When you think of traditional South African foods, a couple seems to put up their hands. But the two that must be right up there in the top three or four must be braaivleis (barbecued meat) and potjiekos (stew made in a cast iron pot on the coals as well). Now I’m not the world’s best cook, not by a long shot. My ranking would probably be somewhere in the top 500 million, but I would be able to help myself if my life depended on it. While on our holiday camping trip, I decided to make potjie for Christmas lunch.

This is how I did it. There are hundreds of different recipes and ways of doing it. This is mine.
  • The fire gets lit and when there are sufficient coals, the black three leg cast iron pot gets put on it.
  • Put in some olive oil. Just a bit. Not too much. Just enough. (Get the idea?)
  • We decided on a chicken potjie and had about 4 drumsticks, 4 wings and 4 pieces of white meat. Put in the pieces and just do a quick fry on both sides of each so that it gets a bit of colour, then take out.
  • Put in one onion (sliced into rings) and fry till light brown
  • Put chicken on top of onions
  • Add baby potatoes, slices carrots, pieces of butternut, mushrooms and peas (or any other vegetables your heart desires)
  • Then I add my concoction, I mean sauce (can somebody explain to me how to do that typing thing with the line through?) It consist of a packet of spare rib marinade, some chutney, tomato sauce, tin of tomato puree, salt, pepper and water – can’t remember what else we had, but at home I’ll also add worcester sauce, sweet chili or whatever else you have in stock.
  • Don’t add more water. It makes it’s own water. In this case the Damselfly added more water and the sauce didn’t get thick enough.
  • Now leave it to do its thing for two hours or so. Important: DON’T BOTHER THE POT SO DON’T STIR IT! UNDERSTAND? Trust me (and thousands before me) it won’t burn and it will all be cooked.
  • Towards the end you may want to take out some of the sauce to add corn flour to it to get the sauce thick. Don’t forget to pour it back in after mixing the flour in.
Here is the end product. Don’t criticise the presentation. It wasn’t a food fancy dress party. It was just supposed to get our tummies full. The bread is beer bread. One 500mg self raising flour and a tin of beer. Mix well and stuff in three standard tins. Cover with foil and bake on the coals. The tins can be see in the first picture on the right hand side.

The Damselfly couldn’t resist (ok, so I had to ask her) taking a picture of me with my new springbok horn pot opener in hand. I’m not really a hat guy, but the temperature came close to 40C (104F) that whole week and my receding hair is leaving my forehead a little exposed.
So that is the end of today’s cooking lesson. LOL. Next time I’ll do one on a braai (barbecue).

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This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Avril

    Yum – tasty! No points for presentation – you wouldn’t do well on “Masterchef ..” and I thought you said you did it – then why is Damesfly interfering with adding water!! And the hat looks good!!

  2. Marcelle

    Boy ob boy that sounds and looks devine…I read the whole post as it was a chicken potjie and I dont eat red meat…I would have lost interest by the first sentence otherwise…* giggle *I have no idea how to do the line through the word here on blogger but I do know how on other sites – so lets hope someone clever pops around and not only teachers you but also me…Thanks for your comment on my blog about my concern re posting pics of the kids…I will have to buy a watermarker and do that to my pics as well…just not sure which watermarker is the easiest to work with.Enjoy the weekend

  3. Ann

    Jamie Oliver eat your heart out !!!! cooking and photography….you talanted devil ! that sounds wonderful, and looks very, very tasty… I am probably the worst cook in the world, but I feel inspired to try this. I would love to say “hey…lets trade recipes ” but mine are rubbish, my lack of ability is legendary, my worst cookery mis-adventure this year is Plum Jamwhich has to be removed from the jar and sliced,and applied to the toast in one solid lump. Quite a talking point !!!!

  4. Max-e

    Firefly, I have never managed to get into the potjie thing. I must confess that I have always found the pressure cooker a good alternative :)Though some years ago I did make a concession and bought a flat based cast iron pot, from the Mannetjies Roux Museum in Victoria West. Mannetjies, as the pot is called, no longer spends time on hot coals and is only used on the stove.

  5. madcobug

    That sounds and looks delicious. That is some hot weather you are in. Helen

  6. Anonymous

    I just love potjie kos! Especially oxtail! I am so pleased to find so many SA bloggers all of a sudden thanks to Max at Ma files. It seems as if PE is SA’s blog capital. I had just begun to think Bloggieland is only inhabited by my North American friends. Shall be back…

  7. Jo

    My mother used to make potjiekos, and yours looks and sounds wonderful…! You have given me an idea. Guess what I am going to make for dinner tonight! Yum!In blogging, to put a line through, you have to be in HTML mode. Before the line you want to delete, you put the forward and backward carats with the word del in it and afterwards you put the same carats, but with the forward slash / inside the carats and the word del. When you go into compose mode, the line will look as if it is crossed out.I hope this will show up…

  8. Karin

    Oe, hoe lekker lyk dit! We love potjiekos and your tips are spot-on. Do not add too much liquid and DO NOT stir!!

  9. Jeanne

    Great post – we finally were reunited with our potjie pot (which had been in storage with Stuttafords for 7 years!!) last month and my husband is *loving* making potjies again!