
  • 7ml vanilla essence
  • 125ml Rooibos syrup (see recipe below)
  • 100g (120ml) castor sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 4 egg whites


  • Heat the milk with the Rooibos tea bags until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and discard the tea bags.
  • Stir the cream, vanilla essence, Rooibos syrup and sugar into the milk and return to the heat. Stir in the egg yolks. Stirring continuously, bring the mixture almost to boiling point. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Set aside to cool completely.
  • Beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold into the cooled mixture. Churn in an ice-cream machine till frozen and keep in the freezer until serving.

NOTE: If you do not have an ice-cream machine, pour the ice-cream mixture into a shallow dish and place in the freezer for 90 minutes, beating well with an electric beater at 30-minute intervals to prevent large crystals from forming in the ice-cream. Leave in the freezer until frozen.


Rooibos Syrup (for use in Rooibos ice-cream)

by Anita van der Spuy


  • 2 litres water
  • 5 Rooibos tea bags
  • 50ml honey
  • 280g (350ml) white sugar
  • 20ml lemon juice
  • 10ml vanilla essence


  • Combine all the ingredients, except the vanilla essence, in a large saucepan. Stir over low heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Boil over moderate heat for 45 to 50 minutes until reduced and syrupy.
  • Remove the tea bags. Add the vanilla essence.
  • Allow the syrup to cool before using.

Makes 300 to 350ml.


Source: A touch of Rooibos 

Kate Black

As the daughter of a wildlife filmmaker, Kate spent her early childhood in the Okavango Delta. Over the years, she has been fortunate to explore many of Southern Africa’s other wild places, contributing to her keen interest in African wildlife conservation. With a career grounded in digital marketing, Kate recently made the decision to work as a freelance communications specialist, with a particular focus on environmental NGOs. An avid trail runner and hiker, she loves the outdoors and the incredible natural diversity that the Western Cape has to offer.