Traditional South African Potjiekos

Sometimes I miss being little.

On Saturday evenings we would often sit outside as my dad makes a potjie (pronounced poy-key).  He would always prep the veggies at half time (in South Africa there are a few things that are more important than watching rugby on a Saturday afternoon) and go full-blast cooking after the game.


Now for those that are not familiar with a potjie (or Bushveld Microwave as my dad calls it!), it is nothing other than a cast iron cauldron that we use to cook outside with on gas or fire.  To be honest, gas is better since you can control the heat better.  It comes in various sizes also.  From a teensy tiny size ¼ that holds about 700ml to a size 25 that holds roughly 70 litres and can feed up to 60 people!  For a regular family a number 3 pot is a good size.

There are as many recipes out there as there are potjies, but of course, my dad’s Drunken Chicken Potjie is the best!  It is simple, yet very flavourful and only needs a handful of ingredients.  It was so nice that I completely forgot to take a picture of it when it was done!  I did remember to take a picture of the leftovers though…

Dad’s Drunken Chicken Potjie (Served 6, plus leftovers):

2 Whole chickens (cut into portions)

2 onions (cut into chunks)

5 potatoes (cut into eighths)

1 packet of carrot hearts

1 punnet whole courgettes

1 punnet of sliced mushrooms

500g mixed broccoli and cauliflower

1.5 bottles white wine (dad uses Cape Riesling)

100g tomato paste

1 tablespoon Worcester Sauce



Number 3 Potjie

I am pretty sure you can make this in a regular pot on the stove, but then you will lose the yummy cast iron taste that gives potjiekos its unique flavour.


  1.  Heat the oil and once hot, sautè the onion for a few seconds (you still want them really firm, but not entire raw).
  2. Place the chicken into the pot and let it sear for a few minutes until browned on the
  3. Put the potatoes and carrots into the pot and let it simmer on a medium heat with the lid on for 15
  4. After 15 minutes stir the pot then add the mushrooms and the wine (reserve 100ml).  Simmer for ½ hour longer with the lid on.
  5. Next up is the broccoli, cauliflower and courgettes.  Simmer for another 15 minutes.
  6. In the meanwhile mix the remaining wine with the tomato paste and Worcester sauce and pour this mix over the chicken and vegetable mixture.
  7. Simmer this for another 15 or so minutes until the vegetables is tender and the chicken cooked through.

As mentioned beforehand, we were so excited to dig in that I completely forgot to take a picture of the finished dish!  I only remembered once we were done eating and quickly snapped a picture of the leftovers…


We have served this with a simple green salad and some rice.

4 Comments on “Traditional South African Potjiekos

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