South Africa

South Africa: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | South Africa | Rainbow Image

The cooking of South Africa, often called "rainbow cuisine," is a mixture of indigenous African dishes, the cooking of Dutch and English settlers and the well spiced foods of Malays, Indians and Indonesians who were brought to South Africa as slaves and servants in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Read more »


Meats | Bobotie Image

(South African curried meat casserole)

Bobotie is a very old South African dish with probable origins in Indonesia or Malaysia. The name derives from the Indonesian "bobotok," and the dish was likely adapted by Dutch traders and brought back to the region around Cape Town. Read more »


Meats | Boerewors

(South African homemade farmer's sausage)

This spiral-shaped sausage is a popular braai (barbecue) meat in South Africa. Made with beef and pork and flavored with coriander and vinegar, boerewors has its roots in the Netherlands. And while it originated with white Afrikaner South Africans, this tasty sausage is now popular throughout southern Africa. Read more »


Soup | Bredie

(South African lamb stew)

Bredies are simple, traditional South African mutton stews in the Cape Malay tradition. The most popular are green bean bredie, tomato bredie and cabbage bredie. A basic bredie recipe is listed here, with the more common variations below. (Tip: A bredie will always taste better served the day after it is made.) Read more »


Vegetables | Chakalaka

(South African spicy tomato, pepper and onion dish)

Born in the townships of South Africa, chakalaka is a simple, spicy dish of onions, tomatoes and often beans. It has been a staple for generations of black South Africans, and is a required condiment at South African braais, or barbecues. And what a fun name! Read more »


Grains | Geelrys Image

(South African yellow rice with raisins)

Geelrys is one of many South African dishes with roots in the Dutch East Indies. This sunny yellow side dish is the traditional accompaniment to bobotie. Read more »

Malva Pudding

Desserts | Malva Pudding

(South African apricot-flavored baked pudding)

South African Cape cuisine brings us malva pudding, a mouthwatering piece of homecooking — part cake, part pudding — that shows up at many a family gathering. This apricot-flavored dessert gets its name from the fact that it was at one time commonly served with Malvasia, a sweet dessert wine. These days it's more often nestled up against a scoop of ice cream. Read more »

Mealie Pap

(South African cornmeal mush; see Ugali recipe)


Appetizers | Samosas Image

(Indian deep-fried potato pastries)

Samosas are the perfect chaat, or Indian snack food. These tetrahedral pastry pockets are made with a variety of stuffings, both vegetarian and with meat. But a simple spiced potato and pea filling is the most popular. Read more »


Meats | Sosaties

(South African curry-marinated lamb and apricot kebabs)

Sweet and sour with the subtle spice of curry, sosaties are one of the great braai (barbecue) foods of South Africa and a hallmark of Cape Malay cuisine. This recipe for lamb kebabs was brought to the country by Malaysian laborers. Start the recipe mid-week for a weekend braai; the meat should marinate 3 days for best flavor. Read more »

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