Home Recipes Easy Recipes RECIPE: Pumla Brook-Thomae's fluffy dhombolo and spicy pickled bean chakalaka

RECIPE: Pumla Brook-Thomae’s fluffy dhombolo and spicy pickled bean chakalaka

Afternoon Express Guest Chef Pumla Brook-Thomae experiment's with flour and flavour to give you a twist on three South African classics.


A hearty plate of food isn’t complete without a slice or ball of iDhombolo. The steamed bread is a customary favourite within the African community. Home cook Pumla Brook-Thomae says she has tried, tested and perfected the fluffiest pull-apart dhombolo. She jokingly says once her mother, Luluma Dlala trusted her to make her first loaf of bread at age 12, she never stopped experimenting with flour.

She’s shared two renditions of an easy-to-make pull-apart dhombolo that can be served at events this festive season. Her classic fluffy dhombolo with a spicy modern is a hit among her clientele. The Home cook also shares a version made with a can of KOO Corn. The steamed breads are well paired with a classic Mzansi side – chakalaka.

Classic fluffy dhombolo


  • 950g cake flour
  • 650 ml lukewarm water
  • 1 tbs active dried yeast
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 small de-seeded chilli
  • 1 handful parsley chopped


Makes 2 loaves

  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients except chilli and parsley.
  2. Form a soft pliable dough then knead in the chilli and parsley.
  3. Tip the formed dough into an oiled bowl and leave to rise until it doubles in size for about 1 1/2 hour – 2 hours checking in at 30 minute intervals.
  4. After 1 1/2 hours briefly knead the dough again knocking the air out. Cover and leave to rise for a second time.
  5. Check again after 30 minutes, divide risen dough into equal balls about the size of a jumbo egg and place in 2 round bowls. Leave to rise for the last time.
  6. After final rise interval, place the bowl into a pot and simmer in boiling water on medium heat for 30-45 minutes keeping an eye on your water levels.
  7. Poke with a skewer to see if dhombolo is cooked. If skewer comes out clean dhombolo is ready to be served.

Note: Halfway through the cooking time, check and see if the boiling water needs topping. Serve with umleqwa (hardbody/runaway chicken stew, chakalaka or alongside braai instead of shop-bought rolls).

SIDE DISH – Pickled Bean Chakalaka

Brook-Thomae’s spicy pickled bean chakalaka with KOO baked beans


Serves 6

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp curry powder medium
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • a pinch of peri-peri spice
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large carrot grated
  • 1 can KOO baked beans
  • 2 tsp sugar


  1. Roughly chop onion and peppers then set aside.
  2. Heat oil and add the onion mixture. Sauté for 5 minutes then add roughly chopped garlic with all of your spices.
  3. Mix well until all ingredients are incorporated and fragrant for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add your tomatoes, oregano and vinegar; cook until tender.
  5. Add grated carrots, baked beans, salt and sugar.
  6. Sprinkle with chives or coriander and serve with steamed bread or steamed corned bread.

Steamed Corn Bread

- Advertisement -

Steamed Corn Bread prepared by Pumla Brook-Thomae


Makes 2 loaves

  • 950g cake flour
  • 650 ml lukewarm water
  • 1 tbs active dried yeast
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 can KOO Whole Corn Kernel in brine – drained


  1. Add all the ingredients except the corn to a large bowl and knead into a soft pliable dough, then put aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the corn kernels until partly processed – leaving some whole – then knead into the dough until well incorporated.
  3. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover loosely with cling wrap and leave to rise until doubled in size – about 1 1/2 – 2hrs.
  4. Remove the clingwrap and knock the dough back. Cover and leave to rise the second time.
  5. Once risen, divide into golf ball rounds. Divide into two lightly oiled cake tins placed into 2 separate large pots.
  6. Steam the breads in low heat with boiling water. Steam the bread until a skewer comes out clean.

Serve with bean chakalaka or slathered in butter.


(3 Reviews)

- Advertisement -
Noluthando Ngcakani
Noluthando Ngcakani
With roots in the Northern Cape, this Kimberley Diamond has had a passion for telling human interest stories since she could speak her first words. A foodie by heart, she began her journalistic career as an intern at the SABC where she discovered her love for telling agricultural, community and nature related stories. Not a stranger to a challenge Ngcakani will go above and beyond to tell your truth.


Must Read

Potato farmer and baby daddy: Is it time to call it...

Unrooted in Ficksburg, Free State writes Liewe Lulu I am engaged to be married to the father of my five-year-old son. In the seven years we...
0/5 (0 Reviews)