South African Recipes & Cuisine
Where to start in this country, South Africa, where its recipes and cuisine are as diverse as its eleven different official languages?
Well, you can either read on or click on the menu at the left hand side, this gives access to some great traditional South African Recipes, including Boerewors, Biltong, Koeksisters and Pickled Fish.
Also some carefully selected South African Pudding recipes including Cape Brandy Pudding, Malva Pudding and Pampoenmoes [Pumpkin Pudding]
Because it is uniquely South African but is fast gaining international acceptance I have added recipes using South African Rooibos Tea. A herb with many health properties which may be substituted for water or milk in many recipes.
Surely just the fact that South Africa has eleven official languages, as well as many more in everyday usage which haven"t attained official status, is enough to establish its broad cultural diversity...
South Africa has a tremendously wide cultural heritage, which brings with it different eating habits, different diets, different tastes, different recipes, different cuisines.
South African recipes, South African Foods, South African Cuisine... I suppose one has to start with the different ethnic groups which make up this vast land.
South Africa has been referred to as the Rainbow Nation, in part because of its cultural diversity but also in part because of its enormous potential. It is the manifestation of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, so to speak.
South African cuisine, is part of that rainbow and part of that pot of Gold. An added bonus is the fact that you can drink the water.
True South African cuisine blends together separate ingredients, namely culture and heritage as well as an interesting history, combining them to make a pleasingly tasty whole.
Any discussion regarding South African Recipes and cuisine has to start somewhere, so let's start at the beginning insofar as it is known...
When the Dutch arrived in the Cape in 1652, they found an area that was extremely sparsely-populated.
Some of the people who were already there included the Strandlopers (Beach Walkers), whose recipes would have included boiled and roasted crayfish (Clawless rock lobster), boiled and raw mussels and Abalone. These meats would have been accompanied by roots, fruits and edible seaweed.
Close relatives to the Strandlopers, the Khoi, lived on the coastal plain as semi-nomadic herdsmen. They kept sheep and cattle and one of their favourite recipes, which has survived to this day as a truly original South African recipe, was kaiings; the fat from a sheep's tail fried with wild cabbage.
There were also the San, hunters whose foods would have included venison, elephant and hippo, together with wild plants, sorrel, mustard leaves, and waterblommetjies (water lilies).
The Khoi-San, remnants of these people, live in the Kalahari Desert, still relatively free from the unnecessary trappings of civilisation.
The need for food began the colonisation of South Africa. The Dutch East India Company needed a re-provisioning station to supply the ships bound for Malaysia with fresh foods after their long trips.
Jan van Riebeeck landed in the Cape in 1652 with orders to establish a farm in order to provide fresh vegetables and meat for the ships rounding the Cape.
For labour, the Dutch imported slaves from Sumatra. These slaves became known as Cape Malays and brought their traditions, spices and recipes with them.
In this way, South African cuisine started building up its vast, differentiated library of South African recipes.
Then the French arrived, protestant Huguenot refugees fleeing from persecution. They brought vines with them and transformed forever the agriculture of the Cape.
French Recipes blended with Dutch and Cape Malay and became South African recipes. These recipes retained some of the French influence but developed into purely South African Recipes.
All this time, the Xhosa were moving steadily Southwards towards the Cape while the Zulu occupied the area now known as kwaZulu Natal. They were followed by the Sotho, Venda and Tswana.
Each people brought with them different tastes and recipes.
South African Cuisine was set for the amalgamation of traditional African with dour Dutch, light French and spicy Malay foods, to once again change the face of South African cuisine with new South African recipes.
But Wait! More was yet to be added to the South African Recipe scenario...
In the 1820s, waves of British settlers arrived, bringing with them their "beef and two boiled veg" dishes, as well as their pudding recipes.
Later, the British established sugar cane plantations in Natal. Indians were brought to South Africa as indentured servants on ten-year contracts to provide labourers for the plantations.
After the contracts were up, the Indians stayed and both Hindu and Muslim people added their individual recipes to South African Cuisine. Together with their spices and curries, these dishes now form a prominent segment of any book purporting to be a South African recipe book.
All these tastes, textures and ingredients, and we haven"t even mentioned the German immigrants who, together with the Dutch and French, formed what is now known as the Afrikaner people.
The Germans added their "farmers sausage" or boerewors; a sausage which has spawned so many secret family recipes that you could write a book about them.
So many immigrating peoples contributed to South African cuisine.
The Portuguese added their peri-peri and prawns, the Greeks their pitas and the Italians their pizza and pasta... All these combine to make the collection of South African recipes that form South African cuisine.
So go on, give yourself a treat and experience South Africa through the incredible diversity of South African Cuisine by clicking on some of the South African Recipes on the left hand side menu...
Then make some of them and enjoy the compliments of your family or guests as they enjoy the great taste sensation of South African Recipes... Created by YOU!!!
LIKE IT? .... SHARE IT!!
All content, design and photographs copyright ©2003/17 Michael Tracey and Africhef.com