• Nicky, Digital Researcher, Africa Analyst

10 South African recipes you must try

Updated: Feb 5, 2021



In as much as most African dishes do feature one form of meat or fish, there are actually a good number of African vegetarian dishes that are very delicious and easy to make.


In this article we’ve listed out 10 recipes from South Africa that you should definitely try out.



1. Denningvleis - South African Sweet and Sour Lamb Stew

Check out the recipe here


Denningvleis is a popular South African sweet and sour lamb stew. This dish originated from the Cape Malay community. This tasty stew is made with lamb chops seasoned with tamarind paste, onions, garlic, nutmeg, mustard seeds, salt and brown sugar.


The lamb chops are fried in oil until they are brown all over. The onions and garlic are fried with the other ingredients and water added to form a paste. The fried lamb chops are then added and stirred into the paste until they are coated over with the stew. The meat is layered in a casserole and baked in the oven for about 2 hours, until the meat is tender.







2. Waterblommetjiebredie - South African Water Flower Stew

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Waterblommetjiebredie, which means “small water flower”, is a delicious and hearty stew originating from the Western Cape. This dish is seasonal as the indigenous plant called waterblommetjies, whose flowers are used in preparing the dish, usually sprouts between July and September. The flowers have a texture like that of artichoke leaves, and taste like green beans with a lemony flavor.


The waterblommetjie flowers are stewed together with bony lamb cuts such as the ribs, knuckles or neck. Other ingredients used in preparing this healthy and delicious stew include onions, garlic, potatoes, olive oil, white pepper, lemon, wild sorrel, coriander and other seasonings. The meat is fried till brown, combined with the other ingredients, and then allowed to simmer slowly until the meat becomes very tender.


Waterblommetjiebredie is usually served warm with a side of boiled white rice..



3. Biltong - South African Beef Jerky

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Biltong is a very popular snack eaten all over South Africa. This snack is basically thin slices of tough, salted and air-dried meat. Meat such as beef is often used, or traditionally, games like springbok are used.


Ingredients for preparing Biltong include beef, cider vinegar, salt, black pepper, coriander seed and brown sugar.


The beef is cut along the grain into strips of about 1 inch thick, and placed in a non-metallic container. The coriander seeds are roughly ground, mixed with the rest of the ingredients, sprinkled all over the beef strips. Lastly the vinegar is poured on the meat and everything well combined. The meat is covered, kept in the refrigerator and allowed to cure for 24 hours, with occasional turning. The meat is further air-dried for a few days until it looses most of its moisture.

Biltong is eaten as a snack or appetizer.



4. Bunny chow - South African bread bowl

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This is another very tasty dish and an outstanding fast food often featured in a typical South African restaurant menu. The dish is said to originate from the city of Durban, and consists mainly of a loaf of white bread, cut into quarters or halves, hollowed out in the middle, and filled with hot, spicy meat or vegetable stew.


No, the dish is not made with rabbits. Just the name the food goes by. Ingredients used in preparing Bunny Chow include fresh white bread, stewing lamb, canned tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, fennel, cumin, turmeric, salt, oil, etc.


Bunny Chow is best enjoyed with the hands.



5. Cape Malay Chicken Curry

Check out the recipe here


Cape Malay Chicken Curry is a delicious spicy stew reputed to have been introduced into the cuisines of South Africa by Indonesian slaves brought in by the colonial masters. Cape Malay curry can be prepared with lamb, chicken or even fish.


A traditional Cape Malay chicken curry is made with chicken, tomatoes, potatoes, vegetable oil, onions, fennel, curry leaves, coriander leaves, cumin, tumeric, masala, garlic, ginger and salt.


The onions is sliced and sauteed in hot oil. The chicken, tomatoes and spices are added, followed by the potatoes. Water is added and the stew allowed to simmer on low heat, until the potatoes become soft.

Garnish with coriander and curry leaves, and serve with plain white rice on the side.








6. Koeksisters - South African Syrupy Doughnut

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Koeksister is South African syrup-filled doughnut originating from the Western Cape, and is usually eaten as a snack or dessert. The exterior of the doughnut is crunchy and sticky while the inside is syrupy and moist.


The dough is made of cake flour, baking powder, salt and butter. The syrup consists of white sugar, lemon juice, water and vanilla essence.


The dough is fried, drenched in cold syrup, placed in the refrigerator to cool, and then served cold.








7. Melktert - South African Milk Tart

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Melktert is a delicious Afrikaans dessert consisting of baked egg custard tart made with eggs, milk, and sugar. Melktert is usually served as dessert or enjoyed alongside a steaming cup of coffee.


Ingredients for this dessert include flour, egg, sugar, butter, baking powder and salt for the pastry. The filling usually contains milk, cornflour, sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs.

Dust with cinnamon powder to decorate the tart.










8. Malva pudding

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Malva pudding is a popular South African comfort food and dessert recipe, popularly served after lunch on Sundays.


The pudding, which is spongy and cake-like, is made with flour, sugar, eggs, apricot jam and butter. It is drizzled with a warm, sweet and creamy sauce and best enjoyed when warm.


The pudding is made of soft butter, apricot jam, milk, vinegar, egg, castor sugar, flour and baking powder. These are mixed together and baked in an oven. The sauce is made by boiling ingredients such as butter, sugar, cream and vanilla in a saucepan, over medium heat.


Malva pudding can be enjoyed with ice cream, custard or anything you choose to have it with.






9. Chakalaka - South African veggie stew

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Chakalaka, one of the staple recipes in Johannesburg, is a very healthy, rich and flavorful vegetable dish. The recipe is packed with nutritious ingredients like tomatoes, carrots, baked beans, bell peppers, peppers, onions, salt and ginger. The tomatoes and peppers are grilled to enhance their flavors, and then sauteed with the rest of the ingredients.


Traditionally, Chakalaka is served together with bread or a type of thick sour milk called amasi. It is also featured in most South African barbecues as a salad to accompany barbecued meat.


Chakalaka can be served hot or cold.









10. Vegan Bunny Chow

Check out the recipe here


This is a vegetarian version of the famous South African dish known as Bunny Chow.


Vegetarian Bunny Chow consists of hollowed out white bread, filled with a creamy vegetable stew. Any vegetables of choice can used.

Typical ingredients for a vegetarian Bunny Chow include white bread, chickpeas, carrots, green peppers, tomato paste, fresh tomatoes, curry, ginger, garlic, curry powder, salt.


Sauté the onions and garlic, add diced carrot, green pepper and fresh tomato, and cook until the vegetables are done. Add your spices, chickpeas, tomato paste and water, and cook until the stew is well done.


Scoop the chickpea stew into the hollowed out bread, garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve.



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