Background and Tips
"Potjiekos" - (poy-kee-kawse) directly translated "pot food" or food prepared in a pot.
In South Africa this means only one thing, food prepared outdoors in a cast iron, round, three legged pot using either wood coals or charcoal.
I enjoyed my first potjie in the early 80's when instead of the traditional bbq our host prepared a potjie meal for us, and I have been hooked ever since!
The preparing of a potjie meal is very much an individual thing with every
aspiring cook experimenting to come up with the "perfect" potjie, then enter it in a
potjie cookoff and just maybe, walk off with the first prize!
Size? Well, for the average size family of four to six a size 3 pot will do. When buying your pot, inspect it first for any cracks and ensure that the lid seals properly.
The next step is to prepare and "cook in" your pot to get rid of any iron taste or black deposit on your food. So scour the inside thoroughly using sandpaper, wash and grease both the inside and outside with pork fat. Now it has to be "cooked in"
Fill the pot with leftover vegetables or peels or even slack mealie meal porridge and cook over a slow fire for a few hours. Repeat the process a few times. When finished prepare your potjie for storage coating the inside of the pot with a thin layer of fat or cooking oil to prevent rusting.
After every meal, rinse the pot with warm soapy water and then coat with oil or fat. The more frequent the usage the smoother and shinier it will become. Good care will ensure a companion for life!
If you are unable to
find a potjie pot in your part of the world, you can order one
online from Biltongmakers
, and of course, biltongmakers as well....
Summers are the time for true a
vacation and during this time several
vacation deals are offered by the traveling agencies. They are providing people with facilities of discounted and
cheap airline tickets along with
cheap flights. The
airlines industry is benefitting from such arrangements as they earn a lot of revenue in the summer seasons. Even the
hotel and resorts such as
las vegas resorts industries are making millions in this time of the year .
Click on the images to
see the larger picture...
The fire is a crucial part of creating your potjie masterpiece. You have to get the heat just right, the potjie has to simmer for some hours and you have to be able to regulate the heat. We use hard wood or charcoal and usually make two fires. One to prepare coals and the other to place the coals under the potjie. If the weather is bad you could use a gas fire, but the potjiekos fanatics will be horrified at this! But the gas flame is more easily regulated and it is an option.
Please don't say I said so!
Timing is also very important, apart from the time the potjie needs to become cooked you have to factor in the time it takes for the wood or charcoal to become coals, so in most cases you will have to start LONG before dinner time. But the beauty of preparing potjiekos is that it gives you time to sip your
favorite drink and enjoy chatting to your guests while sitting round a friendly fire. Time should be of no consequence. And if the children or guests
start getting a bit hungry, why not
prepare some of the side dishes that I also have on the site, believe me, your guests will be coming back again and again.
The meat usually comes first. Add a dash of cooking oil in the pot and when it is hot add the meat. Add sliced
onions and stir the meat to seal in the
flavor. Cook the meat till nearly done. Add vegetables in layers according to cooking times, carrots at the bottom followed by sweet
potatoes, potatoes, pumpkin, mushroom etc. Arrange the vegetables in layers around the sides forming a hollow for the rice. Marinade or liquid is now added to about 2 cm under the top layer of vegetables.
Replace the lid and
DO NOT STIR
after this. Keep the pot simmering till done. Before serving, stir through once to ensure the meat and veggies at the bottom will be dished up and ENJOY!!