Umleqwa is best served with pap, or steamed bread. Picture: Instagram/@chef_mbombi.
Umleqwa is best served with pap, or steamed bread. Picture: Instagram/@chef_mbombi.

4 South African traditional dishes you should try this Heritage Month

By Thobile Mazibuko Time of article published Sep 11, 2020

Share this article:

This Heritage Month we celebrate the beauty of our diverse cultures in South Africa.

Under The Royal Heritage Exchange by Royal Baking Powder, it challenged South Africans to exchange their family recipes and share memories that have been created over the years. The challenge was accepted and people from different tribes shared some of their favourite traditional recipes.

Creative entrepreneur, author and mom Naqiyah Mayat shared a recipe for gulab jamoon; while media entrepreneur, author and public speaker Olwethu Leshabane, shared one for umleqwa (hard body chicken). Chef Daniel Mbombi, whose food embodies his Tsonga culture, shared a recipe for amagwinya (fat cakes) while singer and songwriter, Bobby van Jaarsveld, exchanged a malva pudding recipe.

Gulab jamoon


1 tin condensed milk

1 tbs water

1 + a quarter tbsp solid ghee, level

A pinch of nutmeg

1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom powder

2 tbs Semolina

2 1⁄2 cups of flour

2 1⁄2 tsp Royal Baking Podwer

A quarter tsp bicarbonate of soda

Oil and ghee for frying

Sugar syrup

3 cups sugar

3 cups water

3 drops of rose essence

Half a tsp ground cardamom powder


1. Add the condensed milk, water, ghee, nutmeg and cardamom into your stand mixer.

2. Sift the semolina, flour, baking powder and bicarb. Form a soft, yet firm dough.

3. Empty it onto a kitchen counter-top. Roll and knead and massage the dough.

4. Pinch medium sized balls and roll between your hands to shape. Pinch the outer points slightly. Keep aside on a tray.

5. Heat equal quantities of ghee and oil in a non-stick medium sized pot. You need to deep-fry this, so you will need to gage the amount of oils required.

6. Bring to full heat, then reduce to low/medium. Add 5 to 6 gulab jamoon in at a time, turning all the time.

7. Remove when it's a light golden colour - approximately 4 to 5 minutes of frying time.

8. Immediately, place straight from the oil into the sugar syrup and allow to toss around for 2 to 3 minutes.

9. Remove and serve warm.

Gulab jamoon made by Naqiyah Mayat. Picture: Instagram/@naqiyah_mayat.

Umleqwa (hard body chicken)


1 whole chickens, plucked, cleaned and cut into 6 pieces

900ml boiling water

1 chicken stock cube

15ml olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 tomatoes, skin removed and chopped

30ml (2 tbs) tomato paste

2.5ml (1⁄2 tsp) curry powder

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

5ml salt

5ml sugar


1. Transfer the boiling water to a saucepan and add the chicken pieces.

2. Add the stock cube to the chicken and cook for 45 minutes to 1hour or until its cooked.

3. In another saucepan, sauté the onion, green pepper, garlic clove.

4. Add tomatoes, curry powder, sugar and tomato paste.

5. Season with salt.

6. Add the cooked chicken and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

It can be served with pap or dumblings.

Umleqwa. Picture: Instagram/@chef_mbombi.



500 g cake flour

1 packet dry yeast

1⁄2 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

1⁄4 litre of warm water

Oil for frying

1⁄2 tsp royal baking powder


1. Sift cake flour into a bowl and add the sugar, salt,yeast and baking powder

2. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add some warm water. Start mixing it together, adding a little water when needed until you have a soft dough.

3. Dust your counter with cake flour and transfer the dough onto the counter. Knead until smooth for approximately 10 minutes.

4. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in a dish that is lightly floured and cover with a clean tea towel or cling wrap.

5. After 30 minutes, knock down the dough and cover again to let it rise for about 30 minutes or until double in size.

6. Break the dough into smaller pieces and shape into balls.

7. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Approximately 10 minutes.

Amagwinya are best served with snoek, and mangola. Picture: Instagram/@chef_mbombi.

Malva Pudding


1 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄2 cup milk

2 tbs apricot jam

1 tbs butter

2 eggs

1⁄2 cup sugar

1 1⁄2 cups flour

3 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt


1 cup heavy cream

1 cup water

1 3⁄4 sticks (200g) butter

1 cup sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Stir the baking soda into the milk.

2. Warm the jam and butter together in a jug or small saucepan to blend.

3. Beat the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy.

4. Mix in the milk and jam and then fold in the dry ingredients until well mixed.

5. Scrape into a 1.9 litre (2-quart) capacity ovenproof dish and bake at 175ºC for 30-35 minutes until done.

6. Mix the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil while stirring.

7. Simmer for about 3 minutes and pour the hot sauce over the pudding as soon as it is taken from the oven.

8. Loosen the edges of the pudding so that the sauce can seep into the base. The sauce will eventually all be absorbed, even though it initially appears that there is far too much of it.

Share this article: