Cooking Lessons: South African traditions in and out of the kitchen

South Africans are approaching that special day again where we get to celebrate all the dads out there. And, everyone knows the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach! So this Father’s Day bring out the braai tongs, dust off the potjie pot and let’s get cooking some hearty South African dishes which serve up smiles all round.

cooking lessons

Some History of South African Cuisine

There’s no doubt that South Africa is one of the most wonderfully unique countries in the world, and our food is no different. Due to the diverse history of settlers, most of our cuisine flavours and techniques have been influenced by a variety of different cultures. 


Many years ago the Dutch travellers brought with them ideas of grilling, roasting and barbecuing a variety of delectable red meats and hearty vegetables. This was always accompanied by some sort of rich desert, using lots of butter and sugar! Sound familiar? Well that’s probably because South Africa’s favourite cooking pastime, braaing, is based off of their previous cooking methods. 


Although the Dutch settlers heavily influenced the majority of Afrikaans cooking, the indigineous people of South Africa, including Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho and Tswana, have evolved and refined their own cuisine style to create some of the most flavoursome and appetizing dishes. Certain meals, such as tripe and Mopane worms, may not be for everyone as they require a rather outgoing palette. However others, such as mieliepap, samp and beans and sour milk porridge, are incorporated into the majority of our everyday diets. 


South Africans are blessed with such a wide range of food knowledge and approaches, given our population’s diverse ethnic backgrounds and we need to take advantage of this whenever possible. Therefore, there’s no better way to celebrate this truly flavourful Father’s Day than sitting around the braai or just being with the whole family and helping dad cook a traditional, South African meal.


Here are some mouth-watering Father’s Day meal ideas to inspire your inner chef! 


You can’t go wrong with this classic! Who would’ve thought that a simple mix of meat and vegetables is actually a match made in heaven. Although you can choose which vegetables and meat to add, traditionally lamb, potatoes, carrots and onions are a proven firm favourite. The cooking method couldn’t be easier as well. You simply throw everything in a cast iron pot, pop it over the fire for a few hours and wait for the magic to happen. 


If dad decides that braaing is just not an option tonight, bobotie is the perfect evening meal that can be made indoors! This famous South African dish has a heavy Cape Malay influence. It contains spiced mince, an egg-based topping, raisins or sultanas and is laced with curry and turmeric. So if you’re looking for something delectably sweet and savoury, bobotie is a sure go-to. 


No South African meal is complete without someone bringing out a Milktart. And, what better way to end off the day than surprising dad with this indulgent pie-like dessert? If your family doesn’t have their own secret recipe, don’t fear as this simple dish consists of nothing more than a basic sweet pastry crust and a deliciously creamy filling. 

Malva pudding

Maybe dad has more of a sweet tooth for cake-type desserts. If so, the famous South African malva-pudding will tick all the boxes. The combination of sponge cake and sticky apricot jam can be served over a cream-based sauce with hot custard or ice cream. This saucy pudding is truly praiseworthy and can be made under an hour! 

Confidence in the kitchen 

We hope you have a wonderful upcoming Father’s Day with your loved one’s and treat your family to a tasty South African dish. To really take these classic meals and desserts to the next level, or gain that extra boost of confidence when it comes to food, check out our culinary training courses which offer true industry-standard cooking lessons and experience!