Our favourite recipes from Justine Drake, one of the new ’MasterChef SA’ judges



Published Jan 10, 2022


Justine Drake is one of the people who is top of mind when you think about South Africa’s food icons. Her accessible recipes and happy-go-lucky demeanour has made her a culinary legend.

The cookbook author, food magazine editor and host of the Just Cooking TV show, has been working in the culinary industry for more than three decades, authored five cookbooks and has a successful YouTube show Just Cook at Home SA with Justine Drake.

Drake being named a judge on the upcoming fourth season of M-Net’s MasterChef South Africa, alongside fellow food icon, Zola Nene and award winning chef, Gregory Czarnecki, is a longtime coming.

Over the years, Drake has shared a number of her best recipes with IOL, underlining her status as a respected food editor and expert. Her recipes are easy to follow, use accessible ingredients and they take the fuss away from cooking.

So ahead of the show being aired next month, here are our favourite recipes by Justine Drake

Butter Bean Bunny Chow (Serves 4)

Bunny Chow a South African favourite Picture: Dawie Verwey


½ packet (250g) butter beans, soaked overnight, or three cans (400g each) butter beans, drained and rinsed.

Vegetable oil

½ tsp (3ml) each whole mustard seeds,

cumin seeds and fennel seeds

10-15 curry leaves

1 onion, halved and sliced

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tbs (30ml) grated ginger

1 tsp (5ml) each ground cumin and coriander

½ tsp each (3ml) ground turmeric and cayenne pepper

3 tomatoes, finely chopped

1 tsp (5ml) garam masala

1 tbs (15ml) lemon or lime juice

Salt and milled pepper

4 large white bread rolls or one bread loaf

For the Sambal

1 large tomato, finely chopped

1 chilli, finely chopped

½ onion, finely chopped

Handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped.


Simmer butter beans in plenty of water until soft.

Drain and set aside.

Heat a generous glug of oil in a pan and fry whole spices until they stop spluttering.

Tip in onion, garlic and ginger and cook until lightly browned.

Add ground spices and fry for another minute.

Add tomatoes, garam masala and lemon juice.


Add butter beans, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Cut tops off rolls (or slice bread into four equal chunks).

Remove fluffy centres from bread or rolls.

Spoon curry into hollows.

Toss sambal ingredients together and spoon over curry rolls.

If using bread, sandwich close with bread lids and serve.

Pasta with roast chicken, sherry and pine nuts

Pic - Dawie Verwey


1 small (about 800 g - 1 kg) chicken

Salt and milled pepper

1 small onion, cut into thin wedges

1 bulb garlic, halved

1 cup (250 ml) sherry

1 packet (500 g) conchiglie

¼ cup (60 ml) sultanas

A handful of fresh parsley

¼ cup (60 ml) pine nuts, toasted


Preheat oven to 180°C.

Season chicken well inside and out. Stuff cavity with onion and garlic, and place in a roasting pan.

Pour sherry around chicken and cover with foil. Roast for one hour.

Uncover and cook until well browned and legs feel loose when jiggled. Remove chicken and rest in a warm spot.

Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Drain.

Add sultanas to pan juices and reduce a little if it looks like there is more than one cup of liquid.

Shred meat and crispy skin from chicken and cut into bite-sized chunks (discard bones and excess fatty skin).

Toss chicken, pan juices, pasta and parsley together. Top with pine nuts.

Peach Prosecco Cocktail (Serves 4)


2 peach-flavoured tea bags

1 cup (250 ml) boiling water

¾ cup (183 ml) white sugar

4-8 basil leaves

1-2 peaches, thinly sliced

1 bottle (750 ml) vegan-friendly Prosecco or sparkling wine


Pop the tea bags into water and infuse to make a strong tea.

Place the tea and sugar in a pot and boil to reduce by half and create a simple peach syrup. Allow to cool.

Place 1 Tbsp (15 ml) of the peach syrup at the bottom of each champagne flute.

Add 2 peach slices and 1 basil leaf and top with ice cold Prosecco.

Blueberry, lime and coconut crunch bars (Makes 10-12 Bars)

Blueberry, lime and coconut crunch bars. PICTURE: Donna Lewis


2 cups (500ml) rolled oats

1 cup (150g) raw almonds, chopped

¼ cup (35g) pumpkin seeds

3 Tbsp (45ml) honey

¼ cup (40g) blueberries

2 bananas, mashed

Pinch salt

1 lime, zest and juice

For the Topping

1 cup (160g) blueberries

½ cup (125ml) rolled oats

½ cup (25g) coconut flakes

¼ cup (35g) pumpkin seeds

¼ cup (38g) raw almonds, chopped

Zest and juice of 2 limes

2 Tbsp (30ml) honey


Place all the ingredients for the base in a food processor and blend until well combined.

Spoon mixture into a baking paper lined 30cm x 20cm tin.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Combine topping ingredients, scatter on top of base and lightly press down with the back of a spoon

Bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden.

Cover and allow to cool, then refrigerate until cold before slicing.

Store in an airtight container.

MasterChef SA season 4 premieres on Monday 28 February 2022 on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) at 18:00.

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