South African Recipes and Cuisine

Paging through a book containing South African recipes will leave most visitors to the country amazed. Meaty ingredients like crocodile, oxtail, warthog and impala make wonderful stews. Though these are truly South African recipes, they are not often eaten by locals who prefer middle of the road products like beef, chicken or mutton.

South African cuisine and recipes have evolved over decades from all the different cultures and people who came to live here – be it by choice or against their will. Interestingly it was due to food that the South Africa of today came into existence. The search for spices drew the Dutch East Indian Company to Java. The need for a farm half-way to Java brought Jan van Riebeeck to the Cape. The local Khoi and San people were not very eager slaves which forced the Dutch to bring Malay people to help work the land. With them came their distinctive cooking style which now is an integral part of any South African recipe book. Their wonderful recipes for curried chicken or mutton are South African favorites.

The French Huguenots brought vines and so the wine industry came into existence. South African wines are sought after overseas. Sugar farmers brought laborers from India. Today restaurants and shops are familiar with Biryani, Masala and Halaal foods.

The British came to South Africa looking for gold and empire, bringing the food of their culture with. Chutney, shortbread and lemon curd are popular words in any South African recipe book. Most South African will probably argue that the British had nothing to do with chutney at all.

The black communities of South Africa have traditionally healthy diets which include: roots, berries, vegetables, game, wild greens, sorghum, maize and insects like locusts. Top local restaurants, like Leith’s Restaurant in Centurion, who specializes in South African recipes and cuisine will create the most marvelous dishes from these ingredients.