Potjiekos is a winter time (and HL) favourite but did you know that there’s an annual potjie festival in the middle of Texas in the USA? Or that potjiekos has been deeply entrenched in SA history for centuries?
We’ve scoured the history books for a little Did You Know on potjiekos to get your mind stewing:
Did you know:
1. In a time long preceding the first Cape settlers, the migrating Bantu people in South Africa learned how to use cast iron pots for cooking from Arab traders and Portuguese colonists. When the Dutch arrived, they too brought their black hanging pots to the Cape.
2. The pot proved to be the perfect cooking utensil for the nomadic Voortrekker lifestyle of the 17th and 18th centuries, where the pot was hooked under their wagons while travelling and unhooked at each stop to be put back on the fire. Its contents were kept from spoiling on the trips in between uses by a layer of fat.
3. For modern potjies, the most versatile size to get is a size 3 pot which serves about 4 to 6 people.
4. With the Victorian era and the increase in settled communities, the travelling potjie was shelved in favour of the permanent kitchen and the traditional oven roast.
5. Potjiekos paved the way for braai-ing in SA in the 50’s and 60’s, but re-emerged as a popular dish in the 70’s with the increase in meat prices. Because potjiekos makes use of only a small amount of meat and can go quite a long way, it is a cheaper alternative for meat dishes.
6. With this resurgence of popularity, the novelty dish was emphasised by newspapers and magazines that began publishing recipes for the perfect potjie.
7. Apparently this popularity has spread around the world, since there is now an annual Potjie Festival in Texas, USA! Prizes are given for the best potjies in different categories and there are even sokkies in this South African-inspired weekend event.