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Potjiekos (Poy-Key-Kos)

Updated on December 17, 2011
Lamb potjiekos
Lamb potjiekos

Traditional Cooking at it’s best

Surprise and impress your guests by cooking a Potjiekos when they are expecting to be wined and dined by a bar-b-que, as has been tradition in ‘outdoor’ entertaining at your home.

Potjie, in English, means Pot and Kos is Afrikaans for Food. So, this ‘Pot of Food’ is prepared in a cast iron pot that has three-legs to sit evenly over burning coals. The round potbellied pot has a history going back to the 17th century.

Potjiekos requires long, slow cooking over LOW heat, so keep the fire small. Add coals from a second fire from time to time to keep a constant temperature under the pot.

The beauty of potjiekos is that it can be left to cook on it’s own, in fact, it is better left to cook on it’s own.


Heat a mixture of oil and butter (butter gives additional flavor) in a Potjie Pot over moderate coals. Cut the meat, chicken or fish into reasonably sized portions and brown in the hot oil.

Remove some of the coals from under the pot and pour in some heated liquid ie; stock, and cover the pot tightly and allow the meat to simmer for an hour or two.

Half an hour or so before the end of the cooking time add the vegetables in LAYERS. Those that take the longest to cook such as carrots and potatoes, add first.

You don’t need to add much more liquid as the tightly fitted lid traps the steam and the food cooks in it’s own juices.

If you like a thicker sauce, add one potato at the beginning of the cooking time so that it cooks to a pulp.

Stir only at the beginning when the meat has been browned – and then leave well alone!

Meat potjiekos takes about 2-3hours to cook while fish takes about one hour.

Finally to appreciate the potjiekos flavor, keep the side dishes simple-rice and wholewheat bread and a crisp salad.


Meat cuts that are not usually associated with bar-b-queing are ideal for potjiekos-the less tender cuts that are full of flavor such as neck, chuck, flat rib, brisket and shin or beef. Also, use shank and flank of lamb and breast of pork.

As a delicacy, use oxtail, mutton or venison all giving a unique flavor to a potjie, all of which are considered too tough to be bar-b-qued. These meats become beautifully tender in a long cooking process.

HINT – Dumplings can be added to any potjiekos recipe.

THE FIRE - Wood or charcoal both make a good fire, both giving the same results.

TIP - Add a little red wine to a potjie recipe to enhance the flavor.

TIP – Keep the liquid below the level of the vegetables.

STIRING – Stir ONCE before serving just to ensure an even mix of vegetables and meat.


The recipes you can try are as long as your imagination. Therefore I will not submit any as you can have a whole lot of fun with this yourself. I will however, submit a few ideas to get you started.


Beef & Beer

Beef & Vegetables

Spicy Seafood

Mutton Shank


Lamb & Butternut

The preparation time will create a warm and friendly atmosphere, it never fails!


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    • LadyLyell profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from George, South Africa

      This is comfort food at it's best so give it a go using the oven.

      Thank you for taking time out to read my article, appreciated!

    • vespawoolf profile image


      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      This sounds like a delicious comfort dish! I wish I had a hot fire to cook it over, but I'm sure oven roasted would also be yummy. Thanks for sharing!

    • LadyLyell profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from George, South Africa

      Your cooking method is just as tasty by braising the meat with vegetables I'm sure, and isn't this comfort food on a cold winters night?

      Thanks for the input!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I'll bet the aromas as it is cooking are wonderful. We are not likely to cook anything such as this over an open fire but quite often do braising of meats with veggies in a slow oven after browning of the meat. Meats cooked in this manner often are fork tender and easily fall off of the bone. Thanks for the primer on Potjiekos. Interesting!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Potjiekos is certainly a hearty meal. Thanks for the receipe ideas.

    • LadyLyell profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from George, South Africa

      I have taken note of your suggestions and thanks for the input.

      South Africans sure know how to make a good braai or potjiekos.

      I will read your hubs on cooking with interest.

      Have a nice day!

    • Hendrika profile image


      6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      I am South African and I follow your recipe more or less. Only difference is that I fry the onions, take out the onions and then I brown the meat. You are right about the stirring. We also do not only add the vegetables in layers but also at different times, starting with the ones that takes the longest to cook first. I think meat on the bone is the best and I also think (to me!) the wine is compulsory!

    • LadyLyell profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from George, South Africa

      I am pleased that you enjoyed this article and thank you for the support.

    • instantlyfamily profile image


      6 years ago

      This looks amazing! Great pictures and instructions.Thanks.

    • LadyLyell profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from George, South Africa

      Judi, your comment is appreciated. Maybe your husband would enjoy the wonderful flavors of the vegetables in a Potjiekos and then there is more meat for you.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • LadyLyell profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from George, South Africa

      Sannel, I am pleased that you found the idea of cooking Potjiekos worth a try. It can be fun to surprise the visitors sometimes with food with a difference.

      Nice hearing from you again!

    • LadyLyell profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from George, South Africa

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my article.

      I hope to hear from you again!

    • dare2baware profile image


      6 years ago from UK

      Looks delicious, but I am a vegan. Doesn't mean I can't enjoy looking and admiring it. ;-)

    • SanneL profile image


      6 years ago from Sweden

      Sounds wonderful! This is a great outdoor entertainment. I would love the spicy seafood myself.

      Bookmarking for future use.

      Thank you for sharing this recipe with us.

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judi Brown 

      6 years ago from UK

      Looks and sounds delicious! Husband is a veggie, but could cook this for myself and daughter. Thanks for sharing.

      Bookmarked, voted up etc

    • RTalloni profile image


      6 years ago from the short journey

      Potjiekos...if I can just remember how to pronounce it this will be great fun to serve guests from other countries!


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