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The Gearzette


- July 05, 2018

The food in the picture looks delicious. You have an urge to cook this on your next camp outing. But if you're not a South African, you're probably scratching your head.  What the heck is a Potjie?

Outside of South Africa a Potjie is known as a "Dutch Oven". It's a 3 legged cast iron pot with origins in the Netherlands. Back in the day, the Voortrekkers (Pioneers of Dutch descent from the Cape Colony) used this pot to make food along their journey while “trekking” from the Cape Colony toward what is now known as South Africa. Each day when these folk stopped to rest, they hunted for wild game. The catch was then added to the pot and left to simmer over an open fire, packed up after the meal and taken along with them in the pot.

Potjiekos (Poy-Key-Kos), literally meaning “small pot food”, is a traditionally South African way of cooking that has evolved into a delicious and social way of making hearty stew around an open fire with friends and family.

Potjiekos traditionally includes meat (whatever is readily available), vegetables like cabbage, carrots, pumpkin or cauliflower and starches like rice or potatoes, all left to slow-cook in Dutch-Malay spices. These days though, anything goes, from Potjie Chips (Fries) to Biltong Potjie.

This will be the first of many Potjie recipes we're going to share with you. If you have any favorites you'd like to share with us, we're all ears (and open mouths). Ok. On with the show. Here's how you make Moroccan Mushroom Potjie. You'll need:

  • 5 Carrots (Cut into 1cm thick rounds)
  • 1 Butternut (Peeled and cut into chunky blocks)
  • 3 Regular Sized Onions (Peeled and Diced)
  • 1 Cup Dried Apricots
  • 8 Large Brown Mushrooms (Rinsed)
  • 1 Punnet of Button Mushrooms (Rinsed and Sliced)
  • 4 Potatoes (Cut into 1cm Thick Rounds)
  • 1 Head of Cauliflower (Rinsed and Separated)
  • 1 Punnet of Baby Marrows (Rinsed and Halved)
  • 2 Eggplants (Rinsed and cut into 1cm Thick Rounds)
  • 250ml Fresh Cream
  • 1 Tin of Tomato Paste
  • 6 Cloves of Garlic (Peeled and Whole)
  • 1 Cups Vegetable Stock
  • 8 Batons of Halloumi Cheese
  • 50ml Cooking Oil
  • 1 Packet of Powdered Mushroom Soup

Spice Mix:

  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin,
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger,
  • 1 & 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper,
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon,
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander,
  • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper,
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Allspice,
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves,

Eggplant Pre-Preparation:

Slice the eggplant into 1cm thick rounds. Sprinkle

evenly with salt. Transfer to a colander over a plate

and set asidefor 30 minutes to drain. This draws

out the bitter juices. Place the colander over a large

bowl or in a sink. Carefully rinse each piece of eggplant

under cold water, making sure you remove all the salt. Drain.

Transfer the rinsed eggplant pieces, a few at a time, to a clean work

surface and pat dry with paper towel.


Cooking time: 2 hours.

Fry off the Halloumi cheese in 25ml of cooking oil and finish with a

dash of lemon juice and set aside for later. Heat up the remaining

cooking oil. Add the onions and fry until translucent. Add the Spice

Mix and thoroughly coat the onions with the spices. Add the Sliced

Button Mushrooms, whole cloves of garlic and tin of tomato paste

and fry until all the flavors have seeped into the mushrooms. Place

the carrots at the base, followed by layers of the Potato Rounds and

then the Butternut. Layer the Dried Apricots on top of this. Sprinkle

some cinnamon over the Butternut. Add a cup of Vegetable Stock

and let simmer for 1 hour with the lid on. Do not stir. Open the lid

and layer the Eggplant, Baby Marrow and Cauliflower. Mix half of

your Powdered Mushroom Soup with 250ml of cold water and pour

into the pot. Cover with lid and cook for another 30 minutes. Layer

the Large Brown Mushrooms at the top and pour in the Cream then

season with a few pinches of salt and black pepper (and a dollop of

Butter on each mushroom for added flavor) and allow to simmer,

covered for the final 30 minutes. Top off with the fried Halloumi

cheese from earlier, close your pot and your potjie is ready to enjoy!