There is nothing in this world quite like the taste of home cooking. Almost everything is better when it’s homemade and South African boerekos is no exception. Meaning “farmers’ food”, boerekos is cooked, eaten and enjoyed just `about everywhere that Afrikaans is spoken. It is traditional country-style cooking that usually results in a plate piled high with “vleis, rys, aartappels en pampoen” (meat, rice, potatoes and pumpkin) and as one might expect, this expression calls for meat, starch and veg and lots of it! These days, thanks to Google Translate you don’t have to be Afrikaans to enjoy boerekos or read the recipes. Got a hankering for something wholesome? Take a look at some of our favourite boerekos recipes in English and you’ll soon be enjoying a taste of home in your own kitchen.
What’s the big deal about boerekos?
It’s all in the taste, the tradition and the feeling of home. Worldwide, we are experiencing a re-discovery of our heritage foods, along with a curiosity and a renewed appreciation for the traditional recipes and cooking approaches that have been right in front of us our whole lives. South Africa’s incredible cultural diversity and love for indigenous ingredients, translates into a unique culinary palate that speaks of its own traditional cuisine.
Until recently, most people were inclined to look down on traditional foods, music and activities, declaring pastimes like sokkiejol, boeremusiek and lang-arm to be completely cringeworthy. Unfortunately the same happened to much of the food that was a large part of the diet of most Afrikaans families. In our haste to become global citizens and embrace the new and exotic, as South Africans we’ve overlooked the foods we grew up with.
A firm favourite when it comes to South African boerekos recipes: Tomato Bredie
- 25 ml butter or sunflower oil
- 2 large onions chopped into fairly large pieces
- 1 clove garlic
- 1.5 kg stewing lamb
- about a teaspoon of salt and ground pepper to taste
- Some stock, water or wine
- 500g potatoes diced into bite size pieces
- 500g medium tomatoes, skinned and chopped
- 2 tins peeled chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp sugar
- pinch of thyme
- 1 tsp chopped fresh marjoram
How to make Tomato Bredie:
- Heat the butter in a large saucepan and cook the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes or until the onions are transparent. Adding a little salt while the onions cook will prevent them from burning.
- Add the meat and brown quickly on all sides. Season with salt, pepper and a little stock, water or wine.
- Cover the pot and simmer for around 1.5 hours, after which the meat should start to feel soft and tender.
- Throw in the potatoes, tomatoes, sugar, thyme and marjoram and stew for a further hour or so, letting the pot simmer away slowly on a low heat to thicken into a rich, fragrant tomatoey sauce.
- Serve with a couple of loaves of warm crusty bread handy or piles of mashed potatoes.
Boereboontjies recipe – South African beans with mashed potatoes
- 500g green beans, topped & tailed and cut diagonally into 2.5 cm pieces
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 large floury potatoes, peeled
- 20g butter
- salt & black pepper to taste
Instructions to make Boereboontjies
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and saute until the onions soften, then add garlic and cook for another minute or so.
- Add the beans, stir well to mix with the onions and continue to saute on medium heat.
- When the vegetables start to stick, add a little water (just enough to cover the base of the pan), turn down the heat and allow to simmer until the water has evaporated and the beans are cooked.
- In the meantime, boil or steam the potatoes until they can be pierced easily with a sharp knife (+/- 20 minutes).
- In a large bowl, mash the potato together with the butter and add milk until the desired mash consistency is achieved.
- When the beans are done, add the beans to the potato and mix well. Don’t be afraid to mush the beans into the mash.
- Add salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve as a side dish with stews or roasts.
Malva Pudding Recipe
- 30 ml butter
- 250 ml sugar
- 2 eggs
- 30 ml vinegar
- 10 ml bicarbonate of soda
- 60 ml apricot jam
- 500 ml cake flour
- 250 ml milk
- pinch of salt
Malva Pudding Sauce:
- 500 ml milk
- 375ml boiling water
- 375ml sugar
- 60ml butter
- 45ml vanilla essence
How to make malva pudding:
- Preheat the oven to 180° C and grease an ovenproof dish with nonstick spray.
- Cream the butter, sugar and eggs together.
- Mix the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda with the jam.
- Sift the flour into a bowl, add the creamed butter and jam mixtures and combine to form a batter while pouring in the milk and salt.
- Tip the batter into greased dish and bake for 55min or until golden brown.
For the sauce:
- Bring ingredients to boil in a small saucepan, stirring frequently.
- Pour the sauce over the pudding as it comes out of the oven.
Serve hot with ice cream or custard. Lekker!
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