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Newsletter #40  -  Jan 5 , 2002

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Hi, welcome to this first edition of my newsletter for 2003!

In the previous Newsletter I asked if anyone could assist with the origin of the name "Bunny Chow". The response I got came all the way from London, England and was submitted  by Rita. She says:
In answer to your question, I suppose I could say that it was named after my Great Uncle, Joseph Bunney who was the Mayor of Cape Town many, many years ago....LOL. I rather think though that the correct answer is below. 
There are several explanations for the name. Some believe it is eponymous - in a rabbity sort of way - the hollowed-out loaf resembling a bunny. Or the loaf is a sort of bun. But Indian playwright Ronnie Govender probably has the most accurate explanation. 
He believes that the eating houses in Grey and Victoria Streets served a distinctive Gujarat-style of vegetarian cooking called "bhunia" - hence the name. "

Thanx, Rita!

Santa was kind enough to let me have an outdoors bread oven for Christmas. Its simplicity itself, just place the dough in the pan provided, place inside the oven and place the oven on top of your bbq coals, for good measure, place a few coals on top of the lid and 20 minutes later, Bon Appetit! The oven came with the following easy recipe,  340 ml beer, 500 grams self raising flour and a teaspoon of salt. Mix to a dough then proceed as described above! Here are some pics  of my first effort, click on the thumbnails to see the bigger picture:

Ready to place on the coals...

Baking, with charcoal briquettes below and on top

Result after 35 minutes


For this issue, I once again venture into Africa for some lesser known recipes. I realise that you might not be able to source some of the ingredients, but you will enjoy reading and perhaps trying some of them for something different! For instance, the Sweet Potato Fritters will be great as a potjie side dish! Once again the source is that great site, the Congo Cookbook. Do yourself a favour and go spend some time there.

If you are aware of any shops or sites where one can buy South African food  and goods overseas, please let me have the details and I will feature it on my SA Food Overseas page.

And that's it for now, folks!
Hamba kahle

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That's it for now
Keep well


The Recipes
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  The following recipes are all by kind permission of the Congo Cookbook

Elephant Soup
from: Central Africa
 cooking method: boiling-simmering
In African villages, a successful hunt means a share of fresh meat for everyone. After traveling in equatorial Africa one observer wrote, "...the gorge they all go in for after a successful elephant hunt is a thing to see--once". (Mary Kingsley, Travels in West Africa, 1897.) There can still be more meat than can be immediately consumed, especially when there are no refrigerators or freezers, so a tradition of preserving meat by drying or smoking has developed throughout Africa. Dried meat, called biltong (similar to jerky) is often eaten as is. This recipe shows how dried meat can be used to make a soup or stew, similar to what is described in the quotation from Baker, below. 

What you need

one-half pound of biltong, or dried or smoked meat like beef jerky (the original recipe mentions elephant meat coated with salt and honey and dried in the sun)
six to eight cups of beef broth or beef stock
one cup of mirepoix [diced carrots, onions, celery and herbs sautéed in butter] (optional) 
two onions, finely chopped
one cup shelled, roasted peanuts (or one-half cup peanut butter)
one cup boiled chana dal (or any lentils or dried peas)
one small leek, finely chopped
one cup of Wumubu mushrooms (or any kind of mushrooms), (the original recipe says that Wumubu are "a type of black African mushroom")
two tablespoons of butter
salt, black pepper (to taste)
one-half cup cream

What you do

Wash the biltong or dried meat in hot water, and cut it into bite-sized pieces.

In a large pot or dutch oven (potjie) , combine the meat with enough cold water to cover it, and cook over a low heat for twenty to thirty minutes.

Add the mirepoix and beef broth and simmer for two hours.

Add the onions, peanuts, and dal (lentils), mushrooms, and leek. Cook until the dal are completely disintegrated.

Adjust the seasoning. Add the butter and cream. Serve.

Jollof Rice
from: Western Africa
 cooking method: boiling-simmering
One often hears that Jollof Rice (or Jolof Rice, Djolof Rice) is a Nigerian dish; indeed it is often made by Nigerians. However, it has its origins among the Wolof people of Senegal and Gambia who make a rice and fish dish they call Ceebu Jën. Since Nigeria has the largest population of any African country, it's safe to say that most of the people who make and eat Jollof Rice are probably Nigerian.

There are many variations of Jollof Rice. The most common basic ingredients are: rice, tomatoes and tomato paste, onion, salt, and red pepper. Beyond that, nearly any kind of meat, fish, vegetable, or spice can be added.

What you need

oil for frying
one chicken (and/or a pound or two of stew meat), chopped into bite-sized pieces
one or two onions, finely chopped
salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper (to taste)
Flavoring add-ins (to taste)
chile pepper, chopped
bay leaf
curry powder
two cups chicken broth or chicken stock, or beef broth or beef stock (or Maggi® cubes and water)
two or three ripe tomatoes, chopped 
Vegetable add-ins
sweet green pepper (or bell pepper), chopped
string beans or green beans
green peas
carrots, chopped
cabbage, chopped
four cups rice
one small can tomato paste
Meat add-ins
cooked ham
shrimp or prawns (or dried shrimp or dried prawns)
fresh parsley, chopped
cilantro, chopped
lettuce, shredded
hard-boiled egg, sliced

What you do

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Stir-fry the chicken (or beef) in the oil until it is browned on all sides. Remove the meat from the oil and set aside. Add the onions, the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and one or two of the flavoring add-ins (if desired) to the skillet and fry the mixture until the onions begin to become tender. Remove the onion mixture from the skillet and set aside with the meat.

In a dutch oven or large covered cooking pot, bring the broth and two cups of water to a simmer. Place the meat and onion mixture into the dutch oven and cover.

In the same skillet used for the meat and onions, stir-fry the tomatoes and one or two of the vegetable add-ins. Continue frying the mixture until the vegetables are partly cooked, then add them to the meat, onions, and broth in the dutch oven.

Again in the same skillet, combine the rice and the tomato paste. Over low heat, stir until the rice is evenly coated with the tomato paste. The rice should end up a pink-orange color. Add the rice to the dutch oven and stir gently.

Cover the dutch oven and cook the mixture over a low heat until the rice is done and the vegetables are tender (maybe half an hour). Stir gently occasionally and check to see that the bottom of the pot does not become completely dry. Add warm water or broth (a quarter cup at a time) as necessary to help rice cook. Adjust seasoning as needed. If desired, add one of the meat add-ins while the dish is cooking. (Shrimp cook very quickly and should not be over-cooked or they will become tough; ham can be added at any time.)

Serve with one or two of the garnishes.

Serve Ginger Beer or Green Tea with Mint with or after the meal.

Peanut Soup
from: all over Africa cooking
method: boiling-simmering
Various peanut soups are common throughout Africa. Some are very simple, others more elaborate. They are often eaten as a main course along with Rice, or one of the Fufu-like staples: Baton de Manioc, Fufu, or Ugali.

What you need

two or three cups chicken broth or chicken stock
one small onion, minced
one small sweet green pepper (or bell pepper), minced
one clove of garlic, crushed (optional)
salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper or red pepper (to taste)
one hot chile pepper, minced (optional)
one carrot, chopped fine or one sweet potato or yams, boiled and mashed (optional)
one or two tomatoes, chopped or canned tomatoes (optional)
one cup natural unsweetened peanut butter (or make your own peanut paste, see the simple peanut soup recipe below)

What you do

If using homemade peanut paste, simmer it with the broth for fifteen minutes, then add all other ingredients and simmer over low heat until everything is thoroughly cooked. Stir often. Soup should be thick and smooth. 

If using peanut butter: Combine all ingredients except the peanut butter and simmer over medium heat until everything is tender. Reduce heat, add the peanut butter and simmer for a few minutes more. Stir often. Soup should be thick and smooth.

Simplest Peanut Soup

The simplest Peanut Soup recipe calls for two parts chicken stock, two parts shelled peanuts, and one part milk or cream. Start by roasting the peanuts in a baking pan in a hot oven, or on the stove in a large skillet, turning often. Remove the skins from the peanuts and mash them with a mortar and pestle, mince them with a knife, crush them with a rolling pin, or use a food-processor. (Or you could use one part peanut butter, preferably natural and unsweetened.) Combine the peanut paste with the chicken stock in a saucepan and simmer for thirty minutes to an hour. Season with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and sugar to taste. Stir in milk before serving.

Colonial American Peanut Soup

Make a roux by heating a spoonful of butter in a saucepan and slowly stirring in a spoonful of flour, then add the other ingredients (as above). Consider including a chopped celery stalk and a chopped leek along with the other vegetables. Also add some milk or cream just before serving.

Ntomo Krakro (Sweet Potato Fritters)

This should be great as a potjie side dish!

4 sweet potatoes
2 large eggs
1 tablesp. flour
2 tablesp. butter or fat
1/4 teasp. salt
Water (or milk if preferred)
Bread crumbs for coating
Oil for frying
Peel, boil, and mash sweet potatoes.
Beat eggs and add rest of ingredients.
Add enough liquid to mix into a fairly soft dough.
Make into flat cakes. Coat with beaten eggs and breadcrumbs.
Fry in hot fat until golden brown.
Drain well and serve hot with meat or fish stew.

All recipes featured in thes letter by kind permission of The Congo Cookbook



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