South African Recipes

South Africa is internationally known as the Rainbow Nation, and so it is not surprising to find that South African recipes are drawn from many cultures within one country. If you're looking for authentic South African recipes, you will therefore have a great deal of choice, although you will need to define the area of authenticity that appeals to your taste buds. We have chosen some great South African recipes from this country's heritage that cross the rainbow and share what this interesting nation's people have to offer. We trust you will enjoy them.

South Africa's identifiable Cuisine

While food is certainly not political, it is probably true to say that prior to the release of the great Madiba, Nelson Mandela, in 1990, the South African "culinary tradition" was considered to have been founded by the first Dutch settlers who arrived at the Cape of Good Hope during the 17th and 18th centuries. Interestingly, many of their recipes (a good example is bobotie) have been adopted by Cape Muslims, who have a very distinctive cuisine of their own.

Then there were the English settlers who brought a completely different approach to cooking - as well as the French and the Portuguese.

But at the end of the day, there are certain identifiable cuisines that have made their mark as South African rather than "foreign". These include African, Afrikaans (from the Cape Dutch), Cape Muslim, Natal Indian and a meld of European cuisines that have been adapted for a hot-climate country.

While Cape Muslim cuisine is somewhat spicy, it is mild compared to the Indian cuisine that emerged to the north-east in what is today known as kwaZulu-Natal (previously just Natal). Many Indian workers were brought to South Africa, first as slaves during the 17th and 18th centuries, and then as indentured labourers during the 19th century, to work on the sugar plantations in that part of the country. There were also many Indian immigrants who chose to live in South Africa. Between them they brought a culture of cooking that has been adapted within South Africa.

Then you have the food of Africa which is served by restaurants seeking to establish a more "native" cuisine. This is the kind of food that some indigenous people eat; the kind of pap (porridge) and wors (sausage) that is often considered to be a staple diet.

And then there is the great South African braai or barbecue. Recognised by millions, there is even a national braai day in South Africa, in September. While nobody in South Africa would ever concede a BBQ day, it will come as no surprise to find a host of great BBQ ideas amongst our South African recipes!

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