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RECIPES: Heritage dishes that celebrate SA's unique cuisine history

Mutton Bunny Chow. Picture: Jethro Snyders

Mutton Bunny Chow. Picture: Jethro Snyders

Published Sep 16, 2019


If you are a foodie, then South Africa is your paradise. 

Our cuisine is a unique fusion of many different external cultural influences, and dining out is one of the most popular things to do, especially if you are a visitor. 

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From roadside stalls to world class restaurants, South Africa offers a wide variety of choices when it comes to food. With the help of Suncoast’s Vigour & Verve executive chef, Justin Oliver, the Big Easy head chef, Noel Kanyemba, and cookbook author and celebrity Chef Nti we looked at heritage dishes you can try this month.

Oxtail Potjiekos. Picture: Supplied

Chef Noel’s Oxtail Potjiekos

Food brings people together and with this being a dish that is slow cooked, it makes it an ideal time for families to truly bond and build stronger relationships over a glass of wine or a cold beer. 


500g fresh oxtail (get your butcher to slice them into pieces in between the bones) 

½ cup flour, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper 

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2 tbs butter 

2 tbs olive oil 

6 large carrots, 2 chopped coarsely and 4 diced finely 

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2 large onions, chopped coarsely 

4 large leeks, chopped coarsely 

1 bouquet garni 

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1 bay leaf 

6 black peppercorns 

2 tbs crushed garlic 

115g tomato paste 

1 litre beef stock 

250ml red wine 

20 button mushrooms, quartered 


Wipe the oxtail dry with a paper towel. Put seasoned flour in a resealable plastic bag, then add the oxtail and shake to coat with flour. 

Heat the butter and olive oil in the potjie. 

Add the oxtail to the pot and brown in the fat. When each piece is browned all over, remove and drain on paper towels while keeping warm. 

Add finely-diced carrots to the pot together with the chopped onions and leeks, and sauté until softened. 

Return the oxtail to the pot and add the bouquet garni, bay leaf, peppercorns, garlic, tomato sauce, beef stock and red wine. 

Bring slowly to boil, reduce heat and cover tightly with a lid and allow to cook undisturbed for four hours. 

One hour before serving, add the remaining carrots and mushrooms and continue cooking slowly, without stirring. 

Amasi Cheesecake. Picture: Craig

Chef Nti’s Amasi Cheesecake

It’s  a recipe from my live TV days – an unbaked cheesecake made with fermented milk and jelly. 

Seves: 8 


100g butter, plus extra for greasing

225g (1 packet) Oreos or any chocolate biscuits of your choice 

1 packet strawberry jelly powder 

1 cup rich and creamy amasi (very cold) 

Zest of 1 lemon 

1 cup fresh berries, sliced (optional, for decorating) 


Grease the inside of a springform cake tin with butter and line it with cling wrap. 

Melt the butter and crush the biscuits finely. Mix the biscuits with the warm butter and spread this over the base of the cake tin. 

Mix the jelly powder with a cup of hot water (or follow package instructions). 

Whip the amasi with lemon zest until smooth and add to the warm jelly liquid. 

Pour the mixture over the crushed biscuit base. 

Put the cheesecake in the fridge to set, preferably overnight or for a few hours at least. Remove it 15 minutes before serving. Decorate with fresh berries, if you like. 

Mutton Bunny Chow. Picture: Jethro Snyders

Chef Oliver’s Vigour and Verve’s Mutton Curry Bunny Chow

The bunny chow represents the fabric of South Africa’s rich and colourful heritage. 


400ml cooking oil 

500g onions, finely chopped 

40g fresh ground ginger 

40g fresh ground garlic 

60g mix masala 

30g Garam masala 

2g turmeric powder 

2kg mutton, salt to taste 

500g red ripe jam tomato, puréed 

20g finely chopped coriander 

10g finely chopped curry leaf

4 potatoes cut in quarters 


Braise onion in oil until light golden brown. 

Add ginger or garlic paste. Add masalas and turmeric and stir then add washed and drained meat. Stir until meat is well coated. 

Add salt and allow masala to “fry” on a low heat with the meat for at least 10 minutes, mixing regularly without burning masala spices. 

Add tomato, chopped coriander, chopped curry leaf, water and allow to cook. 

When meat is almost soft add the potatoes and a bit of water allow to cook on medium to low heat until potatoes and meat are cooked. 

Check salt and garnish with fine chopped coriander and serve. Serve in a quarter loaf and enjoy. 

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