Cook it Like a South African Local – Tomato Bredie and Koeksisters


South Africa is blessed with multi-ethnic cultures, which naturally leads to exchanging recipes, and boy, are there some fantastic ones! Read on to discover how you can make a traditional South African supper, as well as a popular dessert, the same way the locals do.

1. Make Tomato Bredie

Tomato Bredie is one of the most popular local dishes, especially in the cold winter months. We’ve looked at a wide variety of ways to make this, and everyone agrees: the slower you cook the bredie, the better it tastes, especially if left overnight and eaten the following day.


  • 1kg beef – cut into cubes
  • 2 x onions, chopped
  • 6 x tomatoes – diced
  • 1 x 70g tin of tomato paste
  • 3 x potatoes – diced


  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika
  • 3 x crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 x tablespoon mixed herbs
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 x tablespoon of maizena (or potato powder)


  1. Make sure your beef has been cut into appropriate cubes (if you’re not a beef fan, you can use mutton). Dice the onions and potatoes.
  2. Mix the butter and oil together, before adding it to a saucepan and letting it simmer until the butter changes colour.
  3. Add the cubed meat and stir-fry it until brown. Remove the meat and season it with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the onions to the left-over oil mixture and allow them to glaze. Then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, chilli, garlic, paprika, herbs, water and stock cube. Allow to simmer for half an hour, and then add the seasoned meat to the pan again.
  5. Simmer this mixture for around 2 hours, before adding in the diced potatoes. Simmer for another half hour.
  6. Add the maizina or potato flour to the gravy mix and add more water, to thicken the mixture.
  7. Remove from heat and serve at once or, and this is much better, wait a day before serving it. Most people usually serve it over a basmati rice bed, but you can also dish it straight into a bowl and eat as is.

2. Koeksisters for Dessert

Light and fluffy in the middle, crispy shell, aromatic syrup to coat.. Delicious koeksisters.

No meal is complete without some kind of decadent dessert and a local favourite, Koeksisters, can be had at any time of day. They’re similar to donuts, but a thousand times tastier.

Syrup (this should be made a day in advance, and left overnight in the fridge)

  • 1kg of granulated sugar
  • 2x cups of water
  • ½x tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1x pinky-sized stick of sliced ginger
  • 1x lemon with juice and zest


  • 280g all-purpose or cake flour
  • 1x teaspoon of salt
  • 2x tablespoons of baking powder
  • 4x tablespoons of butter
  • 1x free range egg – lightly beaten
  • 7x tablespoons water
  • 6x cups vegetable oil

Cooking Instructions Syrup:

  1. Heat the sugar and water together in a pan, but don’t allow it to boil until the sugar has dissolved properly.
  2. Stir in between.
  3. Once everything has dissolved, allow the mixture to boil for a minute, and then add the other rest of the syrup ingredients.
  4. Reduce the temperature and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes, and then pour the syrup into an airtight container, and store it in the fridge.
  5. A rectangular container works best – as you’ll be dipping the koeksisters into it.

Cooking Instructions Koeksisters:

  1. Add flour, baking powder and salt together, then rub in the butter to create a ‘breadcrumbs’ texture to the mix.
  2. Add the egg and water, and mix until the dough comes together – add more water if the dough is too thick, or add more flour if the mixture is too sticky.
  3. Knead the dough into a ball and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with either a plate or clingwrap, and leave at room temperature for around an hour.
  4. Add some flour to the counter or board, and roll your dough ball flat. Then cut it into small rectangular pieces, 12 x 4 cm which is what Woolworth’s food chefs recommend.
  5. Now you have lots of little strips, pick one up and cut it twice, 1cm apart, keeping the top section whole. Plait these strips, and once you’re done, pinch the ends together. Try and keep the top and bottom symmetrical. Repeat until all your dough strips are plaits.
  6. Heat the oil in a pan and add the dough plaits – test the heat first by adding a little bit of dough to the pan. It should sizzle, but not change colour immediately.
  7. Deep fry your dough for three minutes in total, covering it thoroughly with the oil. Remove the fried pieces and allow them to drain – a colander works well, or use paper towels.
  8. Add them to the pre-made syrup and allow them to soak in it for one minute. Please note they shouldn’t be too oily. Remove, and allow them to cool, and dry, before serving them.

Author Bio: Roseanna McBain is a writer for TravelGround. She enjoys learning how to make new things, reading, spending time outdoors, and exploring the countryside with her husband.

Photo Credits – Muffet, Manne

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