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Recipe request for South African or Botswanan food

I am giving a party to show our photos of our recent Botswanan safari. I would like to cook food from the region. As I recall we had mostly stews in Botswana. Can anyone contribute some recipes for a "African" freast - preferably SA or Botswanan?

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  1. Don't know about the food of SA, but Botswana doesn't exactly sound like a gourmet tour de force. Boiled beef, porridge, and vegetable stews seem to be the staples. You;ll find a little information here: http://www.botswanaembassy.or.jp/cult...

    1. Sosatie (essentially South African/Cape Malay Satays) and other Cape Malay foods would be a good dishes to bring. Google will find you a bunch of recipes.

      1. My experience is South African, not Bots, but here's what I'd do (depending on the size of your group:
        sosaties (lamb brochettes witha curry/red wine/apricot marinade)
        boerewors (beef sausage, usually spiced with clove)
        piri piri grilled chicken
        yellow rice (tumeric, raisins, a couple of cinnamon sticks broken)
        chakalaka (I don't use beans)
        some good South African wines
        Castle Lager (although, if you can get it, get Windhoek, from Namibia - excellent lager)

        I don't know what the availability of African game is in SF area (where you seem to be located), but ostrich should be available, since we produce it in North America, and it's excellent. You can substitute it for the lamb in the sosaties. If you can het your hands on some kudu or zebra...mmmmm. Kudu is perhaps the best flesh I've tasted in my life. I quite like zebra, though it has a slightly odd flavour, not gamey, but... odd.

        Do you want the sosatie recipe?

        3 Replies
        1. re: hungry_pangolin

          Hungry pangolin- Those are some good ideas. The recipe for curry- apricot marinade would be helpful. Piri piri is that the Peri Peri sauce we had? What is chakalaka? The Castle beer and SA wine- I forgot! Just an aside- why don't they have more variey and better beer in SA?
          Abby, I do really want to do Botswanan food as that is where we went on Safari. We did visit SA too. I think I may combine ideas and do a mix Thank you both.

          1. re: zinfanatic

            1) I don't know about the beer in RSA. Castle and Black Label seemed to be pretty much it, and Windhoek was a similar style except that it had flavour, and tasted good. It was my go-to whenever I could get it.

            2) Piri=Peri The best brand I tasted was Nali's, from Malawi. The label said something like "The hottest sauce in Africa - Friend, take care". It wasn't insanely hot, actually.

            3) Chakalaka: This is real Sowetan chow. In a large pot, begin sauteeing onion in oil. Once translucent, add garlic and carrot (diced or in batons). After a minute or two, add curry powder, grated ginger root, stir and cook for a few minutes. Add roughly diced cabbage, a couple of roughly chopped tomatoes (both necessary) and green(bell) pepper (optional, but I like it). Cook until the cabbage has reached desired tenderness, about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. No two recipes are the same. Many recipes call for beans or one variety or another, but I exclude them.

            You can actually get it tinned. All Gold brand is what I can get here (Toronto), and it's pretty good, but a bit oily. It's also, a bit confusingly, labelled "mild and spicy". Go fig. If you see it, pick it up, and use that as your 'base line'. My version is less oily, and less saucy. My preferred consistency is with the carrot and cabbage with some slight toothsomeness left, and the veg fully coated with sauce, but no sauce pooling on the plate.

            4) Marinade for sosaties. Again, no two recipes are alike.
            The volumes of course will vary according to the amount of lamb (or, ostrich) you will be making. But, assuming a large leg of lamb (2.5kg), you will bone, trim the fat and silver skin, rendering just under 2kg of meat. alternately, save yourself the grief, and by a boned leg of lamb.
            2 onions, skinned and quatered
            2 garlic cloves, minced
            125ml plain or white wine vinegar
            1/2 bottle dry red wine (pinotage, if you want to be a real bokkie)
            3tsp curry powder (use a good brand, like Bolst's)
            2tsp coriander seed, ground
            1/2-1tsp allspice, ground
            1/2-1tsp cumin seed, ground
            3 cardamom pods
            1 or 2 cinamon sticks, broken
            1Tbsp tamarind paste
            2-3Tbsp apricot jam
            2 bay leaves

            (This is a bit like building a curry.) Begin sauteeing the onions in olive oil, and once translucent, add, garlic, salt, curry powder, cumin, coriander, allspice, cardamom, bay leaves, cinnamon, and stir. Allow it to cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, then deglaze with a few Tbsp red wine. Allow it to reduce, add some more wine, and add the jam and the tamarind paste, incorporating them fully. Add the wine and vinegar. Reduce the heat, cover, and allow it to simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, and allow it to cool to room temperature. Your marinade is done.

            Cube lamb in to large pieces, about 1 1/2 inches. Place in a non-reactive container (glass or enamel), pour cooled marinade over top. Seal with cling film and place in refrigerator. Turn the meat a couple of times a day. Marinate for 48 hours.

            Resuscitate whole, dried apricots in some sherry.

            Assemble brochettes: lamb, onion from the marinade, and apricots.

            Grill, basting with the marinade, about 15 minutes.

            Get some good South African wines, especially pinotage (just to up the distinctly South African ante).

            I've done a "dessert shooter" called a springbok: 2 parts Amarula Cream, 1 part green creme de menthe. Float the creme de menthe over the Amarula Cream. As the creme de menthe bleeds into the Amarula, it looks like the green of the rugby jersy. Down in one.

            Have fun. Let us know what you end up doing, and how it worked out.


            1. re: hungry_pangolin

              Thanks so much Hungry for all your trouble. I went searching for ingredients today in the SF Bay Area with not much luck- but I am undeterred! I am looking for Peri Peri and beer- I know I can but wine and had some good wine while in SA. I think I will buy some ginger beer to serve also- though it will not be SA.

        2. My experience in Botwswa was not a lot of high cuisine. Mostly stewed beef over some sort of dumpling or sqaush. That said, Botswanans know how to party and no party in Botswana is complete without a brai - that is grilling meat on an open fire. If you want to throw a party like a true Botswanan host you'll grill a bunch of meat and serve it mixed-grill style.

          1. Here's a recipe for a spicy South African stew (Trinchado) from Leite's Culinaria that I have bookmarked. It's gotten very good reviews on the site.

            1. You'll have to serve bush tea. I've been reading THE No. 1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY books and Precious Ramotswe never makes a move without drinking a mug of bush tea first. Foodwise - she seems to be very fond of cooked pumpkin, and beef stew, of course.

              I looked up bush tea online and bought some at the health food store.Is called Rooibos Tea - is delicious.

              Here's an interview with Alexander McCall Smith. The tea is mentioned at the very bottom:


              Be sure to post your Botswana menu and recipes! Your party sounds like a fun idea!

              3 Replies
              1. re: GloriaSwansonsTVdinner

                Rooibos is, I am told, an excellent antioxidant - almost as good as blueberry.

                1. re: GloriaSwansonsTVdinner

                  aren't those fab books? Yes she drinks that tea before every major decision (and minor ones too).

                  1. re: smartie

                    Continuing on the Mma Ramotswe theme -- you've got to make something with pumpkin! She's always cooking pumpkin!

                2. I spent several months in South Africa and Namibia and I mostly remember the meat - lots and lots of meat. I second the suggestion of having a braai - grilling up sausages, sosaties (kebabs). If you google "Braai recipes" you will find a lot of ideas. You can probably approximate mealie pap with grits, but I'm not sure you'd want to. I remember eating zebra and warthog, but again some things are best left in Africa. We also did eat a lot of ostrich, either in steaks or burgers. And of course there's the biltong (jerky), make from pretty much every animal you could think of. You could put out an assortment of jerky for snacks, if you think your friends would actually eat it!

                  1. I spent a semester of college in Botswana (which was over a decade ago), and spent several weeks living with families there. Being a vegetarian, the cuisine was somewhat challenging, as it was very high in meat. Most families are poor, so the food I had was very basic, and involved staples, such as rice, maize, sorghum porridge, and beans. The only vegetables I saw regularly were butternut squash and cabbage, and most of the packaged food (necessary, as most families were without refrigeration) were imported from South Africa.

                    Bush tea, or rooibos, is a must. We had it several times a day with milk and sugar. Just the smell of it (particularly cooked on a gas stove) brings me back. We also enjoyed Amarula, which is a cream liquor made from an African fruit. Fatcakes, which are fried balls of dough, were sold from stalls in the markets. If you want to get very traditional, try drinking some fermented sorghum porridge - it is a traditional alcoholic beverage, and not terribly pleasant!

                    1. I'm glad to see so many responses!

                      Considering that it's winter in the States, I'd go more towards Cape Malay curries, which are usually served with rice and/or rotis. Or celebrate the West Coast with a fish menu (most of the sauces described on this board can be used for a lovely side of fish, which is certainly lighter than meat stews, boerewors, etc!).

                      You could also start with a butternut soup, which many consider SA's 'national' soup. Other traditional starters might include fish cakes, samosas (deep fried triangles filled with curry), fish pate.

                      Popular vegetables for the side include spinach, cabbage, butternut, sweet potato.

                      What desserts are you looking at? Here, the Afrikaners rule supreme. I'd suggest a malva pudding (like a sticky toffee pudding, only made with apricot jam) or milk tart. To serve with your rooibos (or honeybush tea, which is milder, if you can find it)! A simpler option is vanilla ice cream with a shot of amarula poured over it.

                      In terms of the beer thing, South Africa typically remains several years behind the northern hemisphere in food trends; organics is a relatively new addition to supermarket shelves here, for example. So while America is blooming with microbreweries, no one's really heard of the concept here. And since beer is an alcoholic staple, people are slower than usual to accept change. My boyfriend gets teased at braais when instead of castle, he brings his favourite, an imported beer, Cervejas São Gabriel, from Portugal.

                      And just to correct a misconception, trinchado is Mozambiquan. Although locals may occasionally borrow it from them, though not on the same level that we've misappropriated peri-peri from our north-eastern neighbours!

                      1. Hey, zinfanatic! What did you end up doing?