Origin of Traditional South African Cooking

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We South Africans are fortunate to have a rich culinary heritage, built up from the cuisines of many different nations. Through subtle adaptation of these "imported" recipes and the addition of local ingredients and the introduction of innovative cooking methods has evolved Traditional South African cuisine.

Our cuisine is inextricably bound to our history, from the earliest settlers to the Cape to the influence of French, German and British immigrants as well as Indian workers and slaves from the East, in particular the Malays, and immigrants from African countries like Angola and Mozambique. 

The first Dutch settlers brought with them recipes and cooking methods that are still used today. The way they cooked their vegetables and cooked their meat with herbs and spices has become a tradition here. 

The French Huguenots expertise lay in their production of fruit. Their way of making preserves survives to this day in the making of konfyt. Also from the French we learned their ways of dealing with offal.

The German settlers passed on a love for spicy wurst; our variety of boerewors recipes is evidence of that.

From the British we got roast meats, roast potatoes, savoury pies and hot puddings, a firm favourite at South African tables.

But the greatest contribution was made by the Malay slaves brought to the Cape from the East in the late 17th century. They contributed a combination of sweet and sour which is now characteristic of our cooking, as well as the spicy sauces, curries, chutneys, blatjangs and atjars that is now part of our food culture.

Being a country with mild summer and winter temperatures we can be labeled an "outdoors" nation and we love a "braai" (bbq). Potjiekos ( food cooked in a three legged cast iron pot) evolved and has become a culture on its own as a way of entertaining outdoors.

We have adapted our "adopted" recipes to such an extent that they now feel right at home and can truly be labeled Traditional South African Recipes. So browse through these pages and try some of the recipes; you will not be sorry.

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