Cape Town – South Africa’s favourite celebrity chef Siba Mtongana is hot stuff on The Food Network!Siba has just landed a new show on The Food Network called Siba in the Kitchen, which will be followed by a second season of her very popular show Siba's Table.Apart from her shows on The Food Network, Siba is also on the judging panel of Chopped SA.We had a quickie with Siba about all things food and what dish she would prepare with Nik Naks and tuna.Channel24:"What’s your favourite meal?"Siba:"Any chef’s worst question," she continues. "It changes as we experiment and try new things in the kitchen."Channel24:"If you were stranded on an island which three ingredients, what would you take with you and why?"Siba:"Loads of biltong, canned food and water." She adds playfully, "Hopefully it’s a tropical island with loads of exotic fruits."Channel24:"What’s your favourite restaurant in CT?"Siba:"I have loads for different occasions and crowds and mood!" She continues, "Willoughby and Co at the Waterfront makes the best sushi by far! Chefs Warehouse in Heritage Square has amazing Asian-inspired tapas and is great for an after work do. The Loading Bay in town makes awesome amasi (or buttermilk) chicken wings and veggie juices. For fine dining The Test Kitchen in The Old Biscuit Mill is great and The Fat Cactus in Gardens is a cool and relaxed joint when I have friends over." She adds, "The list really is endless."Channel24:"If you were a contestant on Chopped and we gave you these ingredients what would you make for a main dish: Tuna, Nik Naks, spinach, peanut butter."Siba:"Obviously depends on what you have in your pantry as that is crucial in directing what meal to make and hopefully it would be fresh tuna steak or fillet and not canned," she adds with a smile."I would make a cauliflower mash topped with crumbed tuna with Asian inspired marinade served with nutty spinach relish."She explains exactly how she would prepare the dish: "I would first cook some cauliflower to make a mash with it. Then make an Asian dressing made of peanut butter, sesame oil, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, pinch of sugar and chilli to make the tuna dressing. Then make a top crumb for the fish by crushing the Nik Naks and mixing them with black and white sesame seeds, seasoned with spices and fresh herbs to make a crumb for the tuna. Cook it last as it takes 1-2 minutes on each sides until the crumb is crisp but with the fish still be pink inside."She continues, "Then sauté the spinach in garlic and ginger until wilted and serve crumbed tuna with mashed cauliflower which is a quicker substitute for mashed potatoes. The tuna would be my hero or focus."
Channel24:"What is your judging style on Chopped?"Siba:"All the judges have the same format of judging the dishes which is mainly based on creativity, skill and technique, presentation and composition as well as taste or flavour components that must work together." She adds, "I love food that visually looks appealing and tastes even better than it looks! Obviously skill, creativity and working at a speed are of high importance as those are what save winners from being chopped."
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