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A Taste of Shanaaz

South African ‘celebrity chef’, Shanaaz Parker shares recipes from her gorgeous cookbook, ‘Fusion – East meets West’, with SISTERS readers.

I updated the fresh mushroom cream sauce of this classic Italian dish for the South African palate.

Serves 4 -6




300g penne pasta
50g butter
1 onion, chopped
200g mushrooms, sliced
5ml black pepper
30ml BBQ spice
30ml garlic paste
10ml salt
500ml fresh cream

parsley, finely chopped
fresh green chilli


1. Cook pasta as per pack instructions until ‘al dente’. Drain, toss with a little oil and set aside.

2. Melt butter in saucepan. Add onions and cook for 10 minutes or until soft and golden. Add mushrooms, sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and spices, sauté for 2 minutes. Add cream and heat until boiling point, stirring until it is thick and creamy.

3. Add sauce to pasta and serve immediately, garnished with parsley, fresh green chilli and black pepper.

Hint: Add fresh milk to sauce if necessary to thin it down.




A delectable snack or lunchbox treat.
Makes 36


500g flour
5ml salt
5ml sugar
1 packet instant dry yeast
1 egg
60ml oil
180ml lukewarm water (approx.)

30ml oil
1 onion, chopped
500g chicken breast, cubed
15ml Cajun spice mix
15ml BBQ spice mix
10ml garlic and ginger paste
100ml mayonnaise
salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 180˚C. Spray a baking tray with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Sift flour, salt and sugar together. Sprinkle with yeast and mix through. Beat together egg and oil; add water and mix. Add to dry ingredients. Mix into a soft dough, adding more water if necessary.

3. On a table, knead dough until it is smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a clean bowl and place dough in it. Lightly smear the top of the dough with oil and cover with cling film. Place bowl in a warm place and allow dough to double in size (about 45 minutes). Once risen, punch down again.

4. Divide dough in half. Take one half and roll into a sausage shape. Cut into small pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball. Ball should be the size of a walnut. Repeat with remaining dough. Leave balls to double in size.

5. On a lightly floured surface, flatten balls and, with a round cutter, cut into even sized rounds. Put in the oven for 5-7 minutes until baked through. Do not over-bake or they will be too brown and dry – pitta bread tends to be light in colour.

6. Place on cooling rack and cover with damp cloth to keep soft.

7. To make filling, heat oil in a large pan. Add onion and fry until translucent. Add spices and chicken and stir fry for 8-10 minutes. Cool chicken mixture and stir in mayonnaise.

8. When ready to serve, cut pittas in half, though not all the way through. Pile chicken stir fry into the pitta pockets and serve immediately.

Note: After shaping each pitta, place on a baking tray and cover with a damp cloth to prevent them from rising too much. A tray of water may also be placed at the bottom of the oven to create steam. This keeps the pittas soft.




These mouth-watering cheese and onion diamonds can be served cold but are best eaten warm. The pastry is flaky and crunchy with a cheesy filling.
Makes 24-30



100g butter/ margarine
1 box filo/ phyllo pastry

30g butter/ margarine
2 medium onions, finely chopped
30ml garlic paste
10ml cayenne pepper
30ml sesame seeds
30ml poppy seeds
5ml white pepper
300g feta cheese, crumbled
225g chunky cottage cheese
500g sweetmilk cheese/ Gouda, grated
2 eggs, beaten
30ml milk
salt to taste

50ml walnuts, finely chopped
paprika for sprinkling
honey for drizzling


1. Melt butter/ margarine. Add onions and sauté until golden brown. Add water if necessary.

2. Add garlic and sauté for a further 2 minutes, stirring all the time.

3. Place onions in a bowl. Add spices, seeds and cheeses and mix well. Add milk and mix through. Divide mixture into 3 in order to fill equally between the layers of pastry.

4. When ready to assemble, preheat oven to 200˚C. Spray an oven tray large enough for the filo sheets with non-stick cooking spray.

5. Unwrap filo pastry and cover with a damp cloth to prevent it drying out.

6. Lay 2 sheets of filo on the tray and brush with melted butter. Lay 2 more sheets on top and brush with more butter. Add a layer of the cheese filling and cover with 2 more sheets, brushed with butter.

7. Repeat until all the filling is used up.

8. Finish with 2 layers of filo pastry, brushed liberally with butter and cut into diamond-shaped pieces.

9. Bake for 15 minutes and serve topped with walnuts, sprinkled with paprika and drizzled with honey.





All recipes taken from ‘Fusion – East meets West’ by Shanaaz Parker.  
Shanaaz Parker (nee Narker) of the Shanaaz Parker Culinary Academy served for seven years as Head of Department at the Athlone Technical College before founding her own Academy. She holds an Advanced Diploma in Culinary Arts and a Certificate in Marketing Management. Her many projects include authoring recipe books – namely Fusion (2005), Indulge (2005), Indulge (2006), Innovativ’ (2008) and Flavor’s (2009), writing and compiling numerous cooking syllabi, presenting culinary radio and television programmes, event coordination and managing her own students’ residence and B&B facility. She lives in Cape Town with her family.
For more information about Shanaaz and her work, please visit  www.shanaazparkercooking.com.   To contact Shanaaz, please email info@shanaazparkercooking.com.