The potjie symbolizes traditional South African food. While the braai has its place in the accolades of all things South African, the potjie truly encapsulates our culture and heritage. Potjiekos (small pot food) is traditionally cooked in a large potjie pot (cast iron pot) over the hot coals of an open-air fire. This cooking method, like the braai, can be traced back to the days of the first settlers. However, much like the egg, the debate continues to this day as to which came first. The potjie or the braai?
Why potjie is important
Potjiekos has been a meal shared amongst friends and family for generations. It’s a way of bringing loved ones together, sharing food from the same pot. Ours is a heritage steeped in traditional campfires under the starry African sky. This cultural way of sharing our meals goes back to the days of the caveman when families would come together for safety, warmth, and food. While things have certainly progressed since the day of the caveman, the South African potjiekos recipe is still one that gets even the pickiest culinary juices flowing.
Secrets of a great potjie
As a South African, braai recipes and potjiekos recipes are part and parcel of growing up. No kitchen worth its salt is found without these staple guides to culinary genius. However, if you are new to the world of potjiekos, there are some basics you should know. Firstly, as mentioned, this dish is cooked in a potjie or cast iron pot on the fire. You could be forgiven for feeling this is just a rustic version of stew, but to those who know, the differences are significant! Perhaps don’t mention this thought at your next braai or potjiekos gathering unless you want to spend the evening looking for firewood in the dark!
The secret to the potjie is it’s never stirred. Instead, meat, vegetables, and spices are layered in the cast iron pot and left to simmer for approximately six hours. This leaves plenty of time to watch the rugby or cricket with friends, making it the perfect social dish. Once the vegetables and meat are cooked, they are then stirred and served on a bed of fluffy rice.
Traditionally potjie is made with lamb or beef. However, we recently stumbled across a fantastic chicken potjiekos recipe, which made us hungry for potjie and eager to share it with you.
Chicken potjie recipe
Check out this recipe for chutney chicken potjie; it’s so delicious. Forget finger-licking; you’ll be licking your plate and the potjie pot!
Gather the Goodies
Firstly, you will need to gather a few essential ingredients and obviously the potjie pot. Here’s a helpful tip, potjie pot sizes work on the weight of the pot. To feed one person, the pot weight should be 2kg. However, to feed larger gatherings of six to eight people, your pot would need to weigh 11kg or 15 kgs, respectively.
Serves: 4-6 people
Cooking time: 1.5 hrs
Pot weight: 9-11kg
What you need
- 1.5 kg chicken portioned, skin on
- 2 onions peeled and chopped
- 250 ml brown vinegar
- 125 ml Mrs. Balls chutney (what else?)
- 15 ml salted butter
- 10 ml sugar
- 5 ml curry powder (hot or mild depending on preference)
- 1 ml turmeric
- 5 ml salt
- 500 g mixed vegetables
- 1 potjie pot
What to do
- Place the potjie pot on the coals and pop the butter into it to melt.
- Add the onion to the melted butter and sauté until soft and glassy.
- Remove half the onions and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, turmeric, curry powder, chutney, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
- Place the chicken portions into the mixing bowl and allow them to marinate in the sauce for about an hour. You can marinate them for longer for a more robust flavour.
- Once the chicken has marinated, place it in the potjie pot on top of the remaining onions. Pour the remaining marinade over the chicken.
- Then, place the lid on the potjie pot and allow the chicken to simmer for an hour.
- Next, add the mixed vegetables to the potjie pot, cover with the lid and leave to cook for a further 15-20 minutes.
- Once the mixed vegetables are cooked through, it’s time to serve and eat!
- Serve a generous portion of potjiekos on a bed of white or brown rice and enjoy.
Now that you have a fantastic potjie recipe haul out that potjie pot and get cooking this weekend! Don’t forget to break in your pot before cooking your delicious grub. Simply wash the potjie pot with boiling water, coat with cooking oil, and place over the hot coals. When the oil begins to smoke, use a paper towel to wipe the inside of the potjie pot until clean. With regular use, the pot will provide more flavoursome meals. Remember to coat the inside with oil after each wash and store it in a dry place.
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With industry experience that encompasses more than a decade, our professional advisors are licensed and ready to assist. We have helped many South Africans with all things relating to emigration, including whether or not to pack the potjie pot! For advice that is friendly and geared to help, contact the FinGlobal team about your emigration requirements today.
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