Mosbolletjies or Must buns

Famous South African recipes and deserts

Must buns take a long time to prepare but the final product is definitely worth all the hard work. Obviously the Capetonians will insist that only real must can be used when making South African must-buns, but there is other ways to make must and that is to use raisins in your recipe.

Place raisins in the large screw top jar, add boiling water and let it cool until room temperature is reached. Leave enough space in the jar for the gases which will form at the top. Add yeast, close the lid and wait until the mixture becomes active. Nice and foamy and raisins floating on top. Strain through a sieve and use mixture as leavening.


  • 150 g (25 ml ) unused raisins, finely chopped
  • 625 ml (2 ½ cups) boiling water
  • ¼ cake of fresh yeast (7 g) or 3 ml (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Dried yeast granules, dissolved in 50 ml (4 teaspoon) luke warm water(optional)
  • 240 g (500ml) cake flour


  • 625ml (2 ½ cups) lukewarm milk
  • 250g (1 cups) soft butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 25 ml (2 teaspoons) salt
  • 400g (2 cups) sugar
  • 15 ml (3 teaspoons) aniseed
  • 1 Packet (2.5 kg) cake flour

South African Chicken buriyani (breyani)

In South Africa one of the most popular recipes for entertaining is chicken buriyani. This is tradition and is well-known amongst the Cape Malay. A very good Malaysian cook is Cass Abraham. She says that breyani was traditionally served at the end of the Tamat ceremony. During this ceremony children symbolically celebrate their entrance into adult life. These days everyone eats this delicious rice dish.


South Africans food biggest influences

South AfricaThe influence of Dutch, English, German and French cooking cannot be denied on South African eating habits. With the many wars between small principalities and struggle for religious freedom many Europeans decided to leave their homeland and settled in what is now known today as South Africa. Easy, it could not have been, but they brought their cooking habits and their sense of frugality with them, some of which we still use today.

On the flatlands of the Western Cape they build themselves farms that still exist today, mostly vegetable, stock and wine farms. In the Eastern Cape a group of German immigrants settled and many of the people you find there is of German descent.

The food we now buy in our supermarkets, although we don’t often notice it, but these foods come from European cultures that immigrated to South Africa. But the food that we do recognize from that comes from another country has always been from German origins.
I am talking about rye bread; pumpernickel and sour dough bread, in my mind’s eye we already eating it with cream cheese, ham and a pickle. There are however a vast array of meats, preserved vegetables and cake to be had.

The Christmas Ham served with creamy mustard Mayonnaise could be of a German recipe. The spicy cookies that served with coffee or tea and presented in a little box and given as a present is very special. Apple, mincemeat and nut strudel is another favourite if only it did not take such a long time to make it.

Food of European people were often preserved I suppose because of their cold winters and the people needed to work on the farms or fight in wars. Naturally sauerkraut is a favourite with German-South Africans and goes very nice with a German beer.

South African honey and flavour

South-African-honeyHoney is found all over South African and is well-liked in the food culture of South Africa. Different kinds of honey are produced in the following areas for example:

Hopefield, Vredenburg and Piketberg is well known for the sandveld honey. Here fynbos will be the bee’s main plant for the producing of the honey.
In the Karoo thornbush –honey is cultivated from the thornbush.
To the eastern side of the Cape, South African honey is produced from flower farms in the Caledon region which we know as the Strandfontein.
To the west at places like Citrusdal and Clanwilliam we get honey produced by the bee’s using citrus blossoms as this is an Orange producing area.
In the Klein Karoo where much of our stone fruit grows like peaches, apricots and plums, I expect the honey is from the blossoms of these trees. All South African honey tastes different; you can actually taste honey of fynbos and citrus and notice the difference.
South Africa no doubt has a large array of different honeys, and we have only mentioned a few.
Honey can obviously be used for many purposes eg.

  • To put in your tea for sweetening purposes
  • To bake delicious bread
  • Honey be mixed with lemon juice for medicinal purposes
  • Can be used as a face pack
  • For baking purposes (cake and biscuits)
  • For sauces eg Ina Paarman’s salad dressing

Macaroni Corned Beef Bake

Macaroni-Corned-Beef-BakeThis is not only a South African recipe, but everybody in almost every country in the world and especially mothers and housewife’s sometimes needs to stretch her budget to feed her family.

Everywhere in our country, South Africa this is becoming more of a fact. Years ago when Mr Clive Weil and I am referring to round about 1987 printed a little booklet with recipes in four languages.

I still have the little book with the compliments to Mr Weil and “Nasionale Tydskrifte” in Cape Town. I will now give you two South African recipes.


  • 500 grams Macaroni
  • 1 Onion Chopped
  • 50 grams margarine
  • 40 ml flour
  • 500 ml Milk
  • 1 Large tomato peeled and chopped
  • 1 X 300 gram can corned beef
  • 50 ml chopped parsley
  • 50 ml hot chutney
  • 10 ml mixed herbs
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 125 grams grated cheddar cheese

Cook macaroni as directed on the packet. Drain water.
Meanwhile fry onion in margarine until tender.
Add flour and stir.
Gradually add the milk, stirring until mixture is thickened and boils.
Add remaining ingredients except the cheese.
Bring to boil.
Mix sauce with hot macaroni and turn into a greased oven proof dish.
Sprinkle cheese over and bake at 180 degrees C for about 20 min
Serve 6 – 9 people

black-forest-trifleBlack Forest Trifle


  • 2 x 497 gram cans condensed milk
  • 2 X 250 smooth cottage cheese
  • 125 ml lemon juice
  • 1 Chocolate Swiss roll (you buy them at your local Checkers store)
  • Cherry liqueur, brandy will also do
  • 1 x 425 can black cherries
  • 100 gram flaked almonds
  • Chocolate Flakes
  • Cream for decoration – This is optional


In the mixing bowl combine condensed milk, cottage cheese and lemon juice until smooth.
Slice Swiss-roll into 1 cm slices.
Place a layer of cake in a glass dish.
Sprinkle with liquor, cherries and almonds and cover with some cheese mixture.
Continue in the fashion ending with cheese mixture.
Decorate with chocolate flakes and cream.
Chill about 3 hrs before serving.
Serves 6 – 8.

This dish is an ideal South African dessert for Christmas

The South African pumpkin fritters also known as “Pampoenkoekies”

South-African-pumpkin-frittersThis delicious South African dish is reasonably inexpensive since the main ingredient of this meal is pumpkin. Try and find a sunny place where you can grow this vegetable. It is a standby all-year-round.
Make pumpkin fritters the way grandmother used to do and serve them piping hot. These South African made fritters can be eaten as a desert or with your main meal as an enhancement.

The famous South African boer pumpkins are kept on the roof of the farm house. You can imagine how handy these pumpkins are when you need something for a Sunday afternoon meal.

Pumpkins are founded all over South African e.g.  Western Cape, Karoo, North Western Province, Orange Free State, and the old Transvaal, today it’s called Gauteng. Pumpkins are especially found in dry areas and are therefore reasonably cheap. Most house wife’s have their own recipe since pumpkins can be cooked in many ways. Here is such a traditional South African fritter recipe.

Recipe for Pumpkin Fritters

Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients to make South African pumpkin fritters

  • 450 g peeled pumpkin
  • A pinch of salt and sugar
  • 60g flour
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • Milk (optional)
  • 45 ml (3 tablespoons) sunflower oil
  • 45 ml (3 tablespoons) butter
  • Lemon wedges for garnish

For the cinnamon sugar

  • 100g sugar
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) cinnamon

Steam the pumpkin over boiling water in a vegetable steamer with little salt and sugar until it is just done.
Mix the pumpkin, flour, baking powder and eggs to form a batter of dropping consistency.
Add a little milk if it’s too stiff
Fry spoonful’s in the mixed, heated oil and butter in a big heavy-based oil frying pan.
Drain the fritters on brown paper.
Sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar and serve hot with wedges of lemon on the side.

Famous South African Venison

South african venisonIn South African we have a large selection of meats to choose from. It could be beef, mutton, lamb, pork or chicken. They are all farmed all over this great country, but lately we also have farms that produce venison for commercial use. When I was a child my grandfather and all the farms that were nearby had the yearly shoot somewhere in June/July, but I guess it was not an easy thing for him to do – the hunting season always happened during our winter school holidays, now can you imagine and he had only girls for grandchildren. There would always be a few tears before and after the kill.

The following South African recipe is for Pot Roast Leg or Shoulder of Lamb

This recipe will serve 4

  • 1 small leg or shoulder of venison layered with bacon
  • 1 Carton of 500ml buttermilk
  • 500 grams of mixed dried sherry
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Onion halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 10 Juniper berries bruised
  • 30 ml (tablespoon) of Oil
  • 2 plumb garlic cloves, bruised, peeled and crushed
  • 1 carrot, scraped and thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250 ml (1 cup) meat stock
  • Fresh or dried out naartjie peel


  1. Place the meat in a enamel casserole dish and pour the butter milk over the meat.
  2. Cover the dish with cling warp and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Spoon the dried fruit, wine, cloves and cinnamon into a mixing bowl.  Cover with cling wrap and leave to stand overnight.
  4. Remove the meat from the marinade, wipe it clean and pat dry with kitchen paper.  Season well with salt and paper and rub juniper berries in all over.
  5. Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan and fry the onions, garlic and carrot for 3 minutes. Remove it from the heat and keep it aside for now.
  6. Fry the meat in the same saucepan until browned all over. Return the onion mixture and add the leaves.
  7. Pour off the liquid if any from the dried fruit and add it to the stock.
  8. Add the stock mixture to the meat.
  9. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Add the little bit of water or more stock if you think it is necessary.
  10. Add the soaked fruit cinnamon, cloves and naartjie peel and pot roast uncovered for a further 30 min.

Chargrilling South African style

grilled-porkneckBarbecuing meat is a national pastime of South Africa. The outdoors is very popular with South Africans and therefore you often find South African taking chops, sausages and other meats on their jaunts into the wild.  Other meats that are used for example can be rump steak and pork braai chops. A very simple meal is pork neck steak on the coals.

Use steak instead of chops. Steak is without the bone when compared with chops. Mustard can be used as flavoring since it already contains salt, sugar and other traditional South African spices. Another ingredient that you can use is matured white cheddar (300g.)

Finally Portuguese bread-rolls will complement the Pork neck steaks.
Braai the Pork neck steaks over moderate-warm coals for about 10 – 15 minutes until the meat is medium rare. Both sides are sealed by the heat of the fire. Apply the mustard to meat. Finally you divide the cheese to each piece of meat and let the heat melt the cheese.

The bread rolls are cut in the middle and you place the pork neck steaks with the mustard and the melted cheese together. There you have a delicious and simple South African meal.

Buttermilk Pudding

This pudding hail from the West Coast of South African round about Lambersbay, and has no frills and it an easy pudding to make. Buttermilk results when milk and cream is separated, and part of the process results in buttermilk. (a true saffa favorite)

Recipe for Buttermilk Pudding

  • 60ml(4 tablespoons) butter
  • 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) sugar
  • 30 ml(2 tablespoons) cake flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 500ml (2 cups) Buttermilk
  • 500 ml (2 cups) Fresh Milk

Melt the butter, add sugar and beat
Add the Cake Flour and mix
Make a hole in the middle and break the eggs there in. Beat it again.
Add both the buttermilk and fresh milk and beat again.
Ladle into a prepared dish and place into a bigger dish half filled with boiling water.
Bake for about 1 1/2 hrs at 180C until the pudding is set.
Dish up with green figs or some watermelon pieces.

Traditional South African Beggars-Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse-saffa-favouriteEven though this fish originates from the city of Marseille in France, this delicious recipe was brought over by the French Huguenots in the early 17th century and became a South African-French favorite.
This Southern-African fish dish is especially suited for poor people. The freshest catch of the day is traditionally used for tasty bouillabaisse. Both fish and shellfish can be used for this dish. Because of the cost of shellfish a compromise has been reached.

Make a power soup and add the firm flesh of the fish to the soup. Fish that can be used are white and red Steen-bras, angelfish, gurnard or monk.
Peel the skin of the fish and cut it into pieces of 50mm. Skin the onions and cut into the thin slices. Peel the potatoes and cut into thick slices or 30mm pieces. Peal the tomatoes and chop into fine pieces.
Heat the oil in a big container and sauté the onions until it is soft.  Stir the garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, orange peel, laurel leaves, curcuma, sugar, extraction of half the chopped parsley.
Cover and let it boil, reduce temperature and let it simmer until the potatoes are soft – 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the fish to the soup. Cover it and let it simmer until it is well done. More or less 3 – 5 minutes, according to the thickness of the fish.
Remove orange peel sprinkle the parsley over the dish and serve it piping hot.


  • 1.5 litter of fish extraction
  • 1 kg filler of fish
  • 45ml(3e) olive oil
  • 2 middle size onions
  • 3 big potatoes
  • 4 big ripe tomatoes
  • 1 small orange peel
  • 1 laurel leaf
  • 5 ml (1t) curcuma
  • 5ml (1t) sugar
  • 60 ml (4e) shopped parsley
  • 5ml(1t) salt
  • 12 freshly grounded black pepper

Fish extraction
Aromatic fish extraction is a necessary ingredient in the most fish dishes


  • 1.5 Liter of cold water
  • 1 kg clean pieces of fish
  • 1 onion cut in quarter pieces
  • 1 carrot cut in quarter pieces
  • 1 small piece of seller cut in slivers
  • 1 big dry bouquet garnish
  • 1 small laurel leaf
  • 1 small lemon peel
  • 12 black peppers

Mix all the ingredients in a big pot cover it and let it simmer until boiling. Let the extract boil for about 30 minutes and remember to skim the surface for foam.
Use a sieve to draw the fish extraction and press the ingredients to produce a strong fish residue and use this as the base for your fish soup.

Traditional South African Fresh Pear Pie

pear-pie-recipeThis traditional South African recipe was found in a gourmet magazine round about 1980 at the library and since we have pears in Cape Town, South Africa at a reasonable price from February onwards it was a good idea to make the pie. If you find the baking time to long and at the expensive of you electricity bill, put together a casserole and use the hot oven for both.

How to make Fresh Pear Pie

  1. Prep Time: 50min
  2. Baking time: 60 – 65 minutes
  3. Preheat you’re over to 400F or 204 Celsius
  4. Make 8 Servings

Pie Filling Ingredients

  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon of flour
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Pinch of Allspice
  • Pinch of cardamom
  • Pinch of Nutmeg
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 6 cups peeled sliced pears
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Never fail Crust

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cup shortening
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 5 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon of distilled vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Water
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoons granulated sugar


In a large bowl combine brown sugar, flour, spices and salt. Add pear slices, lemon juice and vanilla. Toss gently until well mixed. Set this delicious concoction aside.

How to make the never fail crust

Preheat the oven to 204 Celsius.
In a large bowl combine flour and salt.
With a pastry blender or 2 knives cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a small bowl you can now combine the egg, water and vinegar.
Add all at once to the flour mixture.
Stir until pastry is moist enough to hold together. Now shape it into a ball.
Divide pastry in to 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other.
On a lightly floured surface roll larger piece into an 11 inch circle.
Line a 9 inch pie plate with pastry.
Trim, leaving about a 3 inch circle, now set it aside.

Spoon fruit into pastry lined pie dish, mounting in the middle.
Dot it with butter.
Lightly brush rim of bottom crust with water.
Cover with top crust and fold in edge.
Decorate top with leftover pastry if desired.
Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 15 min, reduce temperature to 375F.
Bake for 45 to 50 min, remove until crust is golden and juice being to bubble.