Traditional South African Food

South African Heritage Day & A Few Traditional Recipes

South Africa today is celebrating it’s Heritage Day. This is one of the newly created Public Holidays in South Africa and South Africans all over the world celebrate ‘their cultural heritage and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions, in the wider context of a nation that belongs to all its people’. And we had a taste of South African heritage as we visited TRIBES, a South African Restaurant in the Mall of Emirates (MOE). I have written all about this in my previous post – TRIBES Celebrating South African Heritage Day!

TRIBES is celebrating South African Heritage Day from 21 September – 27 September, 2012. During this period of celebration, will be adding to their standard menu some traditional offerings like Biltong Bread, Beef Tripe Stew with Beans & Tomato served with Pap and Pan Fried Calf’s Liver served with Colcannon Mash.

Today, I’m sharing a few traditional South African Recipes that were shared by the Chef. Needless to say, these were also the ones which we had tasted! And also if you are not so adventurous you could simply adapt the preparation to whatever suits your palette.

TRIBES – The South African Restaurant

Authentic African Cuisine in a themed ambiance; No Alcohol; Kids welcome

Opening Hours: 10am – 11pm (weekdays); 10am- 12pm (weekends)
Location: Fashion Dome, Ground Floor, Mall of The Emirates (MOE);
Tel: +971 50 248 495; Or, you can visit their Website and Facebook Page

The menu offered at TRIBES is taken from the African continent since the Tribal era, influenced by the Spice Islands of the East, the French in the West, the Malay & Dutch in the South and the Arabic flavours of the North. The experience unfurls the moment one enters the restaurant and is greeted by the staff in their tribal language – Tawareq, Shona or Luhyia! Infact, every member of staff has been recruited from African tribes – Xosa, Nguni, Tawareq, Shona, Luhyia to provide the diner with an authentic African experience.


Beef Tripe Stew with White Beans and Tomato Sauce

Beef Tripe Stew with White Beans and Tomato Sauce and served with Pap

Category – Main Meal; Cuisine type – Traditional South African

Ingredients for Beef Tripe:
Beef Tripe – 500g
Turmeric powder – 20g
Onion – 100g
Garlic – 20g
Olive oil – 150ml
Carrot – 100g
Celery – 80g
Leek – 60g
Black pepper – 10g
Bay leaf – 1g
Thyme – 5g
Salt – 10g
Masala – 10g
White bean and tomato sauce – 250g

Method of Preparation of Beef Tripe
– Clean the tripe with salt and turmeric. Add to cold water and bring to boil
– Remove boiling water and wash again in cold water
– Fry the tripe in a pan with olive oil until golden, then add the onion and garlic and fry for 8 minutes
– When the onion is brown, add the carrot, celery, leek and herbs
– Add the remaining ingredients and slow braise the tripe for 1 ½  to 2 hours

Ingredients for White Bean Sauce:
White beans – 250g
Onions – 200g
Garlic – 40g
Tomato – 20g
Tomato paste – 20g
Rosemary – 8g
Thyme – 10g
Parsley – 15g
Oregano – 3g
Salt – 2g
Pepper – 2g
Olive oil – 100ml
Sugar – 10g
Water – 100ml

Method of Preparation of White Bean Sauce
– Bring the beans to boil and cook for 45 minutes. Do NOT discard the liquid
– Fry the onion, add garlic, thyme, rosemary and cook for 4-5 minutes
– Add sugar, tomato paste and fresh tomatoes cook for 10 – 15 minutes
– Add the cooked beans with the liquid with oregano, parsley, salt and pepper
– Cook for 30 – 40 minutes until the beans are soft

Method of Preparation of Pap
– Add the polenta meal to water and bring to boil. Whisk the mixture and simmer for 15 minutes
– Once the tripe is cooked, mix with the white bean and tomato sauce.

The Beef Tripe Stew and the Pap was served very dramatically on large oval trays. This was exactly the way, as Sipho, the Restaurant staff who was explaining all about the food, said how his Mum would have prepared back home. He was also telling us how in older times this was only for the menfolk who would tear up the intestines of their hunt!

Beef Tripe Stew with White Beans and Tomato Sauce and served with Pap.

To be honest, I didn’t quite enjoy the Tripe. Probably because I am not used to eating it. I also found the texture very hard. But the gravy consisting of white beans cooked in tomato sauce was quite tasty – I could make out that quite a few Masalas similar to Indian cooking had gone into it. However, this is a traditional dish from South African Cuisine and often eaten at dinner time as a stew with Pap, specially during winter. The Pap tasted a bit like unsalted Upma (an Indian dish made up of Semolina).

Pap, also known as mieliepap in South Africa, is a traditional porridge/polenta made from ground maize. Many traditional South African dishes include Pap. Pap can be of two types – a very thick consistency that can be held in the hand – Stywe Pap or a more dry crumbly Phutu Pap (Info Courtesy – Wikipedia). There is something similar to Pap in India. Coincidentally, it is also called Putu!

These traditional South African dishes will be available at the TRIBES only during the Heritage Day celebrations. A tripe-eater is not rare and a lot of dishes are popularly made from it (read here).


 Pan-Fried Calve’s Liver served with Yam MashYam Mash

Pan-Fried Calf’s Liver served with Colcannon Mash

Category – Main Meal; Cuisine type – Traditional South African

Calf’s livers – 250g
Plain flour – 10g
Salt – 2g
Pepper – 1g
Full cream – 200ml
Rosemary finely chopped – 1g
Garlic – 5g
Balsamic vinegar black – 50ml
Olive oil – 50ml
Potato – 200g
Savoy cabbage – 50g
Beef bacon – 50g
Cooking cream – 50ml
Spring onion – 20g
Butter – 20g

Method of Preparation of Calf’s livers
– Boil the milk and add garlic and rosemary. Allow to cool
– Clean the calf’s livers, cut into slices and marinate in the cold milk over night
– Remove the livers from the milk and dust them with plain flour
– Shallow fry the livers in a pan with olive oil, turning each slice over to sear each side
– Check the seasoning and serve with Colcannon Mash

Method of Preparation of Colcannon Mash
– Blanch the savoy cabbage in boiling water for one minute, drain and reserve
– Thinly slice the beef bacon and fry, adding the spring onion and cabbage
– Simmer the potato in lightly salted boiling water until cooked. Pierce with a
sharp knife to ensure the potato is soft in the middle
– Drain water from potatoes, add butter and mash. Add bacon, spring onion and cabbage
with a hint of cream to taste


Celebrating History

South African Heritage Day was announced on 24th September, 1996 by the former President Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela’s speech echoed the ethos of the nation – “When our first democratically-elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation”.

On that profound note,

Unblogging it all… Ishita

Disclaimer: TRIBES hosted the food tasting evening for Fooderati Arabia to celebrate the forthcoming South African Heritage Day (21 September – 27 September). A few food shots have been very generously shared by Arva of I Live in a Frying Pan



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