South Africa On A Plate

The Most Delectable South African Dishes

South Africans love to eat. Well, the same could be true of any country in the world we suppose, but when the heart longs for home, few things soothe our spirits as much as good old saffa grub.

We’ve put together a feast of some of the most loved South African dishes for any festive occasion – whether to woo the missus, treat the family or commemorate that special religious or historical observance.

The best South African meals for the festive table

Cape Malay Koftas

Cape Malay cuisine is the ultimate fusion food. A mix of truly Capetonian tastes with influences from across the seas, these dishes have been perfected over the years and are the pride of a nation.

For our starter, we’ll be making some koftas.

Ingredients:

  • 5 ml cinnamon powder
  • 2,5ml ground cardamom
  • 50 g raw cashew nuts
  • 50 g raw almonds
  • 30 g raisins
  • 250 g grated paneer
  • 250 mashed potato
  • 1 red chilly deseeded and chopped
  • 2,5 ml garlic powder
  • 25 ml chopped fresh coriander
  • 60 ml gram flour
  • 3 sliced onions
  • 30 ml ghee
  • 4 sprigs of saffron
  • 10 ml chilli powder
  • 400 ml cream
  • 2,5 ml sugar
  • 2,5 ml garam masala
  • Crushed pistachios for garnish
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
  • Oil for frying

Instructions:

  • Heat oil in a large frying pan and add ghee
  • Add onions and chilli powder and sautee
  • Stir regularly over moderate heat for up to 20 minutes until golden brown
  • Remove from heat and cool.
  • Blend once cooled until it is a smooth paste.
  • Add the paste with your cream, sugar, and garam masala.
  • Put mix in a saucepan and simmer until thickened.
  • Chop together cashews, almonds and raisins
  • Mix these in a bowl with cinnamon and cardamom.
  • Mix mashed potato, paneer, chilli, garlic powder and coriander in separate bowl.
  • Separate the mix into 12 equal parts and roll the parts into balls.
  • Make an indent in each ball and fill with fruit and nut mix.
  • Seal the ball with your hand and roll each in gram flour.
  • Place in fridge until ready to fry.
  • Heat oil in pan and fry koftas until golden brown for three to four minutes.
  • Drain to remove oil.
  • Serve your koftas with your onion sauce, crushed pistachios and coriander leaves.

Durban Bunny Chow

One South African claim to fame is undoubtedly our bunny chows, which, of course, have nothing to do with bunnies. This curried bread bowl is a native favourite and a must for any festive table. 

Ingredients

  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 ml fennel seed
  • 1 kg lamb meat (deboned)
  • 2,5 ml turmeric
  • 5 ml crushed green chillies
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 curry leaf
  • 1 diced onion
  • 5 ml crushed ginger
  • 10 ml crushed garlic
  • 10 ml dhania-jeeru powder
  • 5 ml chilli powder
  • 15 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 2 peeled and minced tomatoes
  • 10 ml sugar
  • 5 ml garam masala
  • 4 peeled and quartered potatoes
  • 15 ml chopped fresh coriander
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil to fry
  • Water as needed
  • 6 halved loaves

Instructions:

  • Heat oil in large pot
  • Add dry leaves, seeds, pods and powder and stir
  • Add crushed herbs and curry leaves and braise for 3 minutes.
  • Add all remaining spices except the fresh coriander.
  • Add vinegar and sugar and stir.
  • Add lamb meat and salt.
  • Stir the ingredients until meat is fully covered.
  • Cover pot and braise over moderate heat for 10 minutes stirring occasionally
  • Add the potatoes
  • Add a little bit of water and allow to cook until potatoes are almost cooked.
  • Stir in chopped tomatoes.
  • Stir in coriander when potatoes are cooked.
  • Empty half loaves of contents.
  • Fill loaves with hot chow.
  • Top with emptied bread contents and garnish with some coriander.
  • Serve!

Zulu cabbage side

What better for a South African side than a nice serving of delicious cabbage – a la KZN style! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 green pepper seeded and chopped
  • 1 whole cabbage head chopped
  • 5 ml curry powder
  • 45 ml sunflower oil
  • 3 diced tomatoes
  • 5 ml Aromat or braai spice
  • Water as needed

Instructions:

  • Heat oil in a frying pan
  • Add onion and pepper and sautee over moderate heat until soft
  • Addthe cabbage and cover the mix until the cabbage wilts.
  • Add the curry powder, tomatoes and spice and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Stir occasionally and add water as needed.

Xhosa Umngqusho

To end off our main course, we’re adding some samp and beans to the mix.

Ingredients:

  • 500 ml samp soaked over night
  • 500 ml sugar beans soaked over night
  • 5 ml salt
  • 125 ml sunflower oil
  • 1 onion
  • 60 ml mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 60 ml honey
  • 50 ml butter
  • water
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 peeled and diced potatoes.

Instructions

  • Drain the samp and sugar beans and place in boiling water
  • Add salt and reduce heat once boiling.
  • Simmer mix for one to two hours until beans start to soften.
  • Sautee the onion in oil until translucent
  • Add garlic and curry powder and stir
  • Add the tomato, vegetable stock, potatoes, mustard, honey and 125 ml water and simmer until the potatoes are soft.
  • Drain the samp and beans and add to the rest of the mix.
  • Cook slowly until the beans and potatoes are soft.
  • Stir in butter.

Traditional boere melktert

Nothing screams Afrikaans quite like a fresh slice of gran’s milk tart. So to finish off our saffa feast, we have to add some melktert to our bellies. 

Crust Ingredients:

  • 500 ml flour
  • 250 ml unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg well beaten
  • 15 ml sugar
  • 30 ml ice water
  • 10 ml baking powder

Filling ingredients:

  • 15 ml cold butter
  • 1 l milk
  • 250 ml flour
  • 250 ml sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
  • Cinnamon powder to top.

Instructions:

  • Heat oven to 180°C
  • Slice butter from crust ingredients into thin slices.
  • Add the sugar, ice water and beaten egg into the butter
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder and work the mixture together into a dough with fingers.
  • Rest dough in fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Rub butter, salt, sugar and flour of filling mix together until the mix forms crumbs
  • Place milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce heat and slowly whisk the crumb mix into the milk.
  • Once the mix is dissolved, let it simmer for 5 minutes
  • Remove from the stove and let it cool slightly.
  • Add in the three beaten eggs and mix well.
  • Add 1 teaspoon vanilla essence.
  • Roll out your dough and press into one or two pie dishes.
  • Blind bake the crust for 15 minutes by placing wax paper with dry beans on top to weigh it down.
  • Remove the beans and wax paper and bake for a further 5 minutes until light brown.
  • Pour your milk mix into your prepared crust and bake for a further 10minutes.
  • Once cooled, sprinkle with cinnamon and cool in fridge.

Enjoy your feast

We hope you enjoy your South African feast immensely. Remember to pair your food choices with some South African wine, beer or juice!