On the 24th September, South Africa celebrates National Heritage Day. Heritage Day is a public holiday where South Africa acknowledges the painful past of the country and celebrates the diversity of cultures, traditions and heritages.
Heritage Day has become synonymous with Braai Day in South Africa. Braaing is one of the most iconic South African traditions. It is our take on a barbecue, and nothing else quite like lighting a fire, enjoying a meal and celebrating our cultural differences.
Food is a huge part of any culture and this is especially true in South Africa where have such a diversity of cultures. Here are our top South African recipes to try in celebration of Heritage Day.
Pumpkin fritters are a favourite in many South African households. Despite being sweet, they are served as part of a main meal alongside the savoury dishes. They may feel strange to eat to begin with, but you’ll soon grow to love these sweet / savoury treats!
500g pumpkin, steamed, drained & cooled
60g cake flour
1tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
Butter and oil, for frying
Cinnamon sugar, for serving
Mash the cooled, steamed pumpkin with a fork once.
Add the beaten eggs and mix. Sift in the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
Melt a little butter in a pan and add a little oil. When it starts sizzling, drop in heaped teaspoons of batter, making sure that they are spaced apart, and fry each side until lightly browned.
Remove from pan and drain on kitchen paper.
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and enjoy warm.
Isidudu, also known as mielie pap, is a very popular South African breakfast, especially amongst the Xhosa people. It is best served hot from the stove with sugar and butter, milk or vinegar.
3 cups boiling water
½ cup maize meal
¼ tsp salt
1 cup cold water
Sugar, butter, peanut butter, milk or lemon juice
Transfer the boiling water to a saucepan.
Mix the cold water with the maize meal to make a paste. Add the salt.
Add the paste to the boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon until it boils.
Simmer for 5 minutes.
Serve with sugar, milk, butter, lemon juice or peanut butter.
Cape Malay Bobotie
Bobotie is one of South Africa’s classic dishes, originating from the Cape Malay people of Cape Town and Durban. It is a baked dish made with spiced mince, raisins, almonds and topped with a savoury egg custard.
2 onions, sliced
sunflower oil or butter
1 kg minced meat (mutton or beef)
1 slice bread
½ C (125 ml) milk
4 tsp (20 ml) medium curry powder
4 tsp (20 ml) chutney
2 tsp (10 ml) salt
½ tsp (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp (5 ml) turmeric
½ tsp (2.5 ml) ground coriander
½ tsp (2.5 ml) ground cumin
2 Tbsp (30 ml) vinegar or juice of 1 lemon
1 Granny Smith apple, coarsely grated (optional)
½ C (125 ml) seedless raisins
4 bay or lemon leaves
½ C (125 ml) milk
Preheat the oven to 180 ºC.
Fry the onions and meat lightly in hot cooking oil or butter until the meat is slightly cooked and crumbly. Soak the bread in the milk for 5 minutes. Squeeze to remove the milk and mash the bread.
Mix the fried onions, meat and mashed bread with the rest of the ingredients, except the topping ingredients. Spoon the mixture into a greased oven dish. Roll up the bay or lemon leaves and insert in an upright position into the meat mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes. Beat the milk and egg together and pour over the half-cooked meat. Bake for another 30 minutes.
Serve with rice, poppadums and sambals.
Masala Chicken Gatsby
A Gatsby is a popular street food in South Africa, especially in Cape Town. It is the ultimate in comfort food – a footlong bread roll stuffed with hot chips (French fries), a protein like steak or salami, and a spicy sauce. This recipe puts a gourmet twist on this South African favourite.
For the Gatsby
300g frozen potato chips
Vegetable oil, to coat
Salt and pepper
4 chicken breasts, halved
¼ cup masala spice
1 baguette, sliced lengthways
2 heads of cos lettuce
For the sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp masala spice
2 tsp vegetable oil
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Toss the chips with a little oil and season with salt and pepper.Place on a baking tray and bake as per package instructions.
Rub the chicken breasts with the masala spice. Heat a little oil and fry for a few minutes on each side until cooked through.
Combine all the sauce ingredients.
Spread the sauce on the baguette. Top with lettuce, chicken and chips. Cut into 4 servings and enjoy!
In search of more reading? Here’s a recipe to make our carrot cake with a twist!
Lalibela Game Reserve is located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, close to Port Elizabeth and Addo, which means it is not only malaria free, but spans 5 ecosystems, resulting in a breath-taking diversity of flora and fauna.