South Africa boasts many delights, including its culinary ones. Rich and flavoursome, South African cuisine has reached global recognition in recent years, with establishments like The Tasting Room in Franschoek being voted as one of the best restaurants in the world. One of the defining features of South African cuisine is its honesty. Simple dishes are cooked to perfection, forsaking any unnecessary ingredients that might distract the palate. Many of South Africa’s famous dishes are cooked on an open grill, resulting in tantalising smoky aromas which are irresistible.
There are multiple South African dishes which define the country’s cuisine, and we’ve listed some of them for you…
Biltong is a form of cured meat that is similar to jerky. There are many types of biltong, ranging from beef to more unconventional meats such as ostrich. Biltong is made from raw fillets of meat, which are then seasoned (usually wish black pepper, sugar, vinegar, coriander and salt), cut into strips and left to cure for approximately 4 days.
Usually enjoyed as a snack, biltong can also be diced up and put into stews, as well as a variety of other dishes. Although similar in appearance to jerky, biltong lacks a sweet flavour.
Traditionally made with lamb or mutton, sosaties are a kind of kebab usually grilled on an outdoor barbecue. The term sosatie comes from sate (meaning ‘skewered meat’) and saus (meaning ‘spicy sauce’).
The preparation of sosaties is very simple. Cubes of lamb or mutton are marinated with a mixture of garlic, chillies, onions, curry spices and tamarind juice; this makes the meat extremely tender. The meat is then skewered, interspersed with vegetables, dried apricots and prunes, and barbecued.
Sosaties have become a popular dish overseas, with many diners appreciating the blend of the meat’s spices with the dried fruit’s sweetness.
Boerewors are a South African sausage, with the Afrikaans translation meaning ‘farmer’s sausage’.
Consisting of minced beef (sometimes other meats, or a combination of meats) and spices (salt, pepper, coriander), Boerewors are usually grilled outdoors. The sausage is high in fat, and requires a casing to ensure the meat doesn’t fall apart.
Unlike other sausages, which are shaped into relatively small links, Boerewors are formed into one long spiral, which makes for quite a sight! Boerewors are most commonly served with pap, which is a traditional South African porridge made from polenta.
Said to have been inspired by a similar Indonesian dish, Bobotie is a dish of minced meat with an egg-based topping.
Usually made with beef or lamb, Bobotie is sometimes made with pork as well, which lends the dish an extra element of succulence. The dish is often served with rice, and garnished with raisins or dates.
Bobotie is said to have been eaten in the 17th Century, and today retains the recipe of blending spices with sweeter ingredients such as ginger and lemon rind. This is a South African dish with a lot of history behind it, and is still enjoyed today.
Matthew Coe is Online Marketing Manager for Wanderforth.