Heritage Day: SA chefs share their favourite traditional meals

Heritage Day is here, and to help you celebrate, South African chefs have put together a choice of meals that cover some of the rainbow nation’s varied cultures.

In the spirit of putting a spotlight on our heritage, there is nothing that hits closer to home than our meals.

Below are three recipes by food enthusiast and founder of Icebolethu Group,, Nomfundo Mcoyi and chefs Fatima Sydow and Nonhlanhla Mabaso of BON Hotel Waterfront Richards Bay. They guarantee these dishes will be a treat to serve your loved ones on this special day.

Chicken feet by Nomfundo Mcoyi

One of Mcoyi’s favourite dishes to prepare is chicken feet with steamed bread. This is a dish that brings back strong memories of her grandmother, who used to prepare a similar dish whenever the family came to visit. Mcoyi finds that through this dish she not only relives her childhood, she passes those memories on while creating new ones with her children and family.


For chicken feet

1kg chicken feet

2 onions, finely chopped

2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs chicken stock

1tsp curry powder

1tsp turmeric

1tsp garam masala

1tsp paprika

3 tbs Worcestershire sauce

1 cup of water


Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry onions until brown.

Add dry ingredients – curry powder, paprika and turmeric.

Add chicken feet, chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce and combine. Allow to fry for 2 – 3 minutes.

Add a cup of water and boil for 35 – 45 minutes.

Koesisters by Fatima Sydow

Sydow has become synonymous with comfort food that warms the soul. Her Heritage Day recipe is a Sunday favourite among many in Cape Town – the koesister. She has memories of her mother waking her up to a tray of tea and a bowl of warm, sugary koesisters, but these delicious bites are perfect at any time of the day.


4½ cups cake flour

1tsp baking powder

10g instant yeast

1 tbs castor sugar

3 tbs melted butter

1tsp salt

1 cup soft mashed potatoes

3 tsp naartjie peel powder or zest

1½ tbs freshly grated ginger

1tsp mixed spice

2 tbs aniseed

2 tsp fine cinnamon

½ tsp ground cardamom seeds

1½ cups of lukewarm water

1 large egg

3 cups of sugar

3 cups of water

5 pieces of stick cinnamon


In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together until well combined. Knead the dough for 10 minutes – the dough will be quite sticky but do not be tempted to add any more flour, just use some oil on your hands when kneading. Cover with a tea towel or cling film and allow to rise for 90 minutes in a warm and dark area of your kitchen.

Next, knock down the dough and, using a little oil on your hands, make small oblong shapes and deep-fry in oil in a deep saucepan on a medium to high heat until brown on both sides. Remove from the oil.

To make the syrup, in a large saucepan, boil the water, sugar and cinnamon sticks until bubbling.

Dip the koesisters into the warm sugar syrup and allow to soak for a minute. Using a slotted spoon, place koesisters in a bowl and sprinkle with desiccated coconut.

Potjie by Nonhlanhla Mabaso

One dish that will remain a firm favourite is the potjie. With origins dating back to the 1600s and Dutch settlers, it has remained a staple at all kinds of family gatherings and friendly celebrations. Mabaso has added a special kick to this recipe that will leave the crowd happy.

1kg of chicken serves 8 to 10 guests.


1kg cubed game (springbok or kudu)

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground jeera

½ tsp roasted coriander seeds

2 tbs paprika

1 tsp nutmeg

3 bay leaves

2 tsp dried mixed herbs

½ tsp black pepper

1 tbs brown sugar

½ cup fruit chutney

¾ cup red wine

50ml (2 tots) Amarula Gold

1 medium onion

2 tsp garlic

1 bunch of fresh coriander

3 tbs bacon fat

2 cups plain yoghurt

700ml vegetable stock

500g root vegetables of your choice


Wash the venison and coat with yoghurt and leave in the fridge overnight.

Remove the meat from the yoghurt and rub with all the spices. Leave to stand while heating up an iron-based pan.

Brown the meat and add bacon lard, bay leaves, onions and garlic. Fry a little, then add the wine and vegetable stock.

Cook on a slow heat for about 2 hours (until soft and tender).

Add the Amarula Gold and fresh root vegetables and let it simmer for about 10-15 more minutes.

Remove from heat and add the fresh coriander.

Serves well with yellow rice and raisins.