Affordable Traditional Meals We All Enjoy

Nowhere is South Africa’s cultural diversity more broadly expressed than in our national dishes. Our most cherished meals run the range from soya mince recipes to vetkoek and mince dishes, slow-roasted to baked and meaty to meatless. Many of these meals are not only inexpensive to make but are also packed with essential nutrients.

If you ever need any ideas on what to cook, there are plenty of pocket-friendly local dishes to try out. Here are five nutritious traditional dishes that won’t burn a hole in your pocket:

Traditional Oxtail Samp

Samp is a classic family evening dish. It requires only a handful of inexpensive ingredients to make, so it is a dish that is accessible to households across the country. Traditional oxtail samp can be prepared on a stovetop or on an open fire, and is usually paired with an oxtail sishebo but can go with anything from curry to chicken.

Chicken and Lentil Stew

Research shows that chicken is South Africa’s most widely consumed animal protein. South Africans eat about 28 million chickens a week, so it’s no wonder there are plenty of chicken-based recipes prepared every day across the country. Chicken and lentil stew is familiar for many who needed a warm meal to ward off the winter chill. Served with a generous helping of pap, this dish tastes like a South African winter.

Mutton Curry

Curry is best known for its temperature-raising properties, which is why one wouldn’t be blamed for thinking it’s best enjoyed in winter. But this tasty meal can be enjoyed at any time of the year. When beef and chicken have run their course, and you’re looking for something different to serve the family, mutton curry is the go-to meal for the occasion.

Chicken Stew with Dumplings

Dumplings, dombolo, steam bread: whatever you call this South African favourite, what’s certain is that you’ve probably sunk your teeth into one more times than you can remember. Dumplings are the perfect addition to a sishebo, so it’s no wonder that it’s often paired with chicken stew. Dumplings often bring a welcome change to the usual staples of rice and pap. Chicken stew with dumplings is an expensive and delicious way to bring some variety to your family dining time.

Beef Stew with Sugar Beans

If you want to cook a hearty local meal, look no further than beef stew and sugar beans served with uphuthu. Nutritious and inexpensive, sugar beans only need a few chopped and diced vegetables and some spices to turn them into a meal. While this can be served with rice, adding uphuthu makes the dish uniquely South African.

Finding inexpensive local dishes to cook isn’t hard. There are plenty of recipes at your disposal which meet the criteria: packed with flavour, inexpensive and a reflection of South Africa’s diversely culinary heritage.

The Gardener