Traditional recipes

South Africa

South Africa

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A guide to wine regions in South Africa

Wine was being made in South Africa as early as the mid-17th century, and an unfortified dessert wine called Constantia, made from a blend of white wine grapes on the country's southwestern coast, became internationally famous in the 1800s. The Constantia region still produces good wine, both dry and sweet, though it is no longer considered in the top echelon. South Africa has a red wine grape of its own, pinotage, an unlikely but successful cross between pinot noir and the Rhône variety cinsault, which produces medium-body, earthy wines that are rarely great but often very pleasant. The variety does well in the Stellenbosch region, just east of Cape Town, as do cabernet sauvignon and merlot. White wines made from chenin blanc (which used to be called steen in South Africa, though that usage is dying out) and sauvignon blanc have also been successful in Stellenbosch. Paarl, north of Stellenbosch, is the home of KWV, the Koöperatieve Wijnbouwers Vereniging van Zuid-Afrika (Cooperative Winegrowers Association of South Africa), which virtually controlled the country's wine industry, as by far its largest producer and bottler and also its de facto regulatory agency, from 1918 until the 1990s. Paarl is the home of the Wellington and Franschhoek Valley sub-regions, the latter particularly known for its white wines. The Breede River Valley, in central South Africa, is the home of the Worcester region, which produces as much as a quarter of all the country's wine and is best-known for its dry and sweet whites. Overberg, south of Worcester, has a cooler climate than most other wine regions in South Africa and has proven particularly hospitable to pinot noir and chardonnay. There are several other wine regions scattered around the western half of the country; the coolest climate of all is found in KwaZulu-Natal, a recently developed vineyard area, where pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinotage are the stars.


Bobotie is traditional meatloaf casserole and one of the most delicious of South Africa recipes.

What is the origin of bobotie?

Bobotie is a recipe that was imported to South Africa from Indonesia in the seventeenth century and was adapted by the Cape Malay community. The community members are descendants of Cape Malay are slaves and political refugees from Indonesia and Malaysia. Until the early nineteenth century, the Cape Colony (like Indonesia) was under Dutch control. The ethnic group now is composed of 200,000 people and is predominantly Muslim.

What is the origin of the word bobotie?

The word bobotie comes from the Indonesian bobotok or botok! Bobotok is a dish made of coconut flesh, vegetables and occasionally meat that is cooked in banana leaf.

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How to make the South African bobotie recipe

This dish is now generally prepared with beef or lamb. Curry, ginger, lemon, dried apricots and raisins, almonds or walnuts are all ingredients that make this dish so unique. The bobotie recipe was also exported to a few African countries like Kenya, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

South African bobotie is a meatloaf that is covered with a mixture of milk and egg that forms a custard crust. The dish is traditionally served with basmati rice, but also with chutney or sambal, the Indonesian condiment made of chili peppers.

This dish is very simple to make and is prepared with easy to find ingredients. The sweetness of dried fruits, the complex aromas released by the spices and the crispness of almonds give a delicious taste to this colorful dish.

This recipe is validated by our South African culinary expert Justine Drake. You can find Justine on her Facebook page.

South Africa Recipes and Cuisine

South Africa is a country of great cultural diversity. Such diversity is even reflected in South Africa's food recipes. South African recipes vary from simple traditional dishes to spicy curries and rich puddings. We are certain you will enjoy exploring the unique tastes of these recipes from South Africa.


This is probably South Africa’s most popular and best known snack.

  • 12,5 kg beef or venison (sirloin, rump or fillet)
  • 560 g salt (finely ground)
  • 125 ml brown sugar
  • 25 ml bicarbonate of sod
  • 12.5 ml freshly ground pepper
  • 125 ml ground coriander
  • 250 ml brown vinegar
  • 2,5 l warm water

Slice the beef or venison along the muscle line and then cut into strips about 5 to 7 cm
thick, leaving a bit of fat on the strips. Combine the salt, brown sugar, bicarb, pepper
and coriander. Rub the meat with the mixture. Place the meat in a cool area for 1 or 2 days,
taking into consideration the thickness of the meat. Stir the vinegar and water together and
then dip the meat in it. Pat the slices dry. Hang the meat up in a cool dry room with sufficient
space for air to circulate. Dry for 2 to 3 weeks.


A delicious curry meat loaf.

  • 2 slices of stale white bread without crust
  • 30 ml oil
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 2,5 ml ground cloves
  • 5 ml garlic (crushed)
  • 3 ml salt
  • 10 ml curry powder
  • 5 ml turmeric
  • 500 g mince
  • 2 eggs
  • 30 ml hot water
  • 20 ml lemon juice
  • 25 ml sugar

Set the oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Soak the slices of bread in water for about
10 minutes. Remove and squeeze water out. Crumble the bread. Heat the oil in a big
frying pan and sauténion. Add curry powder, garlic, cloves, salt and turmeric. Simmer
for about 5 minutes. Place the eggs in a bowl and beat. Then add the mince. Stir in the
onion mixture and then place hot water, lemon juice, bread and sugar in the bowl and combine
all ingredients well. Put this mixture into a greased dish. Bake for approximately 40 minutes
until golden brown.

Combine egg and milk together and beat. Pour topping over bobotie and garnish
with bay leaves. Bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius. Serves 6.


An easy to prepare spicy relish. This South African recipe leaves you a lot of leeway for
creativity, make it according to your personal taste. Make a gravy from chopped tomato and
onion. Add plenty of grated carrot, chillies, garlic, a bit of grated cabbage, baked beans and/or
cauliflower (diced). Cook until soft.

Bread and Butter Pudding

A decadent South African favorite.

  • 4 2cm thick slices of stale white bread without crusts
  • Butter
  • 190 ml currents or 150 ml raisins
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125 ml sugar
  • 1 ml salt
  • 759 ml milk

Thickly butter the slices of bread. Place slices with the buttered side down in a greased
dish. Sprinkle currants/raisins on top. Beat eggs thoroughly and add sugar, salt and milk.
Pour this mixture over the bread. Allow it to soak in for about 30 minutes. Bake for 30 minutes at
160 degrees Celcius with a cover. Uncover and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown.
Serve hot. Top with golden syrup, jam or honey.

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African Image Art Gallery

Are you decorating your home and looking for that final touch? Perhaps something to fill in that bare spot on the wall or an empty corner. Perhaps a center piece or conversation piece. Are you a tourist in South Africa looking for a gift for someone back home or some memorabilia that will reflect your exciting African adventure? Look no further than African Image Art Gallery in Cape Town. An .

A bit of bobotie history

Bobotie’s roots in South Africa date back to the 17th century. Dutch traders set up camp in the area that is now Cape Town as a stopping point on their journeys back and forth to Indonesia. The traders brought spices, cooking techniques, and recipes with them. While the specifics are a bit vague, it is thought by some that the original bobotie recipe came from Indonesia and was adapted to fit the available ingredients.

Today many consider bobotie to be the national dish of South Africa, and it has become popular on menus featuring South African cuisine all over the world.

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Lizel, I loved your book so much. It reminded me of growing up back home. I may have moved down to the West Coast now, but rustling up the Plaatkoekies on a Sunday Afternoon or Pancakes when it rains just brings back those great times. Thanks for a great collection, cannot wait to try them all!


Samoosas (also spelt Samosas) are one of South Africa’s favourite treats, as popular as bobotie, boerewors and biltong. The spicy savoury is triangular-shaped. Its pastry is filled with delicious vegetarian fillings or spicy meat that are deep-fried and so tasty you won’t be able to resist having another, and another…

Samoosas are often mistaken for being linked to the Cape Malay community, but in fact they are of Indian origin. Making the dough can be a little time-consuming, so – if you’re super busy – make this scrumptious recipe more easily by purchasing pre-made springroll or samosa pastry from your local supermarket. Enjoy…

  • 500gr Minced Beef, Chicken or Lamb
  • 2 Onions chopped
  • 1 tsp Ginger & Garlic paste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Curry Powder
  • ½ tsp Tumeric
  • 1 Tbles of Ghee or Butter
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • Fresh Coriander chopped
  • Oil for frying
  1. Braise the mince with the,ginger and garlic, spices and salt.
  2. When almost dry, add the chopped onions and cook until all the liquid has evaporated, stirring often to prevent from forming lumps. (the onions should remain crisp)
  3. Add ghee or butter and stir through the mixture.
  4. Add the chopped coriander.
  5. Allow the mince to cool before filling the samoosas
  1. For the flour paste use ½ cup of flour and just enough water to form a thick paste. This will be the glue that you use to seal the samoosas.
  1. Cut the pastry into 6cm wide and 30 cm long strips
  2. Cover with a damp cloth to prevent the pastry from drying out while filling the samoosas.
  3. Holding a strip of pastry in your left hand, pull the bottom corners across and fold it up to form as a triangle with sharp corners and a pocket in which to put the filling.
  4. Fill with about 10ml filling, then continue folding the pastry across the top of the triangle to seal off the opening. Tuck the edges round to form a triangle and close the samoosa tightly ensuring that there are no gaps at the corners of the triangle.
  5. Seal the remaining edge tightly with the flour paste.
  6. You should now have a complete triangle or for easy reference watch the youtube video below.
  7. The samoosas can be frozen at this stage.
  8. Fry the samoosas in hot oil for 10 minutes or until golden brown, turning them often.
  9. Remove and drain on a paper towel to remove any excess oil.

Watch this tutorial on how to fold samoosas

Samoosa leaves can be purchased from your local spice shop, butchery or bakery or you can use springroll pastry.
Samoosa's can be frozen for 3 months and it can be fried directly from the freezer.
Makes approx. 30-40 samoosas

South African pap recipe

Pap ingredients

  • 2½ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cups maize meal
  • Butter (just a dab)

  • Place your aluminium pot on the stove, the fire at medium heat. As the pot is heating up, get your pap ready. Also, the pot doesn’t have to be an aluminium one.
  • Then pour water into the pot. You can use tap water. Allow the water to boil before adding salt to it. But don’t let the water boil over. If it is showing signs, pour some away into the sink.
  • Add in your maize meal and turn down the heat. If you’re using a gas cooker you might want to turn it even lower.
  • The maize meal is stirred in. Then, remove the lid after simmering for five minutes and then flavour with some butter. Close the lid and lower the heat.
  • In the process of cooking, remove lid only twice to stir. It should take half an hour to cook. Also, be careful so that your maize meal doesn’t burn.

Sauce ingredients

  • A small jar of tomato sauce
  • 1 apple
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • A few garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • Pinches of salt and pepper
  • First, get your ingredients ready. Grate your apple after peeling it. Cut your onions and crush one or two bulbs of garlic. Then mix everything in a bowl
  • Pour two tablespoons of olive oil with your stove at medium heat, and then add all the ingredients. Stir to make sure the heat spreads evenly. And if your ingredients are sticking to the bottom of the pan, add some more olive oil.
  • As the pan is cooking, add your tomato sauce, soy juice, and sugar. Continue stirring as you add a bit of salt and pepper.
  • Turn the heat down and continue to stir. After ten minutes put off the stove and let your pan cool aside.
  • Serve by pouring the sauce over the pap or beside. Also, add some chopped tomatoes to beef up the sauce.

However, stir well to make sure your pap is rid of hard lumps. Also, be careful not to overcook as this might make your pap lose density.

Iconic South African Recipes


Anchovette - What Marmite is to the British, so Peck&aposs Anchovette is to peckish South Africans: a savory paste for slathering on a slab of well-buttered toast. As the name suggests, Anchovette has a list of briny ingredients (including, of course, anchovies) that lives up to the eye-catching motto printed on each 4.4-ounce jar: "91% FISH."

Biltong - South Africa&aposs national snack. Similar to beef jerky (although some gourmands liken the best versions to prosciutto), biltong is air-cured beef (or, sometimes, ostrich or springbok), laced with roasted coriander and designed to be gnawed in front of the telly during cricket matches, either sliced or in chewy "snap sticks."

Boerewors - German settlers created this "farmer&aposs sausage" in the 1800s. Served up with a goodly dollop of pap en sous (African corn polenta accompanied by an herby tomato sauce), boerewors are now ubiquitous at backyard braais (see below). When dried, these plump, coiled tubes of minced beef and pork spiked with coriander and cloves become droewors, a kind of Kalahari Slim Jim, and the cylindrical cousin of biltong.

Braai - Inspiring no end of rapture among all parts of South Africa&aposs population, the cherished braai (rhymes with "eye") is essentially an open-air, open-flame barbecue. Anything and everything is liable to be charred, from boerewors to lamb chops to lobster to the ever-popular snoek (see below). According to South African culinary expert Lannice Snyman, Winelands braaiers feed their flames with vine stumps up in the Free State, braai-heads prefer to stoke up with corn cobs.

Bunny chow - This beloved takeaway dish originated a century ago in the curry houses of Durban, a South African city that has the largest Indian population outside of the mother country. A quarter or half loaf of white bread is hollowed out to make a yeasty, chewy "bowl," which is then filled with spicy chicken, lamb, or bean curry. This portable and delicious concoction was invented as a way of bypassing South Africa&aposs race laws, which prohibited African patrons from eating inside Indian and Malay establishments.

Mrs. Ball&aposs Chutney - Not to be confused with the tangier Major Grey&aposs, Mrs. Ball&aposs Chutney is South Africa&aposs answer to ketchup: an addictively sweet and zesty concoction engineered for dousing hamburgers or as a down-home, Anglo-style sambal (Southeast Asian sauce) for curries.

Peri-Peri - When Portuguese sailors made port of call in what&aposs now South Africa and Mozambique, they brought ashore little chile peppers called bird&aposs eyes, or peri-peri in Swahili. The name also came to refer to the piquant sauce made from these chiles, as well as to the Portuguese-African method of cooking prawns, chicken, or anything else in this sauce. Nando&aposs bottled version is a mainstay for those who don&apost want to make it from scratch.

Snoek - South Africans&apos rabid devotion to Thyrsites atun, better known as snoek, ensures that this bony, barracudalike, oily-fleshed fish— reputed to be quite fierce at sea—turns up in a variety of tasty guises: smoked, braaied with apricot glaze, mashed into pâté, or braised in a rice dish called smoorvis. The curious Afrikaans expression "Slaat my dood met &aposn pap snoek!"—used to indicate surprise or dismay—translates as "Hit me dead with a soft snoek!"

South African Food Traditions and Festivals [ edit | edit source ]

One of the most important food traditions in South Africa is the selling of the green mealies, roasted and eaten on the cob. They are sold on street-sides in braziers put together on the pavement, and are offered usually by women. The food sold in braziers includes dried and broken maize kernels, samp and beans, or umngqusho (a South African traditional snack). Food traditions often relate to the social gathering known as Braai, where Pojitekos are being prepared in a big family get-together.

Africa generally is considered to be the festival continent. South Africa has a lot of colorful and vibrant festivals related to culture, traditions and harvest crops. There is an Addo Elephant festival, and a Hermanus Whale Festival when racing, contest and dance festivals take place, accompanied by food fests prepared in traditional methods of local cuisines. The prickly pear festival held in February is a day of celebrating traditional food such as potjiekos, ginger beer, pancakes, home-made jam and pudding, and a spit and fish braai.


Probably the most-loved South-African snack, biltong is a dried, cured, and spiced meat. While not as sweet, biltong and American beef jerky share some similarities. Beef biltong remains a favourite, but venison biltong is also popular. More unconventional versions, like chicken biltong, are also available. Served as a snack at just about any social gathering, many potjiekos recipes also include it as an ingredient.


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