Recipe from South Africa – Potjiekos

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Potjiekos - One Pot Recipe from South Africa

Our favorite Potjiekos recipe

Potjiekos is a traditional dish from the South African cuisine, which is often prepared in a cast iron pot called a potjie. The potjie is cooked over an open flame and various ingredients are slowly simmered. I first came across the recipe for potjiekos from South Africa on my travels through Africa. Potjiekos are simple stews. These dishes go back to the Voortrekkers, who travelled through the country with their heavy ox carts. They lived, slept and ate in them. They transported everything they needed for life. They did not have much space for kitchen equipment in their covered wagons. Instead, they took a Dutch Oven with, in which they easily open their recipes over the campfire could prepare. Recipes like this are still good for today Cooking in the camper.

Potjieko's recipes are variable

There are many different recipes for potjiekos, depending on the region and taste. However, a classic potjiekos usually consists of meat, vegetables and spices. Popular types of meat are beef, lamb or chicken, but game or sausage can also be used. The vegetables may vary depending on the season, but potatoes, carrots, onions and tomatoes are often used. Spices such as paprika, turmeric or cumin give the dish a special touch.

A typical potjie recipe looks like this: First, the meat is fried in oil and then removed from the pot. Then onions and garlic are sautéed in the same pot. Then add carrots and potatoes, followed by tomatoes and spices. Finally, the meat is added back and everything is stewed together. If you're looking for more potjiekos recipes, there are a variety of variations to try. For example, how about a vegetarian potjie with pumpkin and beans or a sweet potjie with fruits and spices?

No matter which variant you choose, potjiekos is a great dish that not only tastes delicious, but also reflects South African culture and tradition. If you have the opportunity, you should definitely try it yourself!

One of my Potjie recipes for Potjiekos

Ingredients for potjiekos with beef

  • 2 Esslöffel Öl
  • 1.5 kg of beef
  • three onions
  • a pound of carrots
  • a pound of potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 120 milliliters of milk
  • Salt to taste
  • black pepper


Cut the beef into bite-sized pieces and season with salt and pepper. We fry these pieces of meat in oil. Then we take them out of the pot and set them aside.

Now we cut the onions into rough cubes. We fry them in the drippings until translucent. Then we add the meat back in and pour enough water over it to cover everything. Then we cover the potjie and let it simmer for about an hour.

Meanwhile we peel the potatoes. Along with the carrots, we cut them into bite-sized pieces. We then add this to the meat and onion mixture for about half an hour.

After that we mix milk with sugar, curry and turmeric. We add this sauce to our stew. After a quarter of an hour we gently stir the whole thing. If the dish is too dry, you can add some water.

Let the dish simmer for another 15 minutes and then serve.



Potjiekos is a Voortrekker recipe

The term potjiekos comes from Afrikaans, the language of the immigrants from Holland. It means nothing other than "the food from the pot". There is no fixed one-pot recipe for this. Because the trekkers rarely had more than flour, rice and legumes with them on their great trek into the interior of South Africa. Usually they used game that they killed during their journey. There was also rice or legumes such as beans or peas. They dried them and took them away in sacks. Fresh vegetables were rare. If so, then it consisted of fruits that they found along the way. They put the ingredients in a cast-iron pot that they placed above the campfire hung on a tripod.



Dutch oven on a tripod
Magellan, CC BY 3.0 License, via Wikimedia Commons – How to Cook One Pot Recipes in South Africa


The recipes of the Boers are stews, which were usually ready quickly. When cooking potjiekos, it is important to place the ingredients in the pot so that the ones that take the longest go in the pot first. Then, over time, add the other ingredients until they are all cooked through.

On the travels of the Boers, cooking stew recipes also spread among the black African tribes of South Africa. I always noticed the big pots at the roadside markets we saw. Chunks of meat and vegetables were usually stewed in them. Potjie food has become a tradition in South Africa.



Platpotjie for the One Pot Recipes in South Africa
Platpotjie for the stews in South Africa


Potjiekos are made when meeting friends

Potjiekos are now popular at festivals in South Africa. For example, being invited to a potjiekos always means going to a party. Then the guests gather around the pot in which the recipe is simmering. That's how I got to know it. During my travels as a tour guide around South Africa, I made friends with local people. I often called her on the way to announce my arrival. Then I knew that there would soon be one of the stews. Eating from the Potjie was always a must.


One pot recipe for potjiekos
Pea soup can also be potjiekos


A Potjiekos has to cook for a long time - and smells correspondingly good

Most of the time the pot was already hanging over the fire and the recipe of the day had been simmering for some time. I can still remember well that I often didn't know exactly where the party should take place. However, it was never difficult to find my friends. All I had to do was follow the smells that lured me to the beach. Unlike the Voortrekkers, however, they always used a lot of vegetables for their potjiekos. Potatoes, carrots, beans, peas, and large chunks of meat—lamb, beef, or game—mingled together to create a delicious stew. There was a lot to talk about while we waited for it to cook. With a glass Wine from South Africa the wait wasn't difficult. After that the food tasted even better.




Questions and answers about cooking Potjiekos at Potjie

How much meat do I need for my potjie recipe?

For a potjie with 4-6 servings you need about 500g to 750g of meat. You can use beef, pork, or chicken, whichever you like best.

Which vegetables go well with potjiekos?

There are many types of vegetables you can add to your potjie, including carrots, potatoes, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and squash. Just choose the vegetables you like the most.

How long do I have to let my potjie cook?

A potjie usually takes between 2 and 3 hours until the meat and vegetables are nice and tender. But you can also cook longer, depending on how you like it.

Can I also cook my potjie on the stove?

Yes, you can also cook your potjie on the stove if you don't have a potjie pot. Simply use a large, heavy saucepan with a lid and cook your potjie over low heat so it simmers slowly.

What can I do if my potjie is getting too dry?

If your potjie gets too dry, you can add some water or broth to freshen it up. However, you should be careful not to add too much liquid or your potjie will become too soupy.


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Source recipe from South Africa – Potjiekos: own research. Our opinions definitely remain our own.

Text Recipe from South Africa – Potjiekos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Photos Recipe from South Africa – Potjiekos : © Copyright Canva Pro, Flickr and Wikimedia (public domain and as indicated in the caption)

Recipe from South Africa – Potjiekos

Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Slow Travel and Enjoyment travel blog TravelWorldOnline Traveller. You have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Your topics are Trips to Savor and wine tourism worldwide and Slow Travel. During her studies, Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she traveled to the USA and Canada - sometimes together with Petar Fuchs - and spent a research year in British Columbia. This strengthened her thirst for knowledge, which she pursued for 6 years Adventure Guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as Study tour guide for Studiosus Reisen tried to breastfeed all over the world. She constantly expanded her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: “What is beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do you eat in this region?” These are the questions she is now trying to answer as a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), among others. travel writer and travel blogger answers in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is below Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021 Other Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs. Recommendations on LinkedIn from tourism experts Further recommendations from cooperation partners and tourism experts Professional experience Monika on LinkedIn