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.


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.

Tipsy Tart

south-african-tipsy-tartTipsy tart consists mainly of dates, sugar, flour and brandy. It is a variant of the Malva and Cape Brandy pudding.

Ingredients need to make your own tipsy tart

  • 250g dates(has to be cut up)
  • 5ml bicarbonate of soda
  • 250 ml boiling water
  • 250 ml sugar
  • 125 gram better
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 375 ml of cake flour
  • 5 ml baking powder

How to make the sauce

  • 250 ml brown sugar
  • 250 ml water
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
  • 5 ml butter
  • 125 ml brandy

Baking time approximately 30 minutes – Oven temperature 180 Celsius.
Put dates in container and add bicarbonate of soda over it.
Pour the water over it.
Beat the sugar, butter and egg until it is creamy and add the dates.
Sieve the flour and baking powder and add to the above mixture.
Pour into a tart pan and bake for 30 minutes at 180 C

In the meantime while waiting for the tipsy-tart to bake you start making the sauce.

Boil the sugar and water for 5 minutes.
Add vanilla and butter and cool slightly.
Then add the brandy.
When the tart comes out of the oven, pour the syrup over the hot tart. Dish up with a dollop of cream.

Traditional South African Food

poytjie braai

Traditional poyjie braai

South African food is vibrant and highly fascinating to most first-time visitors to our beloved culturally diverse country.  A well-prepared traditional meal may just prove to be the highlight of your travels to South Africa.  Several bistros and restaurants specialize in South African cuisine and serve a great multitude of traditional Saffa-dishes for your enjoyment.

Attempting some tasty traditional African meal ought to be part of every visitor’s itinerary.   As with most countries, South Africa’s food heritage is firmly intertwined in its history and the make-up of its people and their identities.  A variety of specialized dining establishments in South Africa do an outstanding job of offering both conventional and contemporary African meals to visitors and the general public.  Each recipe mirrors one or more of the different cultural influences discovered around the African continent.  Naturally the Rainbow nation boasts a multitude of cuisines, all forming a part of the iridescent tapestry that makes up our South African heritage.

A traditional African meal is typically prepared over a fire or inside a 3-legged pot (also known in Afrikaans as a “Potjie”), therefore meat is mostly served grilled or as a stew.  The meat is usually accompanied by some kind of starch e.g. rice or potatoes.  Most often the starch of choice would be a local Maize porridge, also known “mieliepap” in Afrikaans, or “phutu pap”, depending on the consistency of the final products.  This savoury African creation usually comes with pumpkin, beetroot, cabbage and carrots as the main vegetables.   Mieliepap can also be served as a crumbly breakfast option, perfect with some sugar and milk.

Other common South African meals consist of Morogo, Tripe, Amadumbe, Chakalaka, and the well-known boerewors roll (a kind of beef sausage on a white hot-dog roll).

Tripe is a traditional meal highly favoured by a many Africans.  In the Western Cape this kind of fare is considered a regional delicacy and is commonly offered lightly curried and is served accompanied with smallish potatoes and some fried onions depending on your personal taste.

Morogo is a kind of wild green spinach. It is combined with butter-braised onions and tomato or even mixed into traditional maize porridge; it is seen as a rural ingredient with traditional appeal and charm.

Amadumbe is a pleasant potato and peanut mash.  A delicious bistro variant of this meal is to prepare some potatoes, mash them up with some butter and sprinkle them with roasted peanuts, rounded off with a trickle of honey.

Chakalaka is a spicy relish served together with the main dish and contains green peppers, grated carrots, sliced-up onions, vinegar and chilli.  Most cooks and housewives pride themselves on that one secret key ingredient which will differentiate their offering from another cook’s chakalaka.  Perfect spooned over “stywe pap”, chakalaka serves as more of a condiment than a stand-alone part of a plate of food.

The boerewors roll is a wholly South African food.  It is seen as the South African version of the NYC hot-dogs.  Normally seen at a roadside stands and just outside supermarkets and butcheries, boerewors (an assortment of spicy sausage meat) is grilled over an open flame, then placed on a roll (white bread bun) and then it’s covered in tomato sauce and mustard. What more can I say – Just delicious!

Various other regional favourites include a wide range of scrumptious Cape Malay meals, traditional South African biltong (South African version of beef jerky) and not to mention the famous curries and Bunny-chows of Kwa-Zulu Natal.  If you want to try something more the wilder side you should try smoked chicken feet and heads — referred to as the “walkie-talkies” — a very popular meal in the rural part of South Africa and served in townships as take-away fare.

We are certainly not forgetting those foodies who have a bit of a sweet-tooth.  South Africans love their desserts and boast many unique and tasty after-dinner specialities.  Top of our list has to be the koeksister – a type of sticky, syrupy doughnut consisting of plaited dough which is deep-fried and then smothered in home-made syrup.  This sweet treat has its origins in the Western Cape and is a variant of the more traditional Malay koeksister which is not as terribly sweet and contains more fragrant spices.  It is also not plaited and is traditionally sprinkled with coconut.  Both versions are completely delectable in their own way.

Melktert is another favourite, literally translated as ‘milk tart’ – reminiscent of a baked custard but with wonderful warm notes of cinnamon and nutmeg.  This tart can be served hot or cold, with or without a crust and is the perfect afternoon tea-time treat.

Malva pudding is a delicious caramelised baked sponge-pudding also from the Cape region.  The word “malva” refers to the Rose geranium leaves which were traditionally placed on the bottom of the baking dish before the dough was poured in.   Today this part of the recipe is generally left out which is a shame as it is such a delightful aspect which makes this desert uniquely South African.