As far as possible the pioneers of southern Africa obtained their meat by hunting game which was abundant in the land. Out of this hunter's way of life evolved their skill in cooking venison and wild fowl.





Magdaleen Van Wyk's Kitchen



Scrambled Ostrich Egg
One ostrich egg equals about 22 chicken eggs.


1 Ostrich egg
Water - 200ml
Salt - 10ml
Butter - 37.5ml

Beat egg and water together, then add salt. Melt butter in a large frying pan and add the egg mixture. Stir gently to scramble. Serves 12.



Biltong is dried meat which has been salted to preserve it.
It is made from beef, venison, or ostrich meat.
Salting or pickling (curing) meat was the traditional means of preserving it in the days before refrigerators and freezers.
A mixture of salt, saltpetre, vinegar, and spices was used and each has a special part to play - salt preserved the meat, saltpetre imparted the pink colour and prevented bacterial decay, sugar kept the meat moist and tender, and spices added flavour.
Make biltong during the cool dry months. Do not cut meat more than 20mm thick if it is not really cool. In humid areas, dry the biltong in a drying chamber.

In the home it can be used in a multitude of ways to compliment other dishes: thinly sliced as a filling for omlettes, sliced or shredded as a filling for pancakes or crepes, in salads, and especially as a shining compliment to a "Pot - au - feu á la Provencale", and of course, the South African farmer's favourite: plenty of shredded Biltong on a slice of freshly baked bread with plenty of butter.

Beef Fillet, Rump, or Sirloin - 25kg
Fine Salt - 1.25kg
Saltpetre - 20ml
Pepper - 25ml
Coriander, coarsely ground - 100g
Brown Sugar - 250ml
Bicarbonate of Soda - 50ml
Vinegar mixed with 5 litres warm water - 500ml
Cut the raw meat into strips 50-70mm thick, with some fat on each strip.
Mix the salt, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, saltpetre, pepper, and coriander into the meat.
Layer the meat in a glass or plastic container (not metal), and sprinkle a little pure vinegar over each layer.
Leave in a cool place for 24-48 hours, depending on how thick the meat is and how salty you want the biltong to be.
Then dip the biltong in the vinegar and water mixture to make it shiny and dark.
Pat dry and attach hooks or pieces of string. Hang in a cool, dry airy place that is dust and fly free, leaving about 50mm apart so that air can circulate freely around the pieces.
Leave for 2-3 weeks, depending on how tender the meat is.
Makes about 10kg.

Biltong Recipes

Biltong Spread
 (for canapes or sandwiches)
Biltong Muffins
Biltong Potbread





While on the march the pioneers developed ways of dealing with meat and cereals which even their sophisticated settlements later could not surpass and which remain outstanding features of the national way of eating to this day.

The role that the pickled fish played in the colony of the Cape was duplicated by salted meat, spiced and cured, hanging in strips from ropes suspended between thorn-trees. The Cape Malays called meat cured this way tassels, the pioneering and national South African word for it is biltong. The word comes from Dutch with BIL meaning buttock and TONG meaning strip.
The country which comes the nearest to producing an equivalent of biltong is Switzerland where it appears as Bundtner-fleisch or better still, the famous viande de Grison.
At a period when there was no refrigeration and life was constantly one of movement and uncertainty, the game shot for food was never wasted.

What had to be eaten fresh was eaten soon after the killing. Parts of the game like liver and kidneys went on the camp grill almost warm from the animal and were considered to be the greatest delicacies.

The meat which could be consumed pot-roasted over camp fires and so preserved to be eaten cold for some days afterwards formed only a small proportion of the bulk of animals as large in size as say buffalo or eland.

When game of this size was killed, the camp would be pitched for long enough to convert what could not be immediately eaten into biltong.

Most of the fat of the animals was cut away and rendered for making substances like soap or wax for candles. The skins were salted, dried and subsequently tanned to make veld'skoens (shoes), or clothes, lashes for whips, bridles, halters, saddles, harnesses, things for the yokes of oxen, and strips for cross-weaving as a base for chairs and beds.
Once free of sinew and fat, the strips of meat were first rubbed with a little salt, then left for an hour or so before another good rubbing with a mixture made up in the proportions of half a pound of brown sugar to an ounce of saltpetre. It would then be left for a period of anything from one to three days according to the heat and climate in which the animals had been killed, and from time to time rubbed again with the same mixture.
This however was merely a basic mixture and every household had its preferences in this regard. Some even had to deny themselves the sugar, which is a great preservative as well as a disinfectant, because it was so great a luxury. Others added spices like coriander, nutmeg, basil and even a pinch of ginger.
Preserved this way, the meat would last for years and through the outside would look hard, dry, unyielding but the inside would still be red, damp, fragrant and delicious. Indeed the meat within could be so fresh that if thinly cut it could be grilled or fried as a kind of bacon.
The mosbollietjie of the Cape, re-baptised as boer-beskuit, became another fellow traveller. They were made out of a coarse flour and there were many variations in its preparation, the basic being: five pounds of light meal or coarse flour, half a pound of butter or fat, two cups of sugar, raisin yeast or any other suitable yeast, 3 teaspoons of salt, and a pint of milk.
Cooking the boer-beskuit had to be done in ovens improvised out of tins or sometimes cavities scooped out of the sides of abandoned termite hills.
For long periods on end they took the place of bread and in the times of war legislation was passed that a soldier had to have on hand enough biltong and boer-beskuit to last for at least a month.
Making bread was a far more serious proposition because of the longer preparation and greater heat needed at a constant temperature, but when there was time and meal enough for bread it was again baked in ant heaps.

Another type of bread known as as-koek or rooster-koek was made in the same way as for traditional bread but was roasted on red-hot charcoal and being turned over when sufficiently cooked on one side. It had to bake very quickly to make the all-round crust and prevent the characteristic damp of the bread from escaping.
It was served spread with dripping or butter as an accompaniment to the meat when staples such as potatoes or rice were lacking.
The pioneers became inventive in their ways of cooking game and recipes vary according to preferences. Generally recipes were handed down orally from generation to generation until communities became settled.
All sorts of wild animals were eaten.  Various forms of hare were of course a natural for the pot but there are also surviving recipes for tortoise bredies, ragouts, and soups - even the great mountain lizard, the likkewaam, was considered well worth a place on the pioneers' table.
Suitably marinated, zebra fillets and steaks acquired a reputation for providing the tenderest and tastiest meat of all. Antelope of all kinds were killed and eaten, the notable being the impala and the springbok.
The flamingo was considered the greatest delicacy but more often guinea fowl, grouse, wild doves, francolin, wild duck, wild geese, heron and the giant stork. The ostrich was used only in the last extremity to provide a kind of inferior biltong but the eggs were eaten.


Funky Munky Recipes


South African Recipes

Many South African recipes are a mixture of sweet and savoury, like bobotie and curry. This is a legacy of the Malay cooks who adapted oriental recipes, and used local ingredients to create a new and unique culinary tradition.

The curiously tasty mixture of sweet and savoury is peculiarly South African and is achieved by adding dried peaches, apricots, and raisins to dishes.




Magdaleen Van Wyk's Kitchen


Honeyed Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes, peeled and sliced - 1.5kg
Butter - 100g
Water - 200ml
Salt - 5ml
Brown Sugar - 250g
Honey - 25ml
Spices :
Dried Nartjie peel, or tangerine peel, or clementine peel
Cinnamon sticks, or whole ginger crushed
Place all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stew for about 45 minutes or until water has disappeared, shaking saucepan occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove the peel and ginger before serving. Serves 6
Honeyed Sweet Potatoes can also be made in the microwave. Cook the potatoes in the microwave for 8 minutes then put the potatoes and all the other ingredients in a suitable microwave container. Cook on high for 2-4 minutes.

Oven-Baked Sweet Potatoes
Wash the sweet potatoes and peel if preferred. Pat dry and rub with oil or butter. Place on a baking tray and bake at 150C/300F/GM    for 90-120 minutes.

Microwaved Sweet Potatoes
Wash and prick whole sweet potatoes. Microwave on high for 8 minutes. Cover and let stand for 3-5 minutes.

African Sweet Potato Salad

Perfect for a large group, this recipe can be doubled or even tripled. The volume can be stretched a little more by adding additional green peppers, some peanuts, or even some cooked, cubed white potatoes. The seasonings can be varied by adding a dash of cumin, lime juice or chili powder. And sweet potatoes are filled with health-enhancing vitamins and phytochemicals.

4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds) 1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1 medium green pepper, chopped 1 small onion, chopped 1 stalk celery, chopped Parsley

Heat enough salted water to cover potatoes. Add potatoes. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and cook until tender 30 to 35 minutes; drain.
Cool potatoes; slip off skins. Cube potatoes; place in glass or plastic bowl. Mix oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper; pour over potatoes. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Stir in green pepper, onion and celery. Garnish with parsley. Serves 6.



Lamb - 1kg cut into 1 inch cubes
Pork - 1kg cut into 1 inch cubes
Mutton fat - 125ml cubed
Onions - 3 quartered
Dried Apricots - 250g
Smooth Apricot Jam - 75ml
Brown Sugar - 25ml
Cornflour - 12.5ml
Curry Powder - 25ml
Salt 12.5ml
Pepper - 5ml
Garlic - 3 cloves
Bay Leaves - 2
Wine Vinegar - 25ml
Combine the apricot jam, sugar, garlic, cornflour, bay leaves, curry powder, vinegar, salt and pepper and add onion quarters.
Cook until slightly thickened then remove from the heat and pour over the lamb, pork, and mutton fat cubes. Marinate in a plastic or glass container (not metal) for 4 hours in a cool place, turning 2-3 times.
In the meantime soak the apricots in water until plump.
Remove the meat from the marinade and thread onto skewers, alternately with the mutton fat, apricots, and onion.
Grill over coals, or on a barbeque until done, basting with the marinade as required. Alternatively, grill or bake in the oven. Serves 6-8
Serve at a BBQ or Braai with other foods, or alternatively with Crumbly Mealie Porridge or Pot Brood (Bread).

Pumpkin and Mutton Bredie
A Bredie is a traditional South African dish made from Mutton. Lamb can be used but the flavour will not be as good.
Mutton or Stewing Lamb - 1kg
Pumpkin, peeled and cubed - 2kg
Potatoes sliced - 500g
Onions sliced - 2
Stock, water, or wine - about 250ml
Spices :
Garlic crushed - 1 clove
Brown Sugar - 10ml
Salt - 10ml
Ground Black Pepper - to taste
Ground Cinnamon - 5ml
Whole Ginger crushed -
Oil, Margarine, or Lard for frying
Saute onions until transparent. Add meat and brown quickly. Add salt, pepper, a little stock and simmer gently, covered, until meat starts to get tender. Then add potatoes, pumpkin, ginger, brown sugar and ground cinnamon, and the rest of the stock and stew for 60 minutes.
Serve with rice, couscous, noodles, or crushed wheat. Serves 6
A Bredie should always simmer gently to allow the flavours to combine.

Traditionally Bobotie was made with leftover meat from the Sunday roast, and mutton, beef, or pork is used, although you can also use stewing lamb. I am not sure whether Bobotie is made from chicken meat.

Minced Beef or Mutton - 1kg
Onion finely chopped - 1
White bread - 1 slice
Seedless Raisins - 125ml
Blanched Almonds - 125ml
Milk - 250ml
Eggs - 3
Spices :
Apricot Jam - 15ml
Fruit Chutney - 15ml
Lemon Juice - 25ml
Mixed Herbs - 5ml
Bay Leaves - 4
Curry Powder - 10ml
Turmeric - 5ml
Salt - 10ml
Oil - 10ml
Soak the bread in the 125ml milk, squeeze dry and mix with the minced meat. Then mix in all the other ingredients except the oil, eggs, bay leaves and the remaining milk.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown meat mixture lightly. Turn out into a casserole dish.
Beat the eggs with the remaining milk and pour over the meat. Garnish with the bay leaves and bake in the oven at 180C/350F/GM  until set - about 50 minutes. Serves 8.
The best South African Chutney is by far Mrs. Ball's Traditional Peach Chutney, available from South African stores. 

Boerewors is a spicy sausage and unique to South Africa. When making the meat mixture it should not be overprocessed and must be crumbly. Use good quality fresh, not frozen, meat. Spices can be varied to taste.
Minced Beef - 1.5kg
Minced Pork - 1.5kg
Pork speck (fat) cut in small cubes - 500g
Sausage casing - 100g
Spices :
Salt - 25ml
Pepper - 5ml
Coriander - 50ml
Grated Nutmeg - 2ml
Ground Allspice - 2ml
Ground Cloves - 1ml
Worcestershire Sauce - 50ml
Vinegar - 125ml
Garlic crushed - 1 clove
Roast the coriander, then crush or grind in a pepper mill. Combine with all other ingredients, except the casings. Fill the casings with the mixture, making sure that the fat is well-distributed and do not pack too tightly. Makes 3-4kg.

Cake Flour - 500g
Eggs - 2
Sugar - 800g
Butter or Margarine - 50ml
Milk - 250ml
Water - 375ml
Baking Powder - 30ml
Cream of Tartar - 2ml
Cinnamon - 3 sticks
Ground Ginger - 2ml
Salt - 2ml
Oil for deep frying
First make syrup :
Heat water in a saucepan, add sugar and stir until dissolved, washing down sugar crystals adhering to the sides of the saucepan. Then add cream of tartar, ginger, and cinnamon. Boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Do not stir. Remove from heat and chill.
While syrup is chilling make the koeksisters -
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Beat eggs and milk together and add to dry ingredients. Mix dough well, then knead lightly for 2 minutes to make it pliable. Cover basin with wax paper and leave for about 1 hour.
Roll dough out to 10mm thick. Cut strips 80mm x 40mm. Make 2 vertical cuts in each strip, starting 5mm from the top and cutting right down to the bottom. Plait strips loosely and secure at loose end.
Heat oil to 190C/375F and deep-fry koeksisters for 1 minute. Do not fry too many at once.
Remove from oil and drain on brown paper for 1 minute then dip in cold syrup for 30 seconds. Place on a dish to dry. Makes 24.
Syrup must remain cold, so use only small quantitiesat a time and leave the remainder in the fridge.


Bottled Grape Must is available in the wine-producing areas of South Africa. If you can't obtain this use instead 1.5 litres of raisins and water, add yeast and sugar and proceed as described.
Bread Flour - 500g
Cake Flour - 4.5kg
Water - 1 litre
Sugar - 750g
Boiled Milk - 125ml
Salt - 5ml
Aniseed - 25ml
Yeast Mixture :
Dried Yeast - 5ml
Sugar - 25ml
Raisins - 500g
First make the yeast -
Crush the raisins, with the pips, and boil in water for 15 minutes. Leave to cool until lukewarm and then add the yeast and sugar and stir to dissolve. Leave in a glass or earthenware bowl in a warm place for 24 hours, or until raisins rise to the surface.
Strain the yeast mixture and then mix the bread flour with the mixture. Mix until smooth. Leave in a warm place until foamy and well-fermented - about 2-4 hours.
Melt the butter and add the boiled milk. Mix with yeast mixture. Add cake flour, sugar and salt and enough warm water to make a stiff dough. Stir in the aniseed.
Knead dough until bubbles form, at least 20 minutes. Then cover dough and leave to rise in a warm place overnight or until doubled in size.
Shape into buns and pack close together in greased bread tins.
Allow to rise until doubled in size, then brush with water mixed with sugar.
Bake for 1 hour at 200C/400F/GM , turn out and leave to cool.
Break into rusks and dry out in the oven at 75C/150F/GM for 4 hours. Makes 48-60. 

Fruit rolls are traditional sweetmeats and are easy to make.

Any fresh fruit can be used but if quinces, apples or yellow peaches are used, the peeled fruit should first be boiled.
Mince fruit and add 250ml sugar for every 250ml minced fruit or fruit puree. Grease butter paper and spread evenly with fruit mixture. Leave to dry in the sun, about 12 hours. Loosen fruit from the paper and discard paper. Sprinkle fruit with sugar, roll up and store. 

Apricot Mebos
Unblemished ripe Apricots
Sugar - 250g per 500g mebos
Salt - 1kg to 8 litres water
Soak apricots in salted water overnight.
Drain apricots and remove skins. Then leave whole apricots in sun for 12 hours. Squeeze gently to force out the stones.
Press into round flat shapes and spread out on racks to dry for a few days. During drying, shape mebos by hand by dipping your hands in a mixture of 25ml salt and 2 litres water.
Pack alternate layers of mebos and sugar neatly into small boxes. Store in a dark place.



Phyllis Nun's Kitchen

Peach Chutney
Dried Peaches - 1kg
Sultanas - 500g
Onions - 3
Garlic - 3 cloves
Chopped Almonds - 125ml
Sugar - 500g
Ground Ginger - 10ml
Allspice - 10ml
Cayenne Pepper - 10ml
Salt - 10ml
Vinegar - 1.5 litre
Soak peaches overnight in water to cover. Drain, then add sultanas. Mince the fruit, onions, garlic, and almonds. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or until chutney reaches desired consistency. Bottle and seal. Makes 1.5kg.
For a different version substitute half the quantity of dried peaches for 500g apricots.

Mrs. Balls Fruit Chutney

200g dried pears, chopped 200g dried apricots, chopped 200g dates, chopped 200g dried apple rings, chopped 200g sultanas, 1 liter water 500ml cider vinegar, 400g brown sugar, 2ml chili powder, 2ml turmeric, 2ml freshly grated nutmeg, 2ml freshly ground ginger, 1 clove crushed garlic  

Place the fruit and water in a large bowl. Cover the bowl and leave it overnight. Combine the undrained fruit mixture with the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan. Simmer over low heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil then simmer over low heat uncovered, for about 1 1/2 hours, or until thick, stirring occasionally. Pour into clean warm jars while hot. Fill to within 1.5 cm of the top and cover tightly with airtight, plastic screw-on or pop-on lids, not metal ones, which will corrode from the action of the spices and vinegar. Leave to mature in a cool, dry, dark place for 6-8 weeks before use. 

Peach Jam
Yellow cling peaches
Water - 100ml per 1kg prepared fruit
Sugar - 1kg per 1kg prepared fruit
Lemon Juice - 20ml per 1kg prepared fruit
Halve, peel, and stone the peaches. Then soak in a solution of 50ml salt to 5 litre water to prevent discolouring.
Drain and slice peaches and weigh. Put in a pan and add sufficient water and poach fruit until just soft - about 10 minutes. Warm sugar in oven or microwave, add lemon juice, and stir until sugar has dissolved. Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved before the peaches reach the boiling point otherwise the jam will crystalise. Add to peaches and boil uncovered, until peach slices are shiny and the syrup is thick. Bottle in sterilized jars and seal.

Buttermilk Rusks
Cake Flour - 1.25kg
Seedless Raisins - 125ml (optional)
Eggs - 2
Sugar - 375ml
Buttermilk - 500ml
Oil - 250ml
Margarine chilled - 250g
Baking Powder - 10ml
Bicarbonate of Soda - 10ml
Cream of Tartar - 10ml
Salt - 10ml
Mix flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, and salt together in a bowl. Cut margarine in small pieces and rub into flour mixture until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then add raisins. Beat eggs, sugar, buttermilk and oil together. Add to mixture and mix to form a stiff dough. Shape this into balls and pack tightly in greased bread tins.
Bake at 190C/375F/GM  for 45 minutes. Turn out of tins and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Break into individual rusks. Dry rusks in oven for 4-5 hours at 100C/200F/GM  . Allow to cool completely and store in airtight containers. Makes 45-50.
Serve with a mug of coffee or tea as dunkers.
The ready-made variety are just as good - try Ouma's Buttermilk Rusks - from South African suppliers. 

Cake Flour - 250ml
Egg - 1
Milk - 125ml
Baking Powder - 5ml
Salt - 2ml
Oil for shallow frying - 125ml
Sift the flour, baking powder and the salt together. Beat the egg lightly and add to the mixture, then add the milk and mix until the batter is smooth. Heat the oil in a frying pan and drop spoonfuls of the batter mix into the oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes on one side, flip and fry for 1 minute on the other side. Serve hot sprinkled with sugar, or spread with Peach Jam, or honey.


Ready-roll Puff Pastry - 225g
Eggs separated - 2
590ml - milk
Cornflour - 2 tablespoons heaped
Sugar - 2 tablespoons
Cinnamon - half stick
Cinnamon powder - half teaspoon
Heat oven to 220C/425F/GM7. Roll our pastry very thinly and line an 20cm/8 inch pie dish with it. Cut a circle of greaseproof paper and place on pastry and weight it down with some dried beans. Bake pastry case for 8-10 minutes and remove from oven. Set aside.
Turn oven down to 160C/325F/GM3. Separate eggs and beat yolks with the sugar. Make a paste with the cornflour. Boil the milk with the cinnamon stick.
When the milk has boiled add the cornflour and mix thoroughly. Return to heat and bring to the boil gently, stirring all the time until it thickens. Then remove from the heat and set aside to cool, stirring from time to time to prevent a skin from forming.
When cool, take out cinnamon, add the beaten yolk and sugar mix. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture. Pour into pie case and sprinkle with the cinnamon powder.
Bake the pie for 1 hour until the custard has set. Serve cold.

Apple Tart
Chunky Apple Pie Filling - 1 can
Flour - 2 cups
Egg - 1
Vegetable Oil - 2 tablespoons
Butter or margarine - a quarter of a 250g block
Sugar - 2 tablespoons
Baking Powder - 2 teaspoons
Pinch of salt
Beat together the butter, sugar and oil. Add egg, salt and beat again. Add mixture to dry ingredients and mix together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Line the bottom and the sides of an 8 inch baking tin or pie dish or one of those ready made foil things with the crumb mixture pressing mixture down slightly, and reserving enough for the topping. Spoon over the apple filling and top with the rest of the crumb mixture, patting it down to firm.
Bake at 400F until browned.
Substitute the canned apple for peeled and sliced cooking apples.
I thought I would leave the metric conversions out of this one for posterity. Phyllis always used cups of this and tablespoons of that. And she timed things by looking at it. I on the other hand, used to meticulously weigh and measure everything out and stuck to recipes. My baking was always a miserable show, while hers were perfect!



Avril's Kitchen

Tomato Rice
Long grained Rice - 225g
Tomatoes large skinned, seeded and grated - 2
Onion large finely chopped - 1
Garlic finely chopped - 1 clove
Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Boiling water
Heat oil in saucepan, add onion and garlic and fry until softened but not brown. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes then add the rice. Stir to coat with the sauce then add 2 and a half cups boiling water. Bring back to the boil, cover and cook over a low heat until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.

Bean Soup
Sugar Beans soaked overnight and drained - 200g
Mutton, ham, or beef bones - 750g
Bacon rashers finely chopped - 3
Onion finely chopped - 1
Celery stalks finely chopped - 2
Carrot finely chopped - 1
Butter - 25ml
Salt - 15ml
Pepper - 2ml
Cold Water - 2 litres
Place the bones, bacon and water into a large saucepan, bring to the boil and then simmer for 2 hours. Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the onion, celery and carrot for 3 minutes. Remove the bones from the stock and skim if necessary  then add the vegetables and beans. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Puree soup with a blender or through a sieve, season then return to the heat until it comes to the boil.

Mealie Bread
Mealie kernels cut from the cob - 750ml
Cake Flour - 37.5ml
Baking Powder - 7ml
Butter - 25ml
Sugar - 12.5ml
Salt - 5ml
Chop mealies in a food processor or grind in a meat mill. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Place in a steaming pan and place in a saucepan of boiling water for 2 hours.

Microwave Variation :
1 can of Sweetcorn whole or Creamed
Other ingredients
Process the whole corn as above. If using creamed sweetcorn mix with ingredients. Place in a microwave dish and cook on high for 5 minutes. Time however will vary according to the wattage of your microwave.

Stywe Pap

Mealiemeal - 500ml
Salt - 5ml
Boiling Water - 1 litre
Cold Water - 125ml
Add the salt to the boiling water then add the mealiemeal, cover and simmer for 45 - 60 minutes. Stir with a fork and add cold water. Simmer for a further hour.
Serve with tomato and onion sauce, gravy, or stew.

Train Smash

Sauté 3 chopped onions and 2 - 3 chopped fresh tomatoes till tender and add the following:
1 c (250 ml) tomato sauce 80 ml vinegar 80 ml Worcestershire sauce 30 ml sugar 125 ml (half a cup) water 2,5 ml (half a teaspoon) dry mustard powder salt and pepper to taste Cook for about 2 minutes and thicken with cornflour mixed to a soft paste with cold water.
Serve with Stywe Pap, or Spaghetti, or as a sauce for meat.

Probably unique to South Africa is their tradition of eating both rice and potatoes at a meal, and adding potatoes to curries.





The Dutch East India Company, who founded the first settlement at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652, were determined that it should never be anything more than a kitchen garden or glorified farm to serve the passing ships to and from the East Indies.
A breach was made in this firm intention by a small group of employees who deserted their service within a few years of the founding of the settlement and calling themselves -Free Burghers-, set about the business of farming and becoming greengrocers on their own account.
The Free Burghers became so successful that more food was being grown at the Cape than the ships of the East India Company could buy.
This local impetus towards transforming the settlement into a colony was finally brought about after the arrival of the Hugenots in 1685 who were French Protestants seeking asylum in any country that could offer them freedom of conscience and religion as in England and Holland.
They arrived at first in Holland, already densely populated, in such numbers that they were a social embarrassment and the government of the day exerted some pressure on the reluctant Dutch East India Company to reduce the problems by giving them asylum at the Cape of Good Hope.
Here they began to practise their husbandry as they had done in Europe and their styles of cooking and preparing fish, vegetables, pork and chicken greatly accepted in South African kitchens.
The influence of the sophisticated and complex art of Malay cooking was accepted in the first instance only in so far as it taught the new colonials how to overcome the one great deficiency in their own way of cooking - the art of preserving food in hot climates for long periods of time.
It took several generations of contact with the Malays and the East before the Oriental contribution to South African cooking became an internal part of their lives and the spices of the East were no longer luxuries. Malay and Javanese cooks were employed by the colonials who returned from the East Indies having found the food at the Cape to be bland and unappealing.
Preserving fruits, vegetables, fish, and meats was integral to both the settlers at the Cape to see them through the winter months and to the passing ships whose journeys took some 3 months to accomplish. Thus also the art of jam and chutney making sprang into being as part of the South African cooking culture.
Some of the subtlest preserving syrups and sweetening mediums peculiar to the Cape have all but vanished. The one that was unique was the nectar of the Cape flower, the Protea.

In Afrikaans it is called the suikerbossie, called thus because in the early days at the Cape the colonists would send their Malay slaves out into the hills annually to collect the sweet juice which lay in the bottom of the flower's bell. The process was known as to skud, or shake, the Protea.

The juice was called bossiesstroop, or bush syrup, and was a bright, pale yellow colour. It would be strained through muslin and boiled in sugar, often with a stick of cinnamon included. On sweet omelettes, baked eggs or pumpkin fritters it was regarded as a most special treat, because it took a great many flowers to make a single bottle of syrup.
Grapegrowing was established at the Cape by the retired Governor to the Cape, Simon van der Stel, who found that he loved the Cape more than his native Holland and decided to live out the rest of his days there.

He was granted a large tract of land behind Devil's Peak on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain and built a beautiful homestead there called Groot Constantia. By 1699 Constantia was acquiring fame in Europe for its excellent wines.
Other farms sprang up based on Groot Constantia and the Cape became the great wine and brandy producing region. 
Thus wine became an integral part of South African cooking.
One of the most unique liqueurs of South Africa that plays a part in culinary art is Van Der Hum which was produced in about 1836. It became a favourite of the British when they established their great naval base at Simonstown.


Van Der Hum Liqueur

Cloves - 6
Cinnamon stick - 1
Nutmeg grated - half nut
Nartjie peel or Tangerine peel - 25ml
Brandy - 750ml
Rum - 50ml
Sugar - 250g
Water - 125ml

Bruise cloves and cinnamon and tie, with the nutmeg, in a muslin bag. Place the muslin bag, brandy, nartjie peel and rum in a sterilized jar and cover. Leave in a cool place for 1 month. Shake the bottle gently every day. Strain liqueur through a piece of muslin cloth or fine cheesecloth. Boil sugar and water until very thick, then combine with liqueur. Decant into dry sterilized bottles and seal. Makes 1 litre.

Van Der Hum is added to whipped cream and eggs and served as a sauce for pancakes.


Pancakes are a legacy from the Dutch and French settlers with the fried vetkoek being a variation on the traditional crepe.

The unique South African koeksusters were invented by the Malay cooks who had a love for baking and delicate pastries.

The Cape colonials had such a high regard for baking and produced many cookies, cakes, pastries and puddings - so many that they ran out of names for them and began to call them after national events or adjectives associated with historial occasions like -voortrekker-,  -bond- or union which commemorated the first great political party formed at the Cape to reconcile the conflicting English and Dutch, and -Jings cookies- after the imperialistic treaty of Cecil Rhodes.
The profusion of baked delicacies was made possible when the colonists discovered that the area near Malmesbury was suitable for growing wheat. The best grain for the South African climate was a Russian variety called Dkurum.
Unique to Cape delicacies was the penguin's egg. They were collected in their thousands until the penguin population was in danger of becoming extinct when the Government had to step in and limit the number of eggs allowed to be collected for sale. The classic way of cooking and serving the eggs was to boil them for 20 minutes, de'shell them when they are still hot, and then mash them with a fork in fresh butter, seasoning them with salt, pepper and a dash of lemon and finally whisking them into a kind of soufflé consistency.
Most of the fruits and vegetables grown and eaten in South Africa today were introduced into the country from other lands - the Cape Gooseberry (Physalis Peruvina) comes from the Crimea, kumquats, mulberries, loquats and lychies from China, the mealie from India -



Afrikaans/Traditional South African fare:


There have been European vegetables and fruit in the Cape since Jan van Riebeeck's settlers laid out his revictualling station with potatoes, sweet potatoes, pineapples, watermelons, pumpkins, cucumbers, quinces and other fruit.

While waiting for their labour to bear fruit, the settlers resorted to indigenous herbs which included wild mustard leaves and sorrel, known as yellow dock for its yellow flowers. It was lucky, for sorrel, with its high oxalic acid content, was a godsend for the scurvy-ridden sailors. It is still used today in Cape Afrikaans dishes.

Huntingwas naturally the order of the day, and a great variety of buck, even tortoises, were brought to the pot. Toasted porcupine skin was regarded as a great delicacy. Even today, amongst the Afrikaans community, hunting in season is regarded as a must, and game dishes something for the connoisseur. You will find them on the menu in many restaurants in the cities and in game reserves.

The braai tradition dates from trekking days, with home-made boerewors sausages which evolved from recipes brought by German immigrants and chops, steak and a marathon of other meats and preparations laid on the open fire and cooked.

Trekkers' victuals have stayed on as traditional South African fare: pickled fish, spiced and marinated venison and lamb, and biltong, which is salted, spiced meat, air-dried, then sliced or grated.

When French Huguenots arrived as refugees, homeless and penniless, the sturdy Dutch hotpot made way for the lighter fricassee. The French influence on Cape cookery includes the custom of serving a succession of courses, rather than setting all the dishes out on the table at once.

There are dishes made here and nowhere else because only in South African can one find the ingredients. The waterblommetjie-bredie, for example, is a gourmet's joy.

The waterblommetjie, or Cape pondweed, occurs only in the dams and marshes of the Western Cape. The best months to enjoy this delicacy are July and August, when the buds are at their plumpest.

Cape cooking customs were changed forever with the arrival of slaves from the Far East.

Malayslaves began to reach the Cape towards the end of the 17th century. Among the men were skilled fishermen, and the women were expert cooks who included a myriad of spices in their dishes.

They brought aniseed, star fennel, fennel, turmeric, cardomom, ginger, both green and dried. They brought a variety of masalas, those mixtures of different spices used for different dishes, common to the Indonesian culinary culture. They brought saltpetre, the miracle ingredient for pickling.

You will find much much more than curried spiced dishes, sambals, atjars and pickles on the Cape Malay table. What about sosaties, bobotie and bredies- And pickled fish is one of the highlights of the boerekos culinary scene - another standby of Cape Malay cuisine.

As most Malays are Muslim, no liquor will be offered to you in a Cape Malay restaurant. Many Indian restaurants, too, are run by Muslims and you will not be allowed to drink alcohol there.

A large population descended from Indian immigrants means quite a lot of Indian influence on the national cuisine. There are some similarities between Malay and Indian cooking. Roti, the unleavened bread, is common to both; so are samoosas, those little triangles of pastry filled with spicy meat or vegetables. The Malay breyanis and the Indian biriani are both festival dishes, based on rice.

There is a difference between Hindu and Muslim cooking, most probably because the Hindu table proscribes the use of beef, and encourages the use of vegetables and legumes, beans and lentils.

There will be a succession of wonderfully spiced dishes (some dishes have up to 15 or more different spices incorporated in the exquisite combinations). There will be a selection of naans, breads of different kinds, phakoras, tandoor rotis cooked in a tandoor oven. There will be fried paapers, paapris, papads, all variations of poppadums. You will be assailed by such delicacies as bhajas (chilli-bites). You may wish to have kebabs, perhaps a tandoor kebab.

There are other ethnic restaurants in this country, Greek, Italian, Cajun, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Portuguese. Whatever sort of cuisine you're looking for you will find here, as people continue to settle from all parts of the world.



A medium'sized, very sweet citrus fruit, with a skin that is easily removed and flesh that separates easily into segments. A North African variety, grown in Tangiers is responsible for the name tangerine. Canned segments are known as 'mandarins'.

Curried tripe with pickled onions in a piquant sauce
Sheep tail fat

Rendered from the tail of the Cape or Afrikaner sheep, which was sought after by settlers from the 18th century. The soft fat was often preferred to butter.

Mixed liver and meat in caul fat, braaied on open flames as an hors de Oeuvre.

Fat usually cut in slabs from the belly of a baconer. Used as the basic fat for browning and adding flavour to vegetables, soups, stews and savoury pastries.

Resembles asparagus tips and is prepared as a delicately flavoured stew.

The highly prized, spring flowering waterblommetjie is common in shallow dams and vlies of the southern region of the Cape. Available from May to November.




These large sea snails are found mainly in rocky areas along the coast from the Cape Peninsula to Kwazulu Natal. Though tasty, they are inclined to be tough and are best served minced with a cream sauce, with tomato concassees or with garlic butter.


These are salted, wind-dried fish, usually 'Haarders' (Mullet) or 'Maasbankers' (Horse mackerel) and formed an important part of Cape farm labourers diet.
Cape Salmon

A silvery-grey, salmon-like fish with an unmistakable Bright yellow mouth and gills, hence the Afrikaans 'geelbek'.

The galjoen's fighting ability when hooked earned its Dutch name. This dark-colored fish ranks as one of our most popular species.

These coastal predatory fish feed on shoals of haarders (mullet), shad and karanteen. Seasonal migrations occur from the Cape, to Kwazulu Natal. They are aggressive fish, popular with anglers.

The spotted grunter is a shallow water fish, much sought after by anglers as it is exceptionally fine eating.

These small, elongated silvery fish swim in large shoals close to the surface of the water, near the shore or inland in fresh water lakes, lagoons or estuaries, where they are netted in large shoals.

A well known elongated silvery fish, almost salmon-like in appearance, which is commonly found in shoals in shallow coastal areas.

An elongated fish found only off the coast of Southern Africa, where they are trawled from Walvis Bay in the west to Algoa Bay in the east.

Considered more succulent and sweeter than crayfish. They are the size of large prawns. Trawled in deep waters off Kwazulu Natal and frozen at sea.

Small, silvery fish trawled of the South African coast, mainly used for canning.

A squat, mottled-brown fish, related to the shark family and found only in South African waters. When gently poached, the firm, white succulent fish is similar to that of crayfish.

The beautiful single ear'shaped shell of the perlemoen is lined with mother of pearl. The tough, fleshy mollusc in the shell is the edible part, and has a delicious clam-like flavour, which is considered a great delicacy.
Red Roman

A bright orangy-red fish with broad, pale brands running down the sides and a blue stripe between the eyes. Popular among fisherman from the Cape to Kwazulu Natal.
Rock Cod

Name given to several species of reef fish with long, mottled or spotted bodies, fan like fins and large mouths, which frequent shallow rock reefs in warmer water.

A silvery, bream - like fish with horizontal stripes of rose red. These popular line fish are mostly commercially caught in fairly deep waters of the Cape Coast. The tender flesh is delicate, and the fish is best-left whole for grilling, pan frying or baking.

A dish of Malay origin made with salted fish, usually snoek, as well as onions, tomatoes, red chilies, and potatoes. When caught the fish are 'vlekked' - That is split open from the back, then liberally sprinkled with salt and left to dry in the open. Before cooking, the dried fish is soaked in several changes of fresh water, to remove the salt, then skinned, boned and flaked.

Heavy bodied, bream-like fish with firm white flesh, which flakes easily.

Several varieties of this blunt-nosed fish occur around the South African coast. It requires gentle cooking.

A handsome, metallic-blue game fish with unmistakable yellow fins and forked tail. It is most abundant in the Cape, during the summer months, but large shoals accompany the 'Sardine run' up Kwazulu Natal coast in winter.



Sauces that you might find in your supermarket :
Malawi Gold - 

Use as baste or marinade for chicken; mix with soy and honey as a barbecue sauce; usa as dip for French fries; add to salad dressings; use to stir fry fish, chicken, or seafood; or use it as a dipping sauce for oysters, shrimp, and other shellfish.
Swazi Mamma -

In Swaziland, it is used for almost any type of cooking. Add to anything that you want to have a rich, spicy, hot flavor. Use as a barbeque sauce; use as a marinade for chicken; use to flavor for soup or pour on top of eggs; use as a salad dressing by adding mayonnaise, vinegar, and a little water; add to jams for a wonderful spicy taste; or add to any type of stew.
Xhosa Umsobo Iyababa or Purple Heat - 

This sauce can be used for almost anything: on fresh oysters; with pasta or noodles; as a baste or marinade for fish of any texture; added to hot or cold vegetables; added to mayonnaise for a dip; or mixed with rice.
Zulu Fire Sauce  -

Is hand-made from an original recipe found in a small village of Kosi Bay in the far northern corner of Zululand. There, in a wooden hut amid a grove of coconut palms on the shimmering white beach, lives Timbo, a wizened old man with a silver beard and braided hair. Here, under the warm African sun, he welcomes his visitors with intoxicating palm wine and gastronomic treats like charcoal grilled chicken, fresh estuarine fish, and thick water buffalo steaks basted with his Zulu Fire Sauce. After a feast of flavor and wine, he reluctantly admitted that he found the recipe in an old book of slave recipes, probably of Indian origin, from the Kwa Zulu Region, the traditional home of the Zulu people. It must be noted that this sauce is not a hot, hot, Tabasco-type sauce. It is a rich combination of vegetables with chili, vinegar, and spices, blended to perfection.

 Pili-Pili African Birdseye (Capsicum frutescens)



The oldest African cookbooks of recent centuries that have been published are


Hilda's Where is It- (1891) and Diary of a Cape Housekeeper (1902) by Hildegonda Duckitt of South Africa,
featuring dishes that would have been served about a century ago. Recipes are mainly Boer, Dutch, British, and European, but there are also many Malaysian and Eastern influences as well.

Other Books :

The Africa Guide
African Recipes from Africhef


Nowadays the staple diet of rural African peoples consists mainly of cereal, usually maize, sorghum (a type of corn), or cassava, with pulses such as beans or peas. They are pounded, using a large pestle and mortar or special grinding rocks, into a soft pudding like consistency to which boiled water or milk is added, and served with meat or fish stew.

The cereals are also ground into flour, mixed with water and shaped into flattened circles. These are then baked and eaten as a type of bread.

Eating and drinking is usually a communal activity and whole families will eat together. Normally the men will eat in one group while the women and the children will eat in another. In some tribes though it is customary for the women and children to wait until the men have eaten their meal before they have theirs.

Food is cooked on an open fire, either like a spit-roast, or in cast-iron pots - much like the so-called witches cauldren that you see in European fairy stories.

Bowlsare made out of wood and are traditionally carved from a single block of wood. Some are highly decorated and some are plain. Those used by royal households are intricately carved and have lids.
Calabashesand gourds are used as containers. When the fruit is ripe, it is soaked in water until the contents have rotted. Then it is opened and the contents cleaned out. After this the fruit skin is dried in the sun until is becomes hard and shell-like. Calabashes are also cut centrally down their length and their shape affords a ready made spoon or ladel.

Some gourds have carved designs on them, some have decorations that have been burnished using a hot knife, and some are dyed different colours using plant dyes, others are simply left plain and unadorned.

Other pots and drinking vessels are made out of clay. In most African tribes the pottery is made by the women and they do not use a potters wheel. Other tribes, particularly in the north, use a potters wheel and the pottery is made by the men. A kiln is also used in the north. But elsewhere the pottery is fired on the ground, covered with brushwood and set alight.

Stiring implementsare made from wooden rods which have a shaped bulbous end. The stirrers are rolled between the palms of the hands so that the shaped end rotates quickly similating the actions of an electric mixer.

Nowadays, beverages like tea and coffee are available, in addition to water and fresh milk.

Milk is also made into a soft cheese/yoghurt called imaasi/amasi which was eaten particularly when fresh meat was not available and at certain festivals.

Beer is made from sorghum and a type of alcoholic drink can be obtained from fruits such as the lala palm and marula fruit.



African  Recipes


Dorinda's Kitchen


Sadza (Zimbabwe) / Nshima (Zambia & Malawi) / Ugali (Kenya) / Putu (South Africa) / Bidia (Zaire) / Oshifima (Namibia) / Milho (Portuguese) / Stywe Pap (Afrikaans)
Mealie Meal - 1kg
Water - 2.5 litre
If you can't get mealie meal use red millet flour (rapoko) or ordinary millet flour.
Bring 1.5 litres of the water to the boil in a heavy based saucepan. Mix half the mealie-meal with the remaining cold water to form a smooth paste. Add this paste to the boiling water stirring vigorously to avoid lumps, until it boils again. Cover and continue to boil for 5 minutes.
Gradually add the remaining mealie-meal, one-quarter at a time, stirring thoroughly and firmly until the whole mixture thickens. As the mixture thickens, the porridge gets firmer and more difficult to stir. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook for another 3 minutes.
Use a scoop to form into small balls or individual portions and serve hot with vegetables and stew, or roast meat, or fish, with the gravy of your choice.


Whitebait or sprats - 1kg
Garlic Salt - 10g
Paprika - 15g
Grated root ginger - 15g
Cornflour - 15g
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Wash the fish and dry with paper towels. Place in a bowl with garlic salt, paprika, cornflour and half the grated ginger. Mix well making sure the fish is well coated.
Heat the oil and deep-fry the fish in batches removing each batch as the fish becomes crispy and firm. Drain in a wire sieve lined with paper towels, set aside, and keep warm.


Pepper Sauce
Onions large finely chopped - 2
Garlic finely chopped - 4 cloves
Root Ginger grated
Red Chillies or Hot Peppers finely chopped - 10
Tomatoes large finely diced - 4
Shrimp paste - 10g
Salt to taste
Fry the onions, garlic, chillies, and the remaining ginger in approximately 30ml oil. Fry until light brown. Add the tomatoes and salt, stir well and cook for approximately 10 minutes. Finally, stir in the shrimp paste and simmer for an extra 1-2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and serve in small bowls as a dipping sauce for the fish or crudités of vegetables.



Funkaso (Nigeria) / Injera (Ethiopia) / Millet Pancakes
Millet flour - 250g
Water lukewarm - 300ml
Margarine or oil
Sugar to taste
Salt pinch
Sift the flour and gradually pour in the warm water, sugar and salt, stirring and mixing well to make a smooth runny paste. Set aside for 4 hours.
Heat the oil or margarine in a shallow pan or griddle plate. Beat the batter with a spoon and then ladle into the pan. Turn over when cooked.
Serve with a meat dish or as a snack with honey.

iMaasi /Amasi/Maas

Take a litre or two of farm fresh milk, leave in container on counter top for a day or two,  The milk will separate from the water and become gel-like (called maas) - drain the water out the container, careful not to drain out any of the maas.  Once done, pour the maas into a jug and refrigerate until cold.  Maas is traditonally eaten with putu-pap.

Traditionally, iMaasi is made in a special calabash (gourd). Everyone in the family has their own calabash, and there is a special terminology for the parts of this calabash, such as the little hole out of which the whey is drained and the little plug that stops this hole - umbhotshozelwa.

There are other interesting dairy products such as curds made by milking a cow directly into a pale of whey and, more interesting still, iMaasi prepared with the milk of a cow which has just given birth, apparently this is a special treat.

The South Africans/Afrikaners also make maas into a drink, and is much like Yoghurt. Once cold mix maas with a spoon, add a spoon of sugar or add little raspberry juice. 

For those of you who baulk at the thought of iMaasi, this is the traditional way of making cottage cheese -

Take a litre or two of farm fresh milk, leave in container on counter top for a day or two,  The milk will separate from the water and become gel-like (called maas/curds) - drain the water (whey) out the container, careful not to drain out any of the maas.  Once done, pour the maas into a muslin cloth; tie a knot at the top and hang in a cool place, or if you are in South Africa - from a roof beam on your back verandah for a day or two, until all water has dripped out and the maas is starting to become more solid.  Some people hang it out overnight only.  Once you have removed the curds from the muslin cloth, place in bowl and stir thoroughly. 
You can vary the flavour by adding at this stage, fresh herbs or crushed garlic. Or for a smooth and richer cheese, try adding fresh cream!  Peter fromFunky Munky says it is delicious on toast or on baked potatoes.




In pre-Colonial times the diet of the African consisted largely of meal made out of indigenous millets, sorghums, bananas, and milk, usually in the form of curds and whey. To this was added maize, which the Europeans introduced to Africa.

Millets and Maize were pounded by hand in large wooden mortars and pestles. The resulting flours were known as samp. The great paradox of this diet is the almost total absence of meat.
This is because cattle, sheep and goats were a form of capital and currency rather than a source of food except in so far as the cattle provided milk.


Zebu Cow and Calf

Cattle were only slaughtered for meat when some overwhelming tribal ethic demanded it, some religious need for living sacrifice to appease the spirits of the land or a ceremonial occasion of utmost importance.
The Nilotics of East Africa, the most natural cattle-men of all, set the standard in this regard for their Bantu countrymen. Their cattle were sacred. Meat, whether beef or game, was taboo.

Nilotics like the Masai lived entirely on milk, occasionally bleeding their cattle, as the tartars of Gengis Khan bled their ponies.
The Bantu tribes, who were both shepherds and cultivators, had an extra dimension in their attitude to cattle.

Afrikaner Bull                        Brahman Bull
They believed that the spirits of their ancestors spoke to them through the cattle. To this day the witchdoctors listen to the sounds the cattle make at night when they are gathered within the corral.

They do this in case the sound should suddenly transmit, in a code only they understand, a message of fateful importance for the future of the village and the tribe from the ancestral dead. And often when the owner of a herd of cattle dies, his favourite heifer is lead to the graveside so that the beast can receive the final instruction of his master's spirit for safe-keeping.

Ankole Cattle in the Morning Mist Gary Kratkiewicz

Ankole Cattle are named after the Watusi tribe of Uganda. They are hardy animals and are able to live in very poor conditions with little water and poor grazing. Ankole have the largest horns of any species of cattle in the world.
Deep in every Bantu African is also a belief that a man cannot eat the meat of an animal without in some way incorporating the character of the animal into his own self. He is convinced that you become what you eat.
This belief differs between the tribes where one tribe will readily eat zebra meat and a neighbouring one will not, and antelope may be a delicacy in one region but be strictly taboo in another.
Delicacies of the African tribes vary according to regional availability. Amongst them are locusts fried in the fat extracted from the tail of a black-nosed sheep, caterpillars and grubs extracted from dead trees in the bush and rendered in ground nut oil, termites which have a sharp tartaric flavour and when fried go well with roast venison.


How to Cook a Gogga & other Insects

Wild African honey is more exciting than the European varieties and the bees that produce it are the fiercest and most unpredictable in the world. They will attack a traveller without provocation, often stinging him to death.

During World War 1 in East Africa at the Battle of Tanga, the British troops were attacked by these ferocious creatures.

Later after the war, one of the German Kommandants, Colonel Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck, was asked by a British commander whether the Germans had trained these bees and used them as part of their war-fare. Von Lettow-Vorbeck was surprised by this question until the British commander related what had happened at Tanga.

Although Lettow-Vorbeck was tempted to joke with the commander that the Germans had enlisted bees as part of their troops, he told the commander that the Germans too had often been attacked or forced from their gun-posts by these little warriors.

Paul Emil von Lettow-Voorbeck and his Askari troops survived the hardships of WW1 by making use of the Voortrekker and traditional native bushcraft skills.

When they ran out of European flour, Lettow-Voorbeck experimented with the sorghums and millets until they found a suitable mixture to make bread. They ground the grains the traditional native way between stones.

When their supplies ran low, they ate Muhongo, a plant called Mlenda, a kernel like nut called Mbinji, and Pori fruit.

When their boots became worn, they fashioned sandals and footwear from the hides of the wild animals they shot.
A lot of tribes eat only fish as their form of meat. On the coast are found giant crabs, small dark oysters, prawns, shrimps, lobster, crayfish, sea-bream and scores of other varieties. Kilindini oysters from East Africa are baked in their own juice on a fire of driftwood. Shrimps and prawns shelled and cooked then mixed with finely diced pineapple and lemon still grace the tables of modern-day African cooks.

The hippopotamus has, as the indigenous people who trap him know, perhaps the finest natural lard of any animal in the world and hunters say that the lard is so sweet and tasty that one could eat it raw and some claim to prefer it this way.

During World War I hippopotamus fat was used extensively by the German Askari (native warriors) and European troops as the mainstay for cooking and as a kind of "butter" on bread.

The Voortrekkers reported that one hippo could yield as much as 50 gallons (227 litres) of fat when rendered, which they used for cooking, making sausages (boerewors), candles, soap, as a lubricant for the wagon wheel hubs, and greasing rifle patches.

Both the indigenous natives and the Voortrekkers made soap by mixing the fat with wood ash.
The marrow of the giraffe is perhaps the oldest and most sought-after delicacy of primitive man in Africa.


Bert's other Exotic Recipes



The Congo Cookbook

The Africa Guide Recipes

Sikunu African Recipes

Ethnic African Recipes

Authentic African Recipes

Umqombothi - Traditional Beer - See how it's made


Traditional Native Fare:


Nelson Mandela, who grew up in the small village of Qunu in the old province of the Transkei, lived on a diet of mainly maize (what we called mealies and people in the West call corn), sorghum, beans, and pumpkins, not because of any inherent preference for these foods, but because the people of his village could not afford
anything richer.

Wealthier families in his village supplemented their diets with tea, coffee, and sugar, but for most people in Qunu these were exotic luxuries far beyond their means.

Mealies were harvested from the field when they were hard and dry. They were stored in sacks or pits dug in the ground.

When preparing the mealies, the women used different methods. They could grind the kernels between two stones to make bread, or boil the mealies first, producing umphothulo (mealie flour eaten with sour milk) or umngqusho (samp, sometimes plain or mixed with beans).

Unlike mealies, which were sometimes in short supply, milk from their cows and goats was always plentiful.

Read More about Nelson Mandela

Amadongomane -

A Xhosa dish of peanuts which are boiled or roasted.

Amahewu -

A non-alcoholic drink made from sour corn meal and sugar.

Amanqina -

A hoof of a cow, pig or sheep. It is boiled, then spiced for taste. It is apparently very delicious but sticky.

Amasi -

Sour milk. Buttermilk, or sour milk, which in South African English is also known by the Afrikaans word maas, is a traditional Zulu staple.

Amasi is made in a special calabash (gourd) and everyone in the family has their own calabash. There is a special terminology for the parts of this calabash, such as the little hole out of which the whey is drained and the little plug that stops this hole, called
umbhotshozelwa. Amasi is mixed with stiff corn or sorghum porridge. In Xhosa this is called umvubo.

There are other interesting dairy products such as curds made by milking a cow directly into a pale of whey and, more interesting still, "pap"/putu prepared with the milk of a cow which has just given birth.

Amatungula -

The plum like fruit of the Amatungula, a large, dense shrub indigenous to the Kwazulu Natal coast, makes a uniquely flavoured, slightly tart jelly. Apart from its obvious uses in pastries or with cream scones, the burgundy jelly makes an excellent accompaniment to venison and pork.

Buchu -

This valuable shrub with strongly aromatic leaves is indigenous to the mountains of the south-western Cape. The dried leaves are sometimes combined with vinegar or brandy to make a remedy for bruises and sprains and to relieve aching limbs.

Chibuku -

A Tswana and Shona sorghum beer.

Chotlo - (mince meat)

A delicacy of the Tswana people, this is meat cut into extremely small pieces with the bones removed. The meat is first boiled, then ground before being put back into the pot and stirred until it becomes very fine. A treat for the toothless.

Idombolo -

Maize dumpling. Xhosa.

Imbuba -

Beans with corn meal.

Imfe -

Xhosa word for sugar cane.

Irhemere -

A semi-traditional Xhosa drink, similar to ginger beer.

Isidudu -

Pumpkin mixed with sorghum or corn meal. Xhosa - umqa.

Isijabane -

Spinach mixed with stiff corn porridge. Xhosa - umfino.

Isinkwa Sombila -

Corn bread served with sour milk. Xhosa - isonka sombona.

Izidumba -

A type of potato, boiled. (Xhosa iidumba).

Izindlubu -

A variety of nut, boiled.

Izinkobe -

Boiled kernels of maize or sorghum with salt. (Xhosa iinkobe).

Kei-apple -

The round, apricot-colored fruit of a thorny shrub or small tree indigenous to the eastern Cape and Transkei. The fruits are acidic but pleasantly flavoured, and make an excellent jelly.

Kalahari truffle -

A white truffle, the bushmen word is 'jabba'.

Kambro -

A large 'root' cooks into a special jam/konfyt (Afrikaans word for jam).

Kapenta Matemba -

A Shona dish of dried whitebait.

Khadi -

A Tswana beer made from wild berries.

Mabela -

A grain sorghum, ground coarsely or finely, and used to prepare a tasty brown porridge.  Mabela eaten by many South Africans.

Mala -

Intestines, especially those of chicken. They are thoroughly cleaned, cooked in boiled water, then fried. Eaten with pap.

Malamogodi (or tripe) "black tripe" -

It has more texture and flavour than the whitened variety, and it is served either curried or stewed.

Malamogodi -

Is a big seller at a top-class restaurant specialising in traditional South African food called Safika in Pretoria. Safika is owned by Ntombi Msimang and their chef is Nkosinathi Tshabalala. Also popular at Safika is morogo (greens), the umngqusho (stamped maize and beans) and the voetkoek.

Maotwana -

Legs of a chicken boiled to remove the hard skin. Thoroughly washed, salted, then fried. Often served to school kids because of their low cost.

Martingaulas -

A delicate flavoured wild South African fruit.

Marula -

The yellow edible fruit of the tall Marula tree, is used for jam and jelly, but is now famous for the cream liqueur Amarula. This fruit is loved by the wild animals as well. More information on the Marula fruit from the Kew Botanical Society.

Mashonzha -

Mopani Worms, similar to caterpillars in appearance. These establish their habitat in and around mopani trees found in the Lowveld areas of Mpumalanga and the Northern Province. Popular with the Shangaans, Vendas and Bapedi of the Northern Province.

Mopani worms are also eaten in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mocambique and Malawi.

Tourists usually baulk at trying mashonzha. Stringy they may be, but cooked with chilli (ask for peanuts as well), they are apparently rather an interesting experience.

Mogodu -

Tripe, thoroughly cleaned then boiled for two to three hours. Once softened, allowed to simmer before being served with pap.

Morogo -

Wild spinach, the most popular being thepe; delicious when boiled, softened and served with stiff porridge. More than 150 different kinds of edible leaves are picked to cook this wild spinach Morogo dish.

Mukonde -

A layered porridge that resembles crepe suzettes.

Muriwo usina nyama -

A Shona vegetarian dish, served to accompany sadza.

Samp (or stampmielies, stamp) -

Is very similar to American hominy or posole: both are de-hulled dried corn (maize). In the case of samp, however, the corn kernels are crushed or broken into pieces which are easier to cook and eat. If you cannot find samp, buy dry hominy and use a rolling pin or a mortar and pestle to crush or
break the kernels, being careful not to grind them into flour. Samp is sometimes served with fried onions, or as a side dish with any main course that has its own gravy.

Serobe -

A dish of the Tswana people. Thoroughly washed, then boiled mixture of tripe, intestines and lungs. They are cut into small pieces with a pair of scissors before being spiced to add taste.

Skop (Afrikaans word) -

Head of a cow, sheep or goat. The head is first scrubbed with a sharp instrument like a razor to remove skin and unwanted parts like ears and the nose are then cut out. The head is then boiled and allowed to simmer. Favoured apparently by African men.

Sorghum Grain -

Is fermented to make the ever-popular sorghum beer. But is also cooked as a porridge. Many farmers replaced sorghum, served as mabela, with maize because the sorghum was too quickly devoured by birds.

A variety of savouries are used to accompany the ubiquitous "pap", all made from green vegetables, all deliciously flavoured with chilli and sometimes peanuts.

In rural communities, people gather blackjack, purslane, pigweed, thistle or goosefoot and turn them into delicious stews. In some areas, as many as 30 or 40
different "weeds" make fragrant savouries. Indeed, these savouries, or shebu, are now also available in tins.  They also make stews from the leaves of common vegetables, such as pumpkin leaves or potato leaves.

Soumbala -

Is a popular food condiment common in several West and Central African countries where it is used to flavour soups and sauces. It is known as "soumbala" in Burkina Faso, Mali, Cote d'Ivoire and Guinea, "dawadawa" in Nigeria and Northern Ghana, iru in Southern Nigeria and as "n~t~tou" in Senegal and Benin. Soumbala is produced by the fermentation of the seeds of the African locust bean (Parkia Biglobosa).

Ting -

A dish favoured by the Tswanas in both South Africa and Botswana. It is a sour porridge made of sorghum - great soft porridge for breakfast!

Ujeleza -

A melon like vegetable mixed with corn meal.

Ugcado -

A Xhosa dish of roasted whole corn kernels.

Umpherhu -

A Xhosa dish of maize stalks.


Umngqusho(Mngqusho) -

Is a favorite traditional dish of the Xhosa people in South Africa made of samp (maize kernels) mixed with cowpeas, which are a variety of the American black-eyed pea.
In South Africa, dried samp and beans are sold already mixed and ready to use.



What you need:

4 cups dry samp (broken hominy) 2 cups (one pound) dry cowpeas (black-eyed peas) or any similar beans salt

What you do:

Combine samp and cowpeas in a large enamel pot or glass bowl. Add cold water sufficient to cover. Cover, and let stand overnight. Drain and rinse before cooking.

In a large pot. Cover the soaked samp and cowpeas mixture with cold water. Bring to a boil. Let boil for ten minutes. Reduce heat. Simmer on low heat for one to two hours, until all is tender and the water is mostly absorbed. Add additional water during cooking if needed.
Season with salt. Serve hot.

Umngqusho is usually described as "stamp mealies (broken dried maize kernels), sugar beans, butter, onions, potatoes, chillis and lemons, . . . simmered a long time until all ingredients are tender", and is said to be South African President Nelson Mandela's favorite dish. His autobiography however, describes the more
traditional umngqusho.

Umqombothi -

Home-brewed sorghum beer, is rich in B vitamins. It is not highly intoxicating but is regarded more as a food than anything else, and the sour taste is highly refreshing.

Umqwaybia -

Biltong. (Xhosa umqwayito).

Usave -

A Shona dish, usually meat or sometime vegetables, to accompany sadza - which is the same as putu/pap/stywe pap.

Umxhaxha -

A Xhosa dish made with corn grains and pumpkin.

Zulu terminology for meats :

Meat - Inyama

Beef - Inyama yenkomo (meat of the cow)

Lamb - Inyama yezinyane lemvu

Pork - Inyama yengulube

Goat - Imbuzi

Chicken - Inkukhu

Meat and fish are usually referred to by the way they are cooked eg Inyama eyosiwe (roasted meat), or inhlanzi ethosiwe (fried fish). Bhakiwe (baked), Bilisiwe (boiled), Thosiwe (fried), Yosiwe (grilled/roast), Sebomvu (underdone/rare), Engavuthwe kakhulu (medium cooked), Evuthisisiwe (well-done).

Xhosa terminology for meats :

Is basically the same as in Zulu except that all meat is called "inyama".

Variations are as follows -

Chicken: Inyama yenkukhu, Goat: Inyama yenbhokwe, Lamb: Inyama yetakane legusha, Pork: Inyama yehagu

As with Zulu meat dishes are generally described by the way they are cooked eg inyama eyosiweyo (roasted meat), Ebhakiwe (baked), Ebilisiwe (boiled), Eqhotsiwe (fried), Eyosiweyo (grilled/roasted), Engavuthwanga (underdone/rare), Engavuthwanga kakhulu (medium), Evuthisisiwe (well-done).


The Portuguese brought from China, India, and Malacca, the orange tree, the lemon and the lime, the Muscovy duck (which has penetrated far into the interior of Africa), chillies, peppers, maize, tobacco, the tomato, pineapple, sweet potato, manioc from which tapioca is made, and other less known forms of vegetable food as well as introducing the domestic pig.

They created two wings of cooking in Africa - one is South American, or more specifically Brazilian, and is most evident in Angola; and the other is a compound effect, in Mozambique, of the Portuguese experiences of the East from its Arabian outposts in Zanzibar to the coast of Malabar in India and Malacca on to the Celestial Empire.

Since there was a constant coming and going between Angola and Mozambique from the earliest days, these two wings naturally borrowed freely from one another.

Rice, spice and the fruits of the Orient feature more prominently in Mozambique than they do in Angola. Curry is almost never served in Angola and there are restaurants in Mozambique which only ever serve Arabian food.


Portuguese Recipes



Jean da Silva's Kitchen

Molho Piri-Piri (Piri-Piri Sauce)
The Portuguese have a passion for the explosive tiny Angolan pepper used almost daily in Portuguese cooking. The smaller the pepper, the hotter it will be.
Although bottled piri-piri sauce or Tabasco sauce is available ready made in stores, it is not as powerful or flavourful as homemade.
If you can-t find piri-piri pepper, substitute any hot peppers.
The sauce is often brushed onto barbecued meats.

Recipe 1 -

1 chopped piri-piri pepper
125ml olive oil
In a small container with tight-fitting lid, place the pepper. Pour the oil over the pepper, leaving a 1.25cm head space. Seal. Store for 1 month in a cool dry place before using. Keeps for 2-3 months.

Recipe 2 -

Half small red pepper seeded and sliced
4-5 fresh red chillis seeded and sliced
Juice of 1 and a half lemons
10ml olive oil
Simmer the red pepper and chillis with the lemon juice for about 15 minutes until tender. Mix to a thick paste with the oil in a blender. Season with salt. Pour into a small bottle or container and store.

Piri-Piri Prawns
Prawns - 1kg per person, or 6 King Prawns per person
Garlic crushed - 3 cloves
Lemon Juice
Butter or oil
Piri-piri sauce (Recipe 2)
Put the prawns into the Piri-Piri marinade and stir them around so that each is well coated. Set aside to soak for 2-4 hours.
Drain off the marinade into a pan, add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes to serve with the prawns.
Grill the prawns on a BBQ and add a squeeze of lemon when serving.
Alternatively, fry the garlic in butter or oil for 1 minute then add the prawns. Increase the heat a little and sizzle them for 5 minutes, turning frequently until they are golden.


Bolo de Natal (Christmas Fig Cake)
The cake is made about 2 weeks before it is needed and stored in the refrigerator to keep it moist.
Spirits :
Aguardente is Portuguese whiskey. If you can-t find Aguardente you can substitute Brandy.
To keep the cake moist while it is in the refrigerator, brush with Aguardente or Brandy once a week.
You will also need the following spirits :
Rye whiskey - 50ml
Port - 50ml
Cherry Liquer - 50ml
Aguardente or Brandy - 50ml
Dried Fruits :
Chopped Dried Figs - 250ml
Raisins - 250ml
Chopped Candied Fruit - 250ml
Chopped Walnuts - 250ml
Other Ingredients :
Grated Nutmeg - 5ml
Honey - 25ml
Granulated Sugar - 650ml
Butter (melted and cooled) - 325ml
Eggs - 5
All Purpose Flour - 650ml
Baking Powder - 15ml
Sifted Icing Sugar - for dusting
In a skillet or pan bring to the boil the honey, whiskey, Port, cherry liquer, and the Aguardente.
Then add the raisins, candied fruit, and the walnuts. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
Beat together the sugar and butter until blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is pale and slightly thickened.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and the nutmeg. Then beat this mixture into the batter until well blended.
Add the fruit mixture and mix well.
Spoon into a greased and paper-lined 3l or 9inch tube pan or bread tin.
Bake at 350F/180C/GM  for 75-80 minutes, or until top is firm and brown and cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
If cake is browning too quickly, cover with foil.
Let cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove and cool completely on a rack.
Wrap in foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Before serving dust with the icing sugar.

Aquipa (Caramel)
1 can of Full Cream Sweetened Condensed Milk
Remove the label from the can but do not open the can. Place in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 and half hours. Allow to cool.
Open the can and spoon out the caramel.
We used to make this at school as a treat. It is very sweet but tastes delicious. When we used to make it we used to place the pot onto the black stove pipe furnace that heated the water for washing.




Carla Azevedo's Kitchen

Bacalhau Com Natas (Cod in Cream)
Salt Cod - 750g
Potatoes - 500g
Onions, sliced - 2
Eggs, hard boiled thinly sliced - 3
Double Cream - 250ml
Dijon Mustard - 15ml
Olive Oil - 45ml
For the Sauce (Molho Branco) :
Egg Yolks, lightly beaten - 2
Hot Milk - 500ml
Butter - 50ml
All Purpose Flour - 50ml
Lemon Juice - 20ml
Lemon rind, finely grated - 5ml
Nutmeg grated - pinch
Coarsely ground Black Pepper - pinch
Salt - 2ml
Cover cod with cold water and soak for 24 hours, changing the water 2-3 times.
To make the sauce :
Melt butter over a medium heat then whisk in the flour. Cook, without browning, over a medium-low heat for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in the hot milk. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stir in the salt, lemon rind, lemon juice, nutmeg and pepper. Reduce heat and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks. Return to the heat and whisk for 1 minute, or until sauce is smooth and creamy, blending thoroughly. Strain if desired and adjust seasonings to taste. Cover with wax-paper to prevent skin from forming until ready to use.
To prepare the cod :
Drain off the saline water. Then in a saucepan cover the cod with fresh cold water and bring just to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until tender. Do not boil.
Drain fish, and when cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones and coarsely shred. Set aside.
In a saucepan, cover potatoes with water and bring to boil. Cook for 20-30 minutes or just until potatoes are tender. When cool enough to handle, peel potatoes and cut into 5mm slices.
In a heavy saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat and cook onions, covered, for 20 minutes or until tender but now browned. Stir often. Add the cod and pepper and cook for 2 minutes, or until heated through. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Spoon 50ml of the molho branco (sauce) into a greased 3 litre casserole dish. Layer fish and onion mixture over the top, cover with half the remaining molho branco. Layer with eggs, followed by potatoes and remaining sauce.
In a small bowl mix together the double cream and the mustard until smooth and spoon over the potatoes and fish.
Cover and bake at 180C/350F/GM  for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. Then uncover and broil for 5 minutes, or until top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and rest for 15 minutes before serving.
I think Carla means the Bacalhau must rest, not you! ... but mind you, after all that work ... I'm not surprised if you also need a rest!

Portuguese Steak (for one)
Sirloin, or rump steak - 200g
Garlic - 4 cloves
Dry white wine - 75ml
Olive Oil - 45ml
Sat and coarsely ground Black Pepper to taste
Bay Leaf - 1
Piri-Piri Oil -
Crush 2 cloves of garlic with salt then mix with wine. Rub into steak, then brush steak with the Piri-Piri Oil, and leave for 30 minutes.
Slice other 2 cloves of garlic in half, heat oil, and cook with the bay leaf for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Then discard the garlic and the bay leaf.
Fry steak in the flavoured oil for 2-3 minutes per side.

Pao - Portuguese Bread
Unbleached strong flour - 450g
Instant dried Yeast - 10ml
Water - 250ml
Olive Oil
Salt - 2ml
Stir flour, salt and yeast together in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in water slowly, stirring to draw in the dry ingredients to make a firm dough. Add a little more water if necessary.
Form into a ball and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead well until smooth and elastic - about 15 minutes. Form into a ball again.
Oil a bowl lightly add dough and turn to coat dough in the oil. Cover and leave to rise in a draught free place until double in volume.
Punch down dough, turn onto a floured surface and knead again until smooth and elastic - about 5 minutes.
Form into a ball and put onto a lightly oiled baking tray and leave to double in volume again.
Pre-heat over to 200C/400F/GM6 and bake for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 180C/350F/GM4 and bake for a further 15-20 minutes, until browned on top. Cool on wire rack.




Feliz Natal Recipes:


Raine Alexander's Kitchen

Molho Hollandaise
Egg Yolks - 4
Lemon Juice - 25ml
Butter, softened and cubed - 250g
Salt - 2ml
Pepper - 2ml
Boiling Water 200ml
Lukewarm Water - 20ml
Whisk egg yolks with lukewarm water in top of a double boiler over simmering water. Add butter bit by bit, beating constantly. Do not allow to boil. Add boiling water gradually, still beating. Season with salt and pepper and lemon juice, beating throughout, and use at once.

Black Pudding/Blutwurst/Boudin Noir
For any discerning person who thinks that the South African raw dried meat, or biltong, sounds disgusting obviously hasn't tried the English Black Pudding, the German Blutwurst, or the French Boudin Noir.

The Black Pudding sausage originally came from the Midlands and North of England and usually contains pig's blood, and occasionally a mixture of other bloods, as well as fat, cereal, onions, groats and spices and is traditionally flavoured with the herb pennyroyal. In Scotland black pudding is made with sheep's blood. Black pudding is regarded as a breakfast food, sliced and fried.
The German Bludwurst is also made from pig's blood, with pork, bacon fat, marjoram and allspice; and there are many varieties.
The Boudin Noir sausage also contains pig's blood as well as pork fat, cream, onion and spices. There are many regional varieties containing additional flavourings.
Drisheen is another Black Pudding, this time from Ireland. It is made with sheep or pig's blood mixed with cream, breadcrumbs and herbs.
The Spanish Black Pudding is known as Morcilla and again there are many varieties. The most famous is from Asturia and is an important ingredient of the province's national dish - a stew made from bacon, belly of pork, onion, white beans, chorizo and morcilla - called fabada.
Roast Beef
A traditional English Roast Beef is only part cooked. The outside of the beef should be well-cooked and a mahogany brown colour, while the inside must be rare (semi raw) and a pinky colour. 

Venison Liver in Caul Fat
Venison Liver cleaned and thickly sliced - 1kg
Caul Fat
Salt - 5ml
Freshly ground Black Pepper
Season liver and place in caul fat so as to cover completely and secure with skewers. Cook over coals until just done. Serves 6.
I always thought that Caul was the amniotic sac that covers a child's head at birth, but apparently it is also the translucent membrane that covers the viscera (intestines).
Anyone who thinks this recipe is disgusting should try the Scottish Haggis - it is made with sheep's lungs, heart, and liver mixed with oatmeal, onion and suet, seasoned with spices and packed into a sheep's stomach.
Or Tripe (the stomach of a pig or ox), Brains, Lamb's Fry (the Testes) which are eaten worldwide, not just in Britain; and the Arabs I believe eat the Eyes.

English Cake (Victoria Sponge)
Cake Flour - 120g
Eggs, large, separated - 5
Granulated Sugar - 160g
Cream of Tartar - 5ml dissolved in 12.5ml lemon juice
Sift flour and salt together. Beat egg whites separately until stiff but not dry. Gradually beat in 100g sugar and cream of tartar mix. Beat egg yolks separately until pale yellow and creamy. Add remaining sugar gradually and beat until the sugar has dissolved. Fold in egg yolk mixture into egg whites using a wooden spoon.
Sift flour and salt mixture onto eggs in thin layers, folding in each layer lightly to ensure that air in egg mixture is not disturbed.
Turn batter into lightly greased baking tins and tap lightly on the table to break bigger air bubbles.
Bake at 160C/325F/GM until crust is light golden brown and cake has shrunk from the sides of the tin - about 50-60 minutes.
Invert tines onto cooling rack and leave until cake is almost cold before carefully removing the tins.
Sandwich layers together with apricot jam and sprinkle the top with icing sugar.


Galhina de Frontera (Braised Ostrich)
Ostrich Meat - 1kg
Mushrooms - 400g
Dried Peaches chopped - 100g
Onion sliced - 1
Green Pepper seeded and sliced - 1
Stalks Celery chopped - 2
Leek sliced - 1
Garlic chopped - 2 cloves
Plain Yoghurt - 1 litre
Meat Stock or water - 500ml
Dry Red Wine - 250ml
Chopped Thyme - 5ml
Salt - 10ml
Freshly Ground Pepper
Flour - 10ml
Marinate meat in yoghurt for 4-6 days in the refrigerator. Cube meat and discard marinade. Heat oil and sauté garlic, onion, green pepper, celery and leek. Add meat and brown lightly. Add stock, wine, salt, thyme, and pepper. Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours. Thicken gravy with flour, then add mushrooms and peaches and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Serves 6.
Wild boar or any other game that requires long slow cooking can be prepared this way.



Indian, Zanzibar and Arab Recipes 

Ramola Makan's Kitchen

The blending of spices is the essence of Indian cookery. To become a good Indian cook you must first become a good masalchi or spice blender. No deserving Indian dish is made from shop bought off-the-shelf curry powder made by the likes of Robertsons Spices or Schwartz.

Basic Curry Powder - Medium Hot

Red Chillies dried - 6
Coriander Seeds - 25g
Cumin Seeds - 10ml
Mustard Seeds - 2.5ml
Black Peppercorns - 5ml
Fenugreek Seeds - 5ml
Curry Leaves fresh - 10
Ginger ground - 2.5ml
Turmeric ground - 15ml

Remove the seeds from the chillies. Dry roast the whole spices over a medium heat until they darken, stirring or shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning. Leave to cool, then grind to a powder. Dry roast the curry leaves then grind and add them to the mixture with the ginger and turmeric, blending well.

Garam Masala is the principal spice blend of north Indian cookery and there are many versions.

A Masala may be a simple blend of two or three spices and herbs, or it may be complex containing a dozen or more. Some are fiery based on pepper, others are aromatic based on mace and cinnamon. But all Garam Masala is used sparingly.

Spices are usually dry roasted, and may be added to the dish whole or ground, at different stages during cooking.

For Pilafs, Birianis and some meat dishes, the use of whole spices is traditional and for some grand Moghul dishes dried rose petals are added to the basic mixture.

Basic Garam Masala
Cinnamon Sticks - 2
Bay Leaves - 3
Cumin Seeds - 40g
Coriander Seeds - 25g
Cardamom Seeds - 20g
Black Peppercorns - 20g
Cloves - 15g
Ground Mace - 15g

Break the cinnamon sticks into pieces. Crumble the bay leaves. Heat a heavy frying pan and add the whole spices. Dry roast over a medium heat until the colour darkens, stirring or shaking the pan to prevent burning. Leave to cool then grind and blend with the mace.


Ethiopean Berbere
Red Chillies dried - 10
Coriander Seeds - 2.5ml
Cloves - 5
Seeds from 6 green Cardamoms
Ajowan Seeds - 1ml
Allspice berries - 8
Black Peppercorns - 2.5ml
Fenugreek Seeds - 2.5ml
Ginger ground - 2.5ml
Cinnamon small piece

Heat a heavy frying pan and dry roast chillies and other whole spices of a medium heat until they darken, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Leave spices to cool, then remove the seeds from the chillies and crumble them. Then grind everything including the ginger to a fine powder.

Roghan Josh - North Indian Mutton Curry
Mutton (or lamb) cubed - 2kg
Onions large chopped - 3 or 4
Natural Yoghurt - 125ml
Water - 500ml
Spices :
Root Ginger pounded - 10ml
Garlic crushed - 10ml
Red Chillies pounded - 10ml
Turmeric - 7ml
Poppy Seeds - 7ml
Cumin Seeds - 5ml
Coriander Seeds - 15ml
Cardamom Pods - 2 whole
Cloves - 6 whole
Black Peppercorns - 10
Nutmeg ground - 5ml
Bay Leaves - 2
Salt to taste
Fresh Coconut grated - 50ml
Almonds flaked - 50ml

Heat oil in a large heavy based saucepan. Add meat and brown well then remove and set aside.

Fry the ginger, garlic and red chillies for a few seconds. Roast and grind turmeric, poppy seeds, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, coconut, almonds, nutmeg and salt. Add this mixture and the bay leaves to the pan and sauté for a few seconds more then add the onion and fry until it turns a medium brown.

Add meat and sauté for about 3-4 minutes, stirring until meat is evenly coated with the spices. Add the yoghurt 15ml at a time, stirring and simmering until incorporated. Simmer for a further 5-6 minutes stirring gently.

Add water, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 60-90 minutes until meat is tender stirring gently every 10-15 minutes.

Remove lid, increase heat and allow excess liquid to reduce to a rich, reddish brown sauce - about 10-15 minutes.

Murghi Bayat - Parsee Chicken
Chicken pieces skinned - 2kg
Potatoes, peeled and halved - 8-12
Carrots, peeled and thickly sliced - 4-6
Tomatoes, grated - 4-6
Peas - 125ml
Spices :
Garlic crushed - 10ml
Root ginger pounded - 5ml
Cumin Seeds - 5ml
Turmeric - 5ml
Sesame Seeds - 10ml
Chillies - 3
Coconut desiccated or grated fresh - 125ml
Oil - 10ml
Brown Sugar - 15ml
Indian Products :
Ghee - 15ml
Channa Flour - 15ml
Tamarind Water - 100ml

Grind garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, sesame, seeds, channa flour, chillies, coconut and oil to make a paste. Heat the ghee in a deep saucepan, add onion and fry untilgolden. Add the ground spices and fry lightly for a minute then add the chicken and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes until brown.

Add potatoes, carrots, tamarind water and sugar. Stir, then cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. If too dry add 100ml water.

Add the tomatoes and peas and continue cooking until chicken and vegetables are tender.


Roz Bil Tamar - Iraqi Rice
Rice cooked - 225g
Almonds - 125g
Dates stoned - 100g
Sultanas or raisins - 100g
Grated Orange rind - 2.5ml
Margarine - 2 tablespoons
Salt to taste

Melt the margarine in a large pan and when it is gently bubbling add the almonds. Fry, stirring often, for 1-2 minutes. Add the dates and sultanas/raisins, adding more margarine if necessary. Keep stirring so that nothing sticks or burns, and cook for a few minutes until the dried fruit begins to plump up.

Add the rice and cover. Cook over a very gentle heat, or place in a low oven, for 10-20 minutes. Just before serving add the grated orange peel.

Salatah Faowakeh - Lebanon Fruit Salad
Dried dates, stones and halved - 10-15
Sultanas/Raisins - 2 tablespoons
Peaches sliced - 2
Orange peeled and chopped - 1
Dried Figs chopped - 8
Hazelnuts - 2 tablespoons
Almonds - 1 tablespoon
Pistachio/Cashew Nuts - 2 tablespoons
Yoghurt or Cream - 225g
Honey clear - 1-2 tablespoons
Orange Juice - 120ml
Cold Tea - 240ml
Van Der Hum - 2 tablespoons
Rose Water - 2 tablespoons
(substitute Van Der Hum with Kirsch, Cointreau, mulberry or orange syrup)

Mix the honey with the syrup/liqueur and blend in the cold tea, orange juice and rose water. Add the figs, dates, sultanas/raisins, hazelnuts, almonds and 1 tablespoon of the pistachio/cashew nuts. Combine well and then place in the refrigerator for 2 hours to soak.

Add the sliced peaches and the orange and mix well then return to the refrigerator for another hour.

Chop the remaining nuts and scatter over the salad before serving with yoghurt or cream.



The Spice Trade


The origins of the spice trade go back to ancient times when the people in the Mediterranean traded with the Arabs, the Indians, and the Chinese.
The Egyptians used spices for body ointments, anointing oils, as fumigating agents for their homes, and for embalming. Spices like anise, caraway, cassia, cardamon, mustard, sesame, fenugreek, saffron and others were all used by the Egyptians in 1550bc.
The Arabs supplied the Egyptians with Frankincense from their own lands and myrhh from East Africa along the caravan trail known as the Incense Route; and acted as middlemen in the trade with the Orient and Africa south of the Sahara. To preserve their monopoly on the trade they kept secret from their Mediterranean customers the provenance of their wares and told them alarming tales about the location of the spices to discourage the spice buyers from trying to determine the true source of the supply.

When Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332bc, Alexandria became the meeting point for merchants from the East and merchants from the West, and Phoenician ships began to sail in the Red Sea.
The Romans stated sailing to Indian from Egypt in the first century AD and at the same time an overland route began from China, called the Silk Road. Routes overland varied according to the taxes levied on caravans and political stability in the region, until the second century AD when the Han emperors extended their control of central Asia far enough to police the roads. The most popular Oriental spices in Rome was pepper, ginger and turmeric.
In 408AD the Goths attacked Rome and the empire crumbled. Constantinople began the capital of the eastern empire and trade routes developed around the growing city.
The flow of goods from East to West gradually dwindles and in 641AD it had virtually stopped due to the barbarian invasions of the Dark Ages. It wasn-t until the end of the reign of Charlemagne when the Crusades reopened the routes, that Europe began again to deal in herbs and spices from the East. Monastry accounts give some idea of the spices used in Britain in the middle ages, and their imports were taxed at every opportunity. The Italian city states grew in prosperity on inflated prices until Venice defeated Genoa in 1380 and thereafter controlled the trade with the Orient who wanted gold, silver, coral, saffron and wool in return.
In the early 15th century Europe began to look for ways of by-passing the Venice and the Mediterranean.

Portugalwere the first, sending out expeditions under Prince Henry (the Navigator) - eastwards down the west coast of Africa, and westwards towards the then unknown Americas.

Columbus was unsuccessful but brought back tobacco, yams, kidney beans, and many new fruits and nuts.

Vasco da Gamawas successful and reached Calicut on the west coast of India, bringing back spices and jewels, and the news that the ruler was willing to trade.

Cabral, having sailed on a different course towards the Americas, was also successful, returning with a cargo of pepper and other spices, and further news of a land he had acquired, called Brazil.

The Venetian monopoly was broken. However, the Portuguese had to contend with resistance from the Arabs who had controlled trade in the Indian Ocean for centuries. And it was only in 1510 that they finally established themselves at the port of Goa on the island of Ceylon. They then moved even further east and settled in the trading town of Malacca at the southern end of the Malay peninsula, close to the Spice Islands themselves.
Magellan, sailing westwards round the globe under the auspices of the Spanish crown arrived in the Moluccas in 1522 and a struggle between the two powers in the islands began until they were united under a common Spanish crown in 1580.
In the meantime the Dutch controlled the spice trade in northern Europe acquiring the spices from Spain and Lisbon and making handsome profits in return.
But in 1568 the Spanish moved into the Netherlands and war broke out. The Dutch managed to dislodge them from the northern Calvinist provinces but not from the Catholic south, and although the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 reduced Spain's sea power it was still able to deny the Dutch access to Lisbon for trade.

The Dutch began to plot their own voyages to the East to acquire spices direct and so bypass the controls of Spain and Lisbon. They gathered information of spices, the islands, voyages and trading methods from spies in Lisbon, and in 1595 made an expedition to the East Indies.
Although this voyage was a bit catastrophic in that it took two and a half years and suffered mutiny on board ship, it returned with pepper, nutmeg, and mace and inspired the Dutch to finance further expeditions.
The Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie was formed to put a stop to internal competition and had sweeping powers to carry out war with the Spanish in the Indies and on the high seas.
Taking advantage of their military powers, native rulers enlisted their help in ousting also the Portuguese from Ceylon, the Moluccas, and Banda in Java. But the Dutch also tried to stop all other trade, even by acts of piracy, to prevent Chinese and other traders selling spices to the Portuguese and the English.

To control production of spices in the Islands and to keep prices high in Europe, the Dutch had nutmeg and clove trees uprooted and burnt large quantities of spices in Amsterdam. Nevertheless the output of spices increased to the extent that production was greater than consumption and the colonists in Banda had to be asked to grow food crops instead of nutmegs.
While the Dutch were displacing the Portuguese in the East, the English were also thinking seriously about trading voyages rather than piracy and in 1600 Elizabeth 1 granted a charter to an English company.

A period of constant harassment between the Dutch and the English followed until they joined forces in 1619 when a treaty was signed between the two countries agreeing to share the spice trade and ousting the Spanish and Portuguese.

The treaty did not last - the English were not strong enough to sustain the agreement and the director-general of the Dutch company, Jan Coen, continually sabotaged it.
Then in 1770 the administrator of Mauritius, Pierre Poivre, who was also a botanist managed to smuggle clove and nutmeg trees out of the Spice Islands and cultivated them successfully.

Soon these spices were being planted in the other French owned territories of the Seychelles, Reunion, Cayenne, Zanzibar, and the West Indies and by the 19th century no European country had a monopoly on any spice and prices fell.
By this time also the Americas had become successful in the trade of chilli peppers, allspice, vanilla, and chocolate, with ginger and capsicums being successfully grown in the New World and in the Mediterranean.
Today the United States is now the largest importer of spices in the world, followed by Germany, Japan and France. Singapore is the largest trading centre for pepper, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, anise, coriander and cumin. And Hong Kong for ginger, chillies and cassia.
Pepperis the most important spice imported in most markets in terms of both volume and value, followed by paprika, chilli and cayenne pepper.
Cardamomaccounts for a large share of the spice imports in the Middle East and North Africa, where it is used to flavour coffee, and in Sweden and Finland, where it is used in baking.
Indialeads the export league in spices, principally pepper, cardamom, chillies, ginger, turmeric, cumin and other seeds, and curry powder. Followed by Indonesia with pepper, nutmeg and mace, cassia, ginger, cardamom and vanilla; and Brazil with pepper, cloves and ginger.



Medicinal Spices



Although spices are little used in western medicine today, they are still widely prescribed in China and in Indian Ayurvedic medicine.
Cassia, ginger, cardamom, pepper, sesame and poppy have perhaps the oldest history of medicinal use in the East and in the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia (Iraq), the seed spices dill, anise, caraway, and fennel were common.

The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all used large numbers of medicinal plants, both local and Oriental.

The Arabs, for centuries at the centre of the spice trade, drew on much of the knowledge left by the Greeks and this was brought to the West by the writings of Avicenna, a leading physician in 11th century Arabia.
The demand for spices in Europe was as much for their medicinal applications as for the culinary appeal. The pepperers and spicers who sold them later became the apothecaries who dispensed medicines.
For centuries Europeans suffered from plagues and epidemics. Many people believed that these were spread by foul air and spices became popular as air purifiers. People took to carrying balls of aromatic spice blends, or pomanders, as protection against pestilence and unpleasant odours.
The range of conditions for which spices have been used is extensive and includes treating snakebites, bed-wetting, menstrual problems, poor eyesight, piles, jaundice, indigestion, diabetes, migraines, insomnia and lack of sexual energy.
The warming quality of spices such as mustard and cayenne led to their use in the treatment of colds, circulatory problems, and muscular aches and pains. Mustard plaster was thought to warm the skin and open the lungs, making breathing easier, although if applied for too long or made too strong, it caused skin blisters.
Nowadays herbs and spices as medicines are brushed aside under the category of -old wives tales- in favour of synthetically manufactured scientific equivalents called -prescription drugs-. But recent research has shown that cinnamon, used in ancient Egypt in embalming mixtures, is effective against bacterial and fungal infection, and that chillies contain a chemical called capsaicin that increases blood circulation upon contact. More and more scientists are turning back to nature and native applications for cures to such diseases as cancer.

Ancient cultures valued aromatic plant oils not only for their healing properties but also as perfumes, anointing oils and preservatives.

In the days of the Muslim Empire (7th - 11th centuries), Arab scientists perfected the art of distillation and developing techniques to extract the essential oils from aromatic plants. Cinnamon and cloves were two the earliest spices from which they distilled the essential oil, although the most renowned was the costly Attar of Roses.
The knowledge of distillation was brought to the West by the Crusaders and by the 14th century the apothecaries- guilds were established supplying oils, ointments and infusions to the public.
As the extraction of essential spice oils is time consuming and expensive some oils have also been copied synthetically but only the aroma is reproduced, not the therapeutic properties. These synthetic oils can be used in the cosmetic and food industries, but not for any healing process.
An important use of essential oils today is in the science of aromatherapy which is a modern, holistic version of an old healing art, intended to strengthen the body's self-defence mechanisms against disease. Applied through massage, baths, and inhalations some oils have a calming effect while other oils stimulate the body. Of the spice oils, cinnamon, juniper and clove are the most important for aromatherapy.

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A Synopsis of Natural Foods of Africa :

Differences in climate, soil and vegetation type are reflected in significant differences in the availability and use of edible plants across Africa.

Some bush foods are widely eaten, whilst other types of gathering characterise a particular biome.

Vangueria infausta, Ximenia caffra and Sclerocarya birrea fruits, for example, are popular throughout the savanna woodlands of East and southern Africa (e.g., Fox and Norwood-Young, 1982; Johns, Mhoro and Sanaya, 1996; Peters, 1988; Quin, 1959).

By contrast, gathering grass and Monsonia seed'stores of harvester ants is unique to the Desert biome (Malan and Owen-Smith, 1974; Steyn and Du Pisani, 1984).

In Tanzania, Peters, Maguire and Box (1984) record the seasonality of edible wild foods and compare this to agricultural food production.

Bush foods are of great importance to the rural poor living in the vast area of southern and East Africa covered by nutrient poor, drought susceptible sands of the coastalplain along the east coast (which stretches from Somalia to South Africa, the Namib coast to the west and the Kalahari sands region in the centre.

Wild species that were outstandingly important food sources developed a special place at the culture/nature interface across southern Africa.

This is expressed in territorial rights, protection in customary law and the symbolic and religious significance of these key food sources today and in the past.

Inherited rights by extended family groups (!hao-!nas) are attached to !nara melon patches (Acanthosicyos horridus) in the Khuiseb delta (Desert biome), for example (Budack, 1983; Dentlinger, 1977).

Similarly, in the Kalahari savanna, mongongo nut (Schinziophyton rautanenii) groves are associated with the !Kung san family units, with permission asked if others want to collect from the grove (Lee, 1973).

Amongst farming communities throughout southern Africa, private rights are also accorded to marula (Sclerocarya birrea) and other wild fruit trees in cleared fields or near to homesteads, whereas anyone can collect fruits from uncleared woodlands.

Private rights are also given to individual palm-wine tappers in Hyphaene coriacea savanna on the sandy coastal plain of south-eastern Africa (Cunningham, 1990b).

The availability of bush foods varies considerably across the sub-continent. O'Brien (1988), documents the decline in woody edible plant diversity across the region from east to west.

Her data show that species richness of woody edible plants was lowest in the desert, Nama-Karoo, Fynbos and central Kalahari region of the Savanna biome.

The highest diversity of woody edible species occurs in the eastern escarpment and eastern seaboard of the Savanna biome.

Differences in extent of use of wild spinach is also apparent in different lifestyles across southern Africa, with a greater diversity of species used by agricultural and agro-pastoral communities than by hunter-gatherers, with disturbed habitats created for these "weedy" species at cattle posts or in fallow fields.

The diversity in use of underground plant parts and seeds (as opposed to fleshy fruits) across southern Africa shows the opposite trend to that of woody edible plants.

A low number of edible species with root, tuber, bulb or corms are gathered on the coastalplain of the moist east coast (Cunningham, 1985), while a high diversity are used in the Kalahari savanna region.

O'Brien's analysis was based on the distribution maps for 264 woody edible species from Coates-Palgrave's (1977) book on trees of southern Africa.

It should therefore not be taken in isolation as the dietary importance of non-woody edible species also needs to be taken into account.

Underground bulbs, tubers, corms and stems provide an important source of gathered food in the biomes which O'Brien (1988) shows as low in woody edible species.

The Asclepiadaceae (Brachystelma, Ceropegia, Duvalia, Fockea, Orbeopsis, Stapelia and Raphionacme), Curcurbitaceae (Acanthosicyos, Coccinia, Corallocarpus, Cucumis, Momordica, Trochomeria) and Iridaceae (Laperousia, Babiana) are particularly important in this regard (Story, 1958; Archer, 1990; Geiss and Snyman, n.d).

In an area where 31 woody edible species are recorded in O'Brien's (1988) analysis for example, Giess and Snyman (n.d) recorded 101 edible plant species.

Of particular botanical significance is the use of underground parts of 43 species in 15 families used by !Kung San people in the north western Kalahari.

The "underground forests of Africa" described by Frank White (1976) form part of this food resource.

The Kalahari savanna is a centre of diversity worldwide for plants with geoxylic suffrutices, large underground woody structures which White (1976) records having evolved independently in 31 families.

Several of these "underground trees" are a source of fruits (Lannea, Landolphia, Salacia, Parinari, Diospyros, Eugenia). To a lesser extent this also applies to the Mozambique coastalplain (White, 1976) as well.

Bemba agriculture in Zambia (Richards, 1939) illustrate the great importance of wild spinaches in the diet of rural people (e.g., Ogle et al., 1990; FAO, 1986).

Popular wild spinaches used widely in southern Africa are Amaranthus species (A. hybridus, A. spinosus) (Amaranthaceae), Pentarrhinum insipidum (Asclepiadaceae), Cleome gynandra (Capparaceae), Corchorus species (C. tridens and C. trilocularis) (Tiliaceae) and the introduced Bidens pilosa (Asteraceae).

Wild spinaches were similarly reported as the main side to porridge in savanna areas of Swaziland by 39% of 133 meals surveyed (Ogle and Grivetti, 1985).

A similar situation applies on the Maputaland coastalplain (Cunningham, 1988a) and in Tanzania (Fleuret, 1979a), where wild plants appeared in 32% of all meals, and 81% of vegetable side dishes comprised wild species, and 17.7% of introduced or cultivated vegetables.

Ironically, most of the plant species providing this nutritionally important food resource are considered useless weeds by commercial farmers.

Commercial farmers also tend to clear all trees from fields. To subsistence farmers, however, edible-fruit bearing trees form a crucial part of the food production system.

Many other wild fruit trees are also valued as food sources and conservation of favoured fruit, fodder or shade producing trees has been an important factor in maintaining woody plant cover in agricultural lands of communal areas in southern Africa (Cunningham, 1985; Campbell, 1986; Wilson, 1990).




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