On Heritage Day we celebrate our origins and why not celebrate it with traditional South African cuisine? We are privileged to live in a country with a diversity of cultures and we have managed to intertwine this in our way of eating.

Chakalaka is said to have originated in the townships of Johannesburg during gold mining period. When migrant miners from Mozambique left their shift they cooked tinned produce (tomatoes, beans etc) with chili to produce a spicy Portuguese-style relish to accompany pap. How fond are we not of this wonderful relish with ‘putu pap’?

Putu pap: Puthu/Uphuthu/Krummelpap are some of the names by which this popular dish is named in South Africa. Krummelpap’s origin is Dutch/Afrikaans, meaning ‘Crumbly Porridge’. The name “Putu pap” is derived from the Zulu ‘uphuthu’ and Dutch word ‘pap’. There are a few ways in which mealie meal can be prepared. This version is drier and more crumblier. Phuthu pap can be enjoyed at a Braai, with grilled meats, kaiings, curries or with a simple vegetable dish, or topped with tomato relish like chakalaka.  Another way Phuthu is enjoyed by South Africans, is by adding sugar and
milk or yoghurt as a breakfast option. One can add a little cinnamon as well to spice it
up. Some South Africans enjoy it with Amasi/Maas. Maize Meal is Gluten Free,
therefore making it a great addition to our meals as it also contains minerals and fiber.

Bobotie’s roots in South Africa date back to the 17th century. Dutch traders set up
camp in the area that is now Cape Town as a stopping point on their journeys back and
forth to Indonesia. The traders brought spices, cooking techniques, and recipes with
them. While the specifics are a bit vague, it is thought by some that the original Bobotie
recipe came from Indonesia and was adapted to fit the available ingredients.

Sosatie: While there are various theories about how the dish came into being, the one
that is most popularized links Sosatie back to Cape Malay community. Sosatie is
derived from the Dutch Cape Malay word Saté. Early settlers wanted to make the most
of all the ingredients locally available and thus came up with a meat dish that was not
only easy to make but also ensured that vegetables are cooked without the requirement
of lots of spices, oil, herbs, etc.

When made in the traditional way, a sosatie consists of lamb meat chunks, onion, garlic,
curry powder, lemon juice, meat stock and turmeric. Green chilies are often added to
make the dish hotter and more flavorful and garlic can be used as a seasoning agent to
add taste as well as aroma. Green and/or red bell peppers are added in certain local
variations of the dish. A kebab doesn’t have any veggies! Just meat!

Koeksister and Koesista…do you know the difference? The origins for this culinary
cultural icon, the ‘Koeksister’ is attributed to two recipes brought to South Africa by
Dutch settlers in 1652. These two recipes were for doughnuts and a sweet bowtie-
shaped fried dessert made from pasta dough. There are also two ways in which a
‘Koeksister’ can be made. The dough is the same but the syrup is the ‘Twist’; one is
made with a hot syrup, rendering a soft exterior and a juicy inside. The cold syrup
method results in a crispy Koeksister with a syrup filled interior. What is a Koesista then? In Cape Malay culture, it
is a piece of fried dough made with yeast which has an almost bread-like texture. It is
then dunked in a hot, spicy, citrus-flavoured syrup. ‘Skuinskoek’ is made by Afrikaans
people using the same method…so many adaptations – all because of the Dutch

Sosatie Recipe
1 kg leg of lamb/ beef rump / chicken fillets or pork fillet, cut into cubes the size of your
Veggies and dried fruit of your choosing


2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp masala powder
4 tbsp lemon juice
5 tbsp olive oil (tenderising effect on meat)
1 tbsp garlic
1 cup buttermilk or plain yoghurt
Mix all ingredients together and add meat to the sauce and mix well. Marinate overnight
to soften.
Pre soak wooden kebab sticks in cold water for 1 hour to prevent any shavings to go
into the meat when skewering the meat.
Skewer the meat the way you like.

¼ cup treacle brown sugar
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp garlic
Herbs of choice: fish and chicken pair well with dill, thyme and oregano. Beef and
mutton/lamb pairs well with oregano, rosemary, tarragon. Pork with sage.

Mix all the ingredients together and pour over skewered meat. Now you can braai!
Salt ‘n pepper to taste.
Wonder-woorde: ponankies, karmenaadjie, traktaatjie, loopslopie, stormjaers, blinde
vinke, skurwe jantjie, knypkoek, bola, tombola, klein huisie..
Source: Tannie Slaai deur Annelien Pienaar 2023
Portions: 4