10 of the best potjie tips from Getaway readers

Winona Griggs

10 Potjie Tips That Will Take Your Cooking to the Next Level

10 of the best potjie tips from Getaway readers

There’s nothing that brings us South Africans together quite like a potjie. It’s the perfect dish to simmer slowly for hours, filling the air with mouthwatering aromas. However, it’s also a dish that has the power to divide us, particularly when it comes to stirring it. We recently asked for your all-time best potjie tips on Facebook, and the responses were too good not to share. So, here are some of the top potjie tips from our amazing community. And if you have any more ideas, don’t hesitate to bombard us with them in the comments!

Potjiekos. Sunset. Dunes. Perfection. Photo by Kati Auld.

Try our best potjie recipes:

  • Favourite oxtail potjie recipe
  • Chicken, mushroom and biltong potjie recipe
  • Beef trinchado potjie recipe
  • Yes, you can make pasta puttanesca in a potjie
  • How to make carrot cake in a potjie

1. Put down that spoon

When it comes to potjie cooking, there’s a golden rule that stands above all others – and it’s the most popular tip from our readers. The rule is simple: pack your ingredients in layers and never, ever stir. It sounds strange, but believe me, it’s true.

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2. Seasoning is everything

There’s something magical about old potjie pots. They hold the secrets of years of cooking, creating a well-seasoned surface that adds an extra burst of flavor to every dish. If you’re lucky, you might know someone with a potjie like this. The best way to show your friendship is to give them a brand new potjie in exchange for their well-seasoned one. It’s a big gesture, but it’s worth it.

3. Mind your coals

Burning your potjie is a disaster we all want to avoid. To keep your potjie safe, pay attention to the placement of your coals. Make sure there are no coals directly under the lowest point of the potjie. Keep the heat just outside the legs, and let the radiant heat work its magic. Your potjie will thank you.

4. The Magic of Perfect Pairings

I want to share a secret with you: the incredible potential of combining venison with fruit. Trust me, it’s a game-changer! Claudia Henriques Delmont can’t get enough of the mouthwatering blend of springbok and apricots soaked in OBS. It’s an irresistible duo that will leave you craving more!

10 of the best potjie tips from Getaway readers

Ah, it’s time for a potjie! You know, that delicious South African stew made in a cast iron pot over a fire. It’s a tradition that brings people together and creates mouthwatering flavors. But there are a few things you should keep in mind to make your potjie experience even better!

5. Choose one potato to test for doneness

Here’s a handy trick from Peet Buys: take one potato out of the pot and place it on top. When that potato is cooked through, you can be sure the rest of the potjie is too. It’s a simple way to check without disturbing the other ingredients.

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6. Tenderize meat with a surprising ingredient

When it comes to softening meat, red wine is the usual go-to. However, Jessica Müller suggests something different – Coca-Cola! Yes, you heard right. Adding a bit of Coke can work wonders in making your meat tender and juicy. It’s a secret ingredient you won’t want to miss.

7. Keep your potjie simmering, not boiling

A potjie is all about slow cooking over a low heat. Boiling is a big no-no. As Nasika Arthi Baijnath puts it, your pot should whisper, never boil. And Pete Mafutha puts it even more bluntly: a boiled stew is a soiled stew. So keep that heat low and let the magic happen gradually.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to potjie perfection. Gather your friends and family, embrace the essence of this beloved tradition, and enjoy the delectable flavors that come from cooking a potjie just right. Happy potjiekos!

10 of the best potjie tips from Getaway readers

Veggie potjie. Captured by Teagan Cunniffe/Vuyi Qubeka

8. It’s all about adding flavor

“Add a good dollop of real butter half an hour before serving,” recommends Jo Adams. In French cuisine, this is known as “mounter au beurre.” But we like to call it simply delicious.

9. Keep the vibes going — but don’t go overboard

As per our readers, it’s important to have some alcohol in both the potjie and the potjie master at all times. Linda Dillon follows a simple three-part rule: “Don’t add too much liquid. Don’t stir. Stay calm and have a drink.” We also appreciate the opposite advice from Alwyn Bosman, who advises, “Making potjie is quite easy, but staying sober during the cooking process is the real challenge. So take it easy with the alcohol.” Easier said than done, Alwyn.

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10. In a worst-case scenario, fake it

When things don’t go as planned, I find comfort in the wise words of Joshua Roode: ‘chutney covers a multitude of sins.’ And you know what? He’s right.

Do you have any helpful tips that we haven’t mentioned? Share them with us in the comments below!

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