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Potjie 101

Potjiekos is a classic South African braai-day favourite. Here are a few techniques and tips to make sure your next potjie is both healthy, hearty and delicious.

One small thing:Bone-in, skinless chicken thighs are a delicious and healthy substitute for red meat in your next potjie.

Traditional potjiekos consists of four main ingredients, which you can mix and match to suit your taste preferences. Create a happy bubbling pot with a combination of the following:

1. Meat
Where possible, choose cuts meant for long, slow cooking. Bone-in cuts are ideal as they tend to be extra flavoursome.
Beef: Short ribs, shin and goulash are top picks. Opt for the leanest cuts with the least amount of visible fat.
Chicken: Bone-in skinless thighs are great choices.
Pork: Neck, shin, shoulder or fillet work well.

Vegetarian or vegan? You can still enjoy a flavourful potjie. Simply substitute the meat component with chickpeas. Just don’t forget to reduce your braaiing time – chickpeas will cook a lot faster than meat.

2. Vegetables
Onions, carrots, celery and leeks are generally fried with aromatics (herbs and spices) first, as these become the flavour base for your potjie. Remember that veggies like butternut and pumpkin, which take longer to cook, should be added before the more tender veg. Softer vegetables like green beans, baby corn and mushrooms, which have a shorter cooking time, should be added towards the end.

When you’re planning your next potjie, don’t forget about the products PnP has identified as Food Heroes – these are brimming with healthy nutrients.

3. Starch
A starch acts as a sponge for all the delicious sauce that’s spent hours developing in flavour. Regular potatoes are a great choice, but you could change it up and use orange sweet potatoes, risoni (rice pasta), brown basmati rice or whole baby potatoes instead.

The starch doesn’t always have to be included in the pot itself – it can also be served on the side. A crusty wholewheat baguette or a homemade seed pot bread are good options.

4. Liquid
Most people use stock or water, but there are other creative ways to build flavour with liquid. Try tomato purée or canned chopped tomatoes. Remember that vegetables contain water as well, so don’t add too much liquid as veggies will cook down and create their own “sauce”.

While building your liquid, why not add colour and flavour with turmeric or ginger?

If you have a question for our dietitians, click here, or to find a dietitian in your area, visit adsa.org.za. To get in touch with us, email healthhotline@pnp.co.za.