Megamaster Potjie Pots
How to Cook a Traditional Potjie with Megamaster Potjie Pots
Most South Africans know what a potjie is and most of them love potjiekos ��������������� it is a tradition that originated in this country, but one that now stretches far beyond the borders of South Africa. People from all over the world are getting to grips with the joy of cooking food in a potjie, and a wild variety of different recipes emerge all the time. Potjiekos is a friendly way of cooking and eating, and is enjoyed by young and old, rich or poor, country bumpkins and city dwellers and meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. There is no limit to the imagination when it comes to cooking in a potjie on an open fire. It is also steeped in the rich history of this country and even today, it remains the one dish that is cooked and enjoyed across all the indigenous cultures in this country. Nowadays, we have a variety of pots available to buy here, and Megamaster Potjie Pots are coveted by many a potjie enthusiast.
History of the Potjie
When the Dutch Huguenots settled in the Cape, they only knew how to cook in their own Dutch pots – made of cast iron, these heavy pots had round bellies and cooked while suspended in the kitchen hearth above the fire. These pots are known as “Dutch ovens” here and in other parts of the world, but the preferred term is “potjie”. The indigenous people of the country also encountered their own form of cooking with cast iron pots, learned from Portuguese and Arab traders, and these pots differed in that they actually stood in the fire on three legs, instead of hanging over the fire.
During cooking, the heavy lid is kept on the potjie while the food cooks inside, allowing the steam to circulate and this produces wonderfully flavourful and tender stews. The other advantage of using this type of pot is that it conducts heat well and stays hot for a long time, and as a result, very little fire or coals are needed to cook with it. This made it a very suitable cooking vessel for those who had the nomadic lifestyles of that time.
The food prepared in a potjie was very simple – usually a combination of vegetables and herbs foraged or harvested, and meat shot during that day. Traditionally, the food was cooked continuously, with new food just thrown in every day to top up the levels again. During travelling, the pot (with its contents) was taken off the fire and hooked up underneath the wagon, and removed and put on the fire again once the new destination had been reached. This means that the cooking process was never complicated and that there was always something to eat.
Cooking Up a Good Potjie
The traditional way involves layering the meat (any meat!) and a variety of vegetables, spices and herbs in the pot. First the meat is browned in oil, then spices, onion, garlic and other flavourful vegetables are added. After this, other vegetables are added in according to their cooking times – potatoes first and only after that, carrots, mushrooms and others. Only a small amount of liquid is needed and usually stock or wine is used. The lid is put on and the potjie is left on the fire to cook slowly for a few hours. During this time, you can check on the vegetables and the levels of moisture, but the potjie should not be stirred or the layers disturbed. Only once the potjie is cooked, can it be stirred so that all the flavours can mix!
Using this method with Megamaster Potjie Pots is highly recommended and we advise you to give it a go! Call our team at Megamaster for more information!