Traditional South African Potjiekos recipes you should try today

Traditional South African Potjiekos recipes you should try today

Are you looking for traditional South African meals? If so, Potjiekos is a dish to try. This is a dish prepared outside in a small round three-legged iron cast pot. Usually, charcoal or firewood is used. Twisted grass or dried cow dung can also be used as an alternative source of fuel. Discover authentic South African Potjiekos recipes today.

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potjie recipe book
A picture of traditional South African food. Photo:, @cindycrazycatlady
Source: UGC

Nothing screams more traditional than Potjiekos during a social function. This tasty dish is slow-cooked in a cast iron pan for hours. Unlike a strew, it is not stirred during cooking.

Tantalizing Potjiekos recipes you must try

Have you been looking for authentic Potjiekos recipes but do not have a Potjie recipe book for guidance? Fret not because we have you covered. Below are amazing recipes that will make you and your loved ones happy.

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Simple South African Potjie (with lamb)

Beef potjiekos recipe
A bowl of delicious food. Photo:, @Roy Sloan
Source: UGC

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Below is a simple Potjiekos recipe with lamb as the primary source of protein. This South African stew will make everyone ask for seconds at the dinner table.


  • Cooking oil to cover your pan's base
  • 1kg lamb, cut into chunks
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 8 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 2 large zucchinis, chopped in chunks
  • 4 cups green beans
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (400 g)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Chillies, chopped (optional)
south african potjie
Image:, @BeatTheBush (modified by author)
Source: UGC


  • Place the cast iron pot on the fire and add oil to heat.
  • Add the onions and fry till succulent.
  • Add the lamb, garlic, and ginger. Allow the lamb to brown evenly on all sides. If the meat starts burning, add a few tots of water to the pot to reduce the temperature.
  • Add some salt and pepper.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and bay leaves. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about one hour. You can add water as needed.
  • Add the potato and carrot chunks, cover, and allow to cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Next, add the zucchini and green beans. You can adjust the salt and pepper at this point.
  • Do not stir the meal. Ensure the pot has enough liquid to cook all ingredients without burning. Cover the pot and allow it to simmer for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the fire and serve hot. Rice is a perfect accompaniment.

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Amazing beef Potjiekos recipe

Beef potjiekos recipe
A pot of stew. Photo:, @makafood
Source: UGC

A good alternative to lamb is beef, which is readily available across South Africa. Check out this amazing beef-based recipe below.


  • 4 tablespoons butter or cooking oil
  • 1 hot chilli pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 500 g whole mushrooms
  • 1 kg stewing beef, cut into chunks
  • 500g kidney/ sugar/ haricot/ black-eyed beans, soaked overnight
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into chunks
  • 12 baby potatoes, peeled
  • 2 tins sweetcorn
  • 500 ml beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/c cup red wine (optional)
  • Any other vegetables of your choice (optional), cut into chunks


  • Place the iron cast pot on the fire and melt the butter/ heat the cooking oil.
  • Add the onions and allow to sauté for a minute.
Beef potjiekos recipe
Image:, @Jerry James Stone (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Add chilli and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add the beef chunks, cover the pot and allow it to steam for about five minutes.
  • Add the potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables you wish. Cover for an additional five minutes.
  • Add the beans, sweetcorn, wine, stock, and mixed herbs.
  • Cover the pot and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Check to confirm there is enough liquid without stirring. You can add water or more stock if it has dried up and adjust the salt and pepper. Cover and allow to simmer for an additional one and a half hours.
  • Add the fresh mushrooms 20 minutes before serving.

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Traditional chicken Potjie recipe in South Africa

south african potjie
Chicken thigh stew served in a white bowl. Photo:, @Istvan Szabo
Source: UGC

If you prefer chicken to any other type of meat, this will be your favourite recipe.


  • 1 chicken (preferably free-range), cut into pieces on the bone with skin on
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 small butternut, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 5 medium carrots
  • 2 small aubergines
  • 1 punnet whole mushrooms
  • 3 large zucchinis
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Sat to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups white wine (optional)


  • Place your iron cast pot on the fire and heat the cooking oil.
  • Add the chicken pieces and allow them to fry for about two minutes.
potjie recipe book
Image:, @Beginner's Dinners (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Add the onions and let everything brown.
  • Add in the chicken stock and bay leaves.
  • Salt the aubergine chunks. Doing this may seem silly, but it will add flavour to the dish.
  • Next, layer the vegetables in the order they take to cook, with the ones taking the shortest period on top. The order will be potatoes, butternut, carrots, aubergine, mushrooms, and zucchini. Do not stir.
  • Add the wine. This step deepens the flavour and adds more complex undertones to the taste. If you do not take wine, skip this step.
  • Cover the pot and allow it to simmer for about one hour. Ensure the fire does not die.
  • After one hour, check if everything is fully cooked without stirring. If not, cover and allow to cook until you get your preferred texture. Serve hot.

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Curried chicken Potjiekos

potjie recipe book
Delicious food in a black pot. Photo:, @Anil Sharma
Source: UGC

If you prefer food with plenty of fresh and dried spices, the recipe below is a must-try.


  • 10 chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium onions, cut into rings
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 5 cardamom pods, ground
  • 1 cinnamon stick, ground
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups mixed root vegetables, cut into chunks
  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 chicken cubes (optional)


  • Place the iron cast pot on the fire and heat half the oil. Add the chicken thighs in two batches to brown them. Salt them generously and set them aside.
  • Add the remaining oil, allow to heat, then add the onion rings. Sauté the onions till succulent.
  • Add all the fresh and ground spices to the onion, except cinnamon and bay leaves.
  • Place the chicken thighs on top of the onions and top them with half a can of tomatoes.
  • Arrange the potatoes on top. Next, layer the mixed root vegetables, followed by the remaining half a can of tomatoes. Do not stir.
  • Pour in the chicken stock. If you wish, you can add chicken cubes at this point.
  • Add the cinnamon and bay leaves.
  • Cover the pot and allow to simmer for about one hour or until the potatoes and chicken are cooked. Remember not to stir.
  • Serve hot with samp or rice.

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Mixed seafood Potjiekos

What can you eat with potjiekos?
A seafood platter. Photo:, @Kindel Media
Source: UGC

If seafood is your favourite kind of meat, we have you covered. Check out this finger-licking recipe.


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 bulb fennel, chopped (reserve fronds)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 red or green chilli, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons smoked or regular paprika
  • 4 cups fish stock
  • 1 can tomato purée
  • 3 bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 500 g risoni
  • 3 fillets (about 100g each) kingklip or hake, cut into large chunks
  • 10 - 12 prawns, defrosted and deveined
  • 450g fresh mussels, cleaned
  • 3 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 60 ml lemon juice
  • Grated lemon rind from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup white wine (optional)


  • Heat oil in a large cast iron pot, add onions, garlic, fennel, chilli, and ginger, and fry for about three minutes.
  • Add paprika and fry for one minute.
  • Add wine (optional) and simmer for three to five minutes.
  • Stir in tomato purée, fish stock, and sugar.
  • Adjust the heat to ensure the Potjie is simmering over low heat. Cover and allow to simmer gently for 20 to 30 minutes. Do not stir.
  • Next, add the peppers, cover, and simmer for an additional eight minutes.
  • Add the prawns, mussels, and kingklip. Cover and simmer gently for ten minutes.
  • Remove from heat, adjust the seasoning and add the lemon juice, lemon peel, fennel fronds, and parsley. Serve hot.

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Tips for the perfect Potjie

  • Always allow a gentle simmer rather than a boil.
  • Never stir your pot.
  • You can substitute alcoholic wine with pomegranate juice, grape juice, stock, or non-alcoholic wine.
  • You can use your favourite vegetables to get the perfect taste.

What is Potjie in English?

Potjie is a three-legged iron pot used for cooking over the fire. The word is also commonly used mean Potjiekos, the dish whose recipes are explored above.

What is the difference between a Potjie and a stew?

Unlike stews, Potjiekos is never stirred. Instead, it is allowed to simmer gently over hot coals in a cast iron pan for a relatively longer period than a normal stew.

What vegetables are in a Potjie mix?

The vegetables in a Potjie mix can be whichever you like. Most people use green beans, butternut squash, pumpkins, bell peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, tomatoes, broccoli, aubergine, carrots, and green peas.

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How do you make a Potjie?

You make a Potjie by following one of the amazing recipes above. Ensure you follow them to the letter for the best results.

What culture eats Potjiekos?

This South African cuisine is eaten by most ethnic groups in the country. It is also widely consumed in Namibia.

How long does a Potjie take to cook?

The amount it takes to prepare this dish depends on the type of meat and vegetables used. Generally, it takes at least two hours of preparation and cooking.

What can you eat with Potjiekos?

You can eat this dish with any side you prefer. However, it goes best with rice or samp.

What do you need for a Potjiekos?

You need a Potjie pot, a fuel source, and various ingredients to prepare this dish. You also need ample time as it takes a relatively long period to prepare and cook.

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We hope you will try the above traditional South African Potjiekos recipes above. Let us know your favourite in the comment section.

READ ALSO: How to make butternut soup: best butternut soup recipes recently published several butternut soup recipes. Butternut soup is delicious and is one of the most commonly consumed soups in South Africa.

The primary ingredient in the soup is butternut squash. The soup can be prepared with or without cream, depending on personal preference.

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