Miscellaneous / Ten (10) to Inspire

Flavours Of South Africa – Recipes For All The SA Favourites

Updated Thursday, 24 October 2019

There are a few things that South Africans do really well – play rugby, tame lions, and make really good food. The food is so good, in fact, that visitors keep talking about it until the next time they visit.

Part of the reason we make such awesome food is because there are so many cultures that make up the melting pot that is South Africa. That means that our traditional dishes – the ones that make the biggest impression – have influences from Dutch, Malay, African and French cuisine. So, we’ve put together…

…a list of the best-known South African dishes and our favourite recipe for each


Basically, this is mince stew with savoury custard. But, in reality, it’s so much more. The flavours are deliciously deep and irresistible, perfectly balancing meaty moreishness with sweet highlights; complementing one another perfectly. This dish has Dutch roots, but was adopted and perfected by the local Cape Malay community. This particular recipe was featured in the Getaway magazine.

Ingredients (Serves 8)

1 thick slice bread, crusts removed
375 ml milk
25 ml oil
10 ml butter
2 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
25 ml curry powder
10 ml salt
25 ml chutney
15 ml smooth apricot jam
15 ml Worcester sauce
5 ml turmeric
25 ml brown vinegar
1 kg raw beef mince
100 ml sultanas (raisins are too sweet for this recipe)
3 eggs
1 pinch salt
1 pinch turmeric
6 – 8 bay leaves


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Leave the bread to soak in the milk.
  • Heat the oil and butter together in a pan, then add the onions and garlic. Allow them to fry until the onions are soft.
  • Add curry powder, salt, chutney, jam, Worcester sauce, turmeric and vinegar to the onions. Mix well.
  • Drain and mash the bread, keeping the milk to one side.
  • Add the bread, mince and sultanas to the onion mixture in the pan.
  • Cook the mixture on a low heat, stirring regularly.
  • When the meat begins to brown (all the pinkness is gone), remove it from the heat.
  • Beat one of the eggs well, then add it to the pan and mix well.
  • Spoon the mince into a greased baking dish (28 cm x 16 cm). Level the top.
  • Beat the remaining eggs with the milk from the bread (about 300 ml), salt and turmeric.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the meat and top with the bay leaves.
  • Put the dish in a larger pan of water (to prevent the bobotie from drying out) and bake, uncovered, for an hour or until it is set.
  • Serve your delicious bobotie with cooked rice, desiccated coconut, sweet chutney, and sliced bananas


Siba Mtongana is a celebrity chef in South Africa and she shared her favourite chakalaka recipe so that we never have to be without this spicy relish again. It goes well with just about anything savoury.


3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 hot chillies, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
50 g ginger, finely grated
2 tbsp mild curry powder
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
5 large carrots, grated
400 g canned tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
400 g canned baked beans
2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
Salt and black pepper to tast


  • Heat the oil in a pan, then add the onions and fry them until they are soft and translucent.
  • Add the chillies, garlic, half of the ginger (the other half will be added right at the end), and the curry powder. Mix well.
  • Add the green, red and yellow peppers and cook for another two minutes.
  • Then, add the carrots and stir well. All of the ingredients need to be well coated in the curry powder.
  • Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, and mix.
  • Cook the chakalaka mixture for five to 10 minutes, until it is well combined and slightly thickened.
  • Remove it from the heat and add the baked beans, thyme and remaining ginger. Season it with the salt and pepper and mix it well.
  • Serve your chakalaka hot or cold.

Butternut Soup


Butternut is a type of squash and is really common in South Africa. It is just the right combination of sweet and creamy, making the perfect winter’s soup. This easy recipe was featured on Food24.

Ingredients – (Serves 4)

1 tsp butter
1 onion, chopped
500 g butternut, peeled and cubed
A pinch of ground cumin
300 ml chicken stock
15 – 20 ml lemon juice
125 ml cream
Salt and ground pepper to taste


  • Melt the butter in a pan and sauté the onion in it for 30 seconds.
  • Add the butternut, cumin and chicken stock and bring it to the boil.
  • Then, reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer the soup for 15 minutes (until the butternut is soft).
  • Remove the soup from the heat. Add the lemon juice and cream; then pour it into a food processor or blender and blitz it until it is smooth.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with hearty bread.



You haven’t been to South Africa until you’ve bitten into a syrup-soaked koeksister. It can broadly be compared to a decadent type of doughnut. The outside should be crisp, the inside as light as a dream; and the entire treat should be dripping in syrup if you’re going the Afrikaans route. Traditional Malay koeksisters are often a little denser and less syrupy, coated in coconut. We’re featuring the Afrikaans version, thanks to a recipe we found on the SA Promo Magazine website


SYRUP (make this the night before, if possible):
500 ml water
1 kg sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
Sliced rind and juice of 1 lemon
5 – 10 ml (1 – 2 tsp) glycerine

TIP: Make two syrup mixtures so that you can keep one cold while working with the first batch. Cold syrup means crispy koeksisters!

500 g flour
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp baking powder
55 g butter, chopped finely or grated
1 egg
250 to 375 ml milk and water mixture
Cooking oil for baking



  • Dissolve the sugar in the water gradually, and add the cream of tartar.
  • Bring the syrup to the boil, then simmer it for five minutes.
  • Add the lemon (rind and juice) and the glycerine. Remove the syrup from the heat and allow it to cool overnight in the fridge.


  • Sieve all of the dry ingredients together and rub the butter in with your fingers.
  • Beat the egg and add 250 ml of the milk and water. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  • If the dough is too thick or is cracking, add a little water. Knead it until it is bubbly and soft. Then, leave the dough under a damp cloth for about an hour.
  • After an hour, roll the dough out to a thickness of one centimetre. Cut it into rectangles (the size of a business card is ideal). Pinch each rectangle at the end. Or, cut it into strips and plait them.
  • Heat about seven to 10 cm of oil to 180° To test if it’s hot enough, drop a small amount of dough into it – it should fry and turn golden brown.
  • Remove one batch of syrup from the fridge and place the bowl in another bowl of ice to keep the syrup cold.
  • Fry the koeksisters until they are golden brown on all sides (usually only takes a minute or two).
  • Plunge the hot koeksisters into the cold syrup and remove them with a ladle that has holes in it so that the excess syrup can drain off.
  • Let the koeksisters cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Lamb Bredie


A bredie is a delicious stew of meat and vegetables in the Cape. It is the comfort food that trumps all others. Every family has their own favourite recipe and there are endless varieties. This is also a great way to use cheaper cuts of meat, as they react particularly well to the long cooking time.

Ingredients – (Serves 4)

250 g green beans, cut into chunks
45 ml oil
2 medium onions, finely diced
800 g lamb pieces (preferably on the bone)
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 medium tomato, grated
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 green chillies, sliced (or to taste)
2.5 l water
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp granulated sugar


  • Heat the oil and sauté the onions in it until they are caramelised, but not burnt. Then, add the lamb pieces and garlic.
  • Cook on a medium-high temperature for 25 minutes, until the lamb is browned and the onions are disintegrating.
  • Add the tomato, tomato paste, chillies and salt to the pot. Cook on a low heat for another 40 minutes until the meat is tender (not falling apart). If the bredie gets too dry, gradually add one cup of the water, just to keep it from sticking to the bottom.
  • Add the beans and the remainder of the water and cook the bredie for another 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and serve your bredie on basmati rice.

Note that the lamb can be substituted with beef or chicken.  Vegetable bredies are also delicious.

Bunny Chow


Although chowing bunnies isn’t completely off the cards, this dish has nothing to do with fluffy pets. This is a traditional Durban Indian dish and is perfect for an on-the-go meal when you need more than a snack. In short, a bunny chow is a  loaf of bread, hollowed out and filled with the Durban-style curry of your choice. We got an authentic recipe from SApeople.com.


1 kg lamb pieces
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large cinnamon sticks
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
6 green cardamoms
4 cloves garlic
A sprig of curry leaves
1 tsp crushed green chillies
1 large onion, finely diced
½ tsp turmeric
2 tbsp crushed ginger and garlic mix
1 tbsp vinegar (white, brown, etc)
2 tsp sugar
3 level tsp medium chilli powder
2 tsp dhania-jeeru powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 tomatoes, blended
5 small to medium potatoes, quartered
chopped fresh coriander
salt to taste
1 loaf white bread


  • Heat the oil in a pot; then add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaf and fennel and stir.
  • Add the curry leaves, chillies, onion, turmeric, ginger and garlic. After a quick fry, put the lid on and leave it to braise for three to four minutes.
  • Add the garam masala, spices, vinegar and sugar, and mix well.
  • Add the meat and salt, mixing it well until all the meat is coated with masala. Cover the pot and cook on a moderate heat for a few minutes, stirring from time to time until the meat is braised.
  • Add the potatoes and allow to cook. Check it regularly and add a little water if necessary to avoid burning or sticking to the bottom. When the potatoes are almost cooked through, add the chopped tomatoes.
  • When the potatoes are completely cooked, stir the curry and add the coriander.
  • Hollow out the inner of a loaf of bread (keeping the crust completely intact).
  • Fill the loaf with the curry, and garnish with fresh herbs and greens. Close the bunny with the crust of the bread and serve it with atchar, raw onion rings, chopped chilli, and diced raw tomato.

NOTE: The lamb can be replaced with beef, chicken, mince, sugar beans or a medley of vegetables.

You may also cut the loaf in half to create two smaller bunnies.

Don Pedro


If you didn’t think you could improve on a milkshake, think again. South Africans have elevated the rich and creamy milkshake by adding alcohol! Don Pedros can be ordered just about anywhere and make the perfect adult dessert.

Ingredients – (Serves 4)

750 ml vanilla ice-cream
100 to 120 ml liqueur (traditionally, Kahlua or whisky are used. However, Stroh Rum, Southern Comfort, Cape Velvet or Frangelico also work really well. How much you use depends on how strong you’d like your Don Pedro)
125 ml cream


  • Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blitz until they are well combined and smooth.
  • Serve your Don Pedro in a wine glass, topped with some grated chocolate or a maraschino cherry.


Malva Pudding


This is the ultimate in gooey sponge puddings, best enjoyed after a Sunday roast. It is proudly South African, especially popular in Afrikaans homes. We share Joye Barnard’s recipe from Food24.

Ingredients – (Serves 8)

30 ml butter
250 ml sugar
2 eggs
30 ml vinegar
10 ml bicarbonate of soda
60 ml apricot jam
500 ml cake flour
250 ml milk
1 pinch of salt

500 ml milk
375 ml boiling water
375 ml sugar
60 ml butter
45 ml vanilla essence



  • Preheat the oven to 180° C.
  • Cream the butter, sugar and eggs together in one bowl.
  • In another bowl, combine the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. Then, add the jam.
  • Sift the flour into another bowl. Then, add the creamed butter and the jam mixtures. Mix well, while gradually pouring in the milk and salt to form a batter.
  • Pour the batter into a greased ovenproof dish.
  • Bake for 55 minutes or until golden brown.


  • Bring the ingredients to the boil in a small saucepan, stirring frequently.
  • Pour the sauce over the pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Serve your delicious malva pudding hot with ice cream, cream or custard.

Milk Tart


Thanks to Noeleen Foster, who submitted this recipe to Living and Loving, we all get to enjoy the creamy vanilla deliciousness of this traditional South African dessert.


2 cups flour
1 egg
½ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
125 g butter
Pinch of salt

4½ cups milk
2½ tbsp cornflour
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 pinch of salt
2½ tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 big spoon of butter



  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the egg and beat well.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and blend to create stiff dough.
  • Press the dough into one or two round greased cake tins or pie dishes to create thin bases. Prick the base and bake it until it is light brown.


  • Bring the milk to a boil in a large saucepan.
  • Beat the eggs well. Then add the sugar, flour, cornflour and salt. Mix well.
  • Pour the boiling milk into the egg mixture and stir well.
  • Return the mixture to the stove and cook it over a very low heat until it thickens into creamy custard, stirring it constantly.
  • Add the butter and vanilla essence. Then, pour the filling into the cooked pastry shell.
  • Allow it to cool in the fridge. Once cool, sprinkle cinnamon over the top and serve.



This South African stew, which is traditionally cooked in a three-legged cast-iron pot over hot coals, is courtesy of Potjiekos World. Although we’re sharing the recipe for a beef potjie, just about any stewing meat can be used. If you don’t have a potjie pot, simply use a large pot on the stove.

Ingredients – (Serves 6)

15 ml cake flour
5 ml mixed herbs
5 ml paprika
375 ml beer
1 kg beef fillet, cubed
250 ml beef stock
15 ml butter
1 packet of tomato soup powder
15 ml oil
1 bay leaf
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
15 ml vinegar
15 ml white sugar
10 ml cornflour
8 green beans, cut up
Salt and pepper to taste
4 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped


  • Combine the flour and paprika and mix the meat in well, coating the meat thoroughly.
  • Heat the oil and butter in a pot, add the meat and cook until browned.
  • Remove the meat. Then, brown the onions and sugar in the pot until the onions are soft.
  • Add the beans, carrots and garlic, cover with the lid, and allow it to simmer for about five minutes.
  • Put the meat back in and add the herbs, beer, beef stock, soup powder and bay leaf.
  • Replace the lid and allow the potjie to simmer for an hour or until the meat is soft, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
  • Add the vinegar and cornflour, and stir well.
  • Simmer the stew until the gravy has thickened. Season with salt and pepper.