Traditional Beef Potjiekos

This "Beef potjiekos" is traditional South African dish that is cooked in an cast iron pot (potjie) over a few coals of wooden logs or charcoal. It doesn't contain a lot of water and it is important

to be able to add or remove coals during the slow cooking process to keep the heat at just the right level. This way of preparing meals goes back hundreds of years to the middle of the 17th century when the Dutch and Malay people arrived at the Cape and introduced new ways of food preparation to the land. The pots are available in different sizes and can be purchased at supermarkets and retailers that specialize in products for the outdoors. 

Preparation time: 30 minutes 
Cooking time: 75 to 90 minutes
Resting time: 0 minutes
Total time needed: at least 105 minutes
Grade of Difficulty: standard

Beef potjiekos

  • 700 gram / 1.5 lbs. stewing beef, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 small carrots, chopped
  • 4 small potatoes, diced
  • 2 cobs of sweet corn, cut into 5 cm / 2 inch wide pieces
  • 50 gram / 1.8 oz of fresh green beans, ends cut off
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped into cubes
  • 1 small kohlrabi, chopped into cubes
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed (or to taste)
  • 800ml / 27 oz beef stock
  • ½ mango, chopped into dice
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • ½ bunch of soup celery, chopped fine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp. dry ground chili powder (Cayenne)
  • 1 tsp.  Medium hot mustard


  • Start the fire with good firewood 1/2 hour before you want to cook your potjie
  • Once there are some coals ready for use place your potjie (I used size 2) on coals and add the oil to it
  • Once the oil is hot add meat, onions and garlic, stir well and let onions and meat fry till the onions begin to change color and become soft
  • Add vegetables, mango, all the spices, mustard, and beef stock to the potjie, stirr well and cover with lid
  • Once the stock begins to boil, make sure that it will only simmer gently. Remove some coals if needed to reduce the heat. (It is always important to have extra coals available if needed)  
  • Cover with lid and let the ingredients gently boil for at least 1 hour, stirring it once every 15 minutes and adjusting the amount of coals under the pot if needed
  • Check if the beef is well done, if not let it simmer another 15 minutes
  • Once the beef is well done remove potjie from fire and serve beef potjiekos hot with buttered slices of freshly baked bread or rolls / buns 

Bacon and Green Pea Potjiekos

Waterblommetjie Bredie

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History of South African Potjiekos

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