South Africa’s wealth of cultures is celebrated by many people all over the world. On Heritage Day, in South Africa, we celebrate our cultural heritage and all the food that goes along with it. The day is usually spent with family and friends enjoying our iconic shisa nyama (braai). The food spread on Heritage Day is usually filled with a variety of side dishes to compliment your braai, epic desserts and of course a few traditional favourites baking in the oven.
We share a few of our favourite recipes to include in your Heritage Day spread.
Pumpkin Fritters by Sam Woulidge
Pumpkin fritters never lasts long around a South African table. They are the perfect addition to any meal, a great midnight snack and an all-rounder that everyone enjoys.
- 500 g pumpkin, steamed, drained and cooled
- 2 free-range eggs, beaten
- 60 g cake flour
- 1 tsp baking powder, heaped
- Salt, a pinch
- Butter and oil, for frying
- Cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling
- Mash the cooled, steamed pumpkin with a fork once. (I’m lazy so I buy the ready-cubed pumpkin in packets and steam it in the microwave according to package instructions).
- Add the beaten eggs and mix. Sift in the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
- Melt a little butter in a pan and add a little oil. When it starts sizzling, drop in heaped teaspoons of batter, making sure that they are nicely spaced apart, and fry each side until lightly browned.
- Remove from pan and drain on kitchen paper.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and eat warm.
Vetkoek by All Recipes
A family favourite and great for vegetarians and meat eaters alike! Vetkoek are great served as a snack in a smaller form or as a meal with heaps of filling.
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 7 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 cups oil for frying
- Mix lukewarm water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. Let stand until yeast softens and begins to bubble slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Sift flour and salt together in a large bowl.
- Pour water mixture over flour mixture and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes. Cover bowl with a clean cloth and let dough rise until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.
- Pinch off a piece of dough about the size of a tennis ball; roll until smooth. Flatten ball of dough until it is the size of palm; set aside on a floured work surface. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Fry flattened pieces of dough in the hot oil, 2 to 3 pieces at a time, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.
Bobotie by Sarah Beunfeld
A South African classic that never goes to waste. Boboti is also a national dish celebrated by South Africans all over the world. This spicy, creamy goodness can be made with a vegetarian alternative like soy mince.
- 2 slices white bread
- 2 onions, chopped
- 25g butter
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1kg packet lean minced beef
- 2 tbsp Madras curry paste
- 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
- 3 cloves
- 5 allspice berries
- 2 tbsp peach or mango chutney
- 3 tbsp sultanas
- 6 bay leaves
For the topping:
- 300ml full-cream milk
- 2 large eggs
- Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Pour cold water over the bread and set aside to soak.
- Meanwhile, fry the onions in the butter, stirring regularly for 10 mins until they are soft and starting to colour. Add the garlic and beef and stir well, crushing the mince into fine grains until it changes colour. Stir in the curry paste, herbs, spices, chutney, sultanas and 2 of the bay leaves with 1 tsp salt and plenty of ground black pepper.
- Cover and simmer for 10 mins. Squeeze the water from the bread, then beat into the meat mixture until well blended. Tip into an oval ovenproof dish (23 x 33cm and about 5-6cm deep). Press the mixture down well and smooth the top. You can make this and chill 1 day ahead.
- For the topping, beat the milk and eggs with seasoning, then pour over the meat. Top with the remaining bay leaves and bake for 35-40 mins until the topping is set and starting to turn golden.
Umngqusho by What’s For Dinner
If you want comfort food, then this is it. A tasteful meal made with tender, love and care that keeps giving. Sometimes even more enjoyed the day after the holiday.
- 500 g samp and beans
- 30 ml oil
- 2 tsp Robertsons garlic flakes
- 2 onions finely chopped
- 1 green pepper deseeded and diced
- 2 tbsp Rajah Mild & Spicy curry powder
- 2 Robertsons bay leaves
- 1 tbsp Rajah Mild Masala curry powder
- 1 tbsp Robertsons mixed herbs
- 500 g beef stewing steak
- 1 x 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
- 500 ml beef stock
- Robertsons salt and black pepper to season
- Soak the samp and bean mixture in boiling water preferably overnight or for a few hours, rinse and transfer to a saucepan and cover with fresh water and cook until soft, for about 1 hour. Strain and set aside.
- Heat the oil and fry the Robertsons Garlic Flakes, onion and green pepper. Add the spices then brown the meat in batches.
- Add the tomatoes and cooked samp and beans and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour over the beef stock, stir and simmer covered over a low heat until meat is tender.
Milk Tart by All That’s Jas
A milktart just always hits home. If you are celebrating Heritage Day, you’re sure to find a variety of milktarts or milktart inspired dishes this year.
For the crust:
- 1 package tennis or digestive biscuits
- 1 stick melted butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the filling:
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- A pinch of salt
- 4 ½ cups full-fat milk divided
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Ground cinnamon for dusting
For the crust:
- In a food processor blend the tennis or digestive biscuits with cinnamon and melted butter until combined and crumbled.
- Transfer to an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and spread over the bottom and up the sides, firmly pressing down. Place the pan in the fridge for the crust to harden while you make the filling.
For the filling:
- With an electric mixer or a food processor, mix together the flour, cornstarch, salt, ½ cup milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until well blended.
- In a large saucepan, add 4 cups of milk and butter and bring to a boil over medium heat. Be careful not to burn the milk.
- Lower the heat to low and slowly, in a thin stream, add the flour mixture to the hot milk, whisking constantly. Keep whisking until thickened and completely cooked, about 15 minutes, or when the filling pulls away from the sides of the saucepan.
- Pour in the prepared tart pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and let cool. When cool, refrigerate until firm enough to slice, at least 1 hour before serving.
Bread and Butter Pudding by Abigail Donnely
You can’t have a full-on South African spread without this classic when it is dessert time.
- 1 kitka or sliced white loaf, slightly stale
- 4 tablespoons of golden syrup
- 100 g raisins
- Butter, for greasing
- 2 cups cream
- 1 cup milk
- 8 free-range egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or paste
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Slice the bread thinly.
- Spread the syrup over half the bread slices. Top with raisins and cover with the remaining slices of bread to make sandwiches. Butter the dish and press the sandwiches into the dish.
- To make the custard mixture, heat the cream and milk. Beat in the eggs and add the vanilla.
- Pour the custard mixture over the bread. Leave to soak for 15 minutes. Bake for 45 minutes, until set but still wobbly.
- Serve with a jug of warm custard, runny cream or a dollop of crème fraîche. Eat the pudding warm – it tastes better than straight out of the oven.
- For our simple step-by-step on how to make bread-and-butter pudding, click the link: How to make bread-and-butter pudding.