South African Dishes

Being South African by birth, many of my friends ask me about traditional South African dishes. Being a country built by many cultures, the cuisine is quite mixed including Indian, Malay, French, Dutch, British, German and, of course, African. Below is a list of some of my favourites:

  • Bobotie – Introduced into South Africa during the 17th century by the Dutch settlers, it was originally an Indonesian dish from the Dutch colony of Batavia which was adopted and adapted by the Cape Malay slaves. Originally made with mutton and pork, it is now usually made with beef or lamb mince. It contains onion, raisins or sultanas, curry powder and and is topped with an egg custard. Recipe here.
  • Bunny chow – Created in Durban, South Africa in the 1940s by the local Indian community, there are various stories around the origin. The dish itself is a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with a local recipe curry made of mutton, lamb, chicken, bean or even chips with curry gravy. Recipe here.
  • Malva Pudding – A sweet pudding of Cape Dutch origin, served hot with custard or ice-cream. It is made with apricot jam and was traditionally served with Malvasia wine from Madeira (hence the name). Recipe here.
  • Pap and Wors – Wors (pronounced vors) or boerewors (literally farmer’s sausage) with traditional South African polenta made from corn meal. The sausage is beef with spices including toasted coriander seed, black pepper, allspice and nutmeg and contains a high proportion of fat. Recipe here.
  • Vetkoek – Pronounced FET-cook it is dough deep-fried in cooking oil and either filled with cooked mince or spread with syrup, honey, or jam. It is thought to have its origins from the Dutch oliebollen. Recipe here.

The are my favourite South African dishes, but there are many more. Here is a quick list with links to their recipes: apricot chicken, biltong, brandy tart, koeksisters, milk tart, mosbolletjies, oxtail potjie, peri-peri chicken livers

Bobotie served with yellow rice - traditional South African dishes
Bobotie served with yellow rice

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