South Africa, with its rich cultural diversity and vibrant culinary heritage, offers a delightful array of budget-friendly holiday recipes that are perfect for celebrations. Whether you are hosting a festive gathering or simply looking to add a South African flair to your holiday table, these holiday recipes are sure to please you without breaking the bank.

    Must-Have Holiday Recipes this December

    1. Samoosas

    Samoosas, a beloved and savory South African treat, offer a burst of flavor in every bite and are perfect for delighting guests as a tantalizing appetizer while you prepare more tasty holiday recipes. Served alongside an array of chutneys, such as sweet mango chutney or refreshing mint sauce, samoosas make for a delicious prelude to the main course, setting the stage for a memorable culinary experience.


    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup ghee or vegetable oil
    • Water, as needed
    • 1 cup minced meat (chicken, beef, or lamb)
    • 1 cup finely chopped onions
    • 1 cup finely chopped potatoes
    • 1 cup frozen peas
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
    • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
    • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder (adjust to taste)
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Spring roll or samosa wrappers


    1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and ghee. Gradually add water and knead until a firm dough is formed. Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes.
    2. In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add onions and sauté until golden brown.
    3. Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute.
    4. Add minced meat, ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Cook until the meat is browned.
    5. Add chopped potatoes and peas. Cook until the potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and let the filling cool.
    6. Roll the dough into small balls and then into thin circles.
    7. Cut each circle in half to form semi-circles.
    8. Fold each semi-circle into a cone shape, sealing the edges with a little water.
    9. Fill each cone with the meat and vegetable mixture, then seal the open edge to form a triangle.
    10. Deep-fry the samoosas until golden brown and crispy.

    2. Bobotie

    Bobotie is a classic South African dish with a rich and flavorful mince base topped with a golden custard is a must-have in your holiday recipes list. To make this budget-friendly version, use ground beef. The spices, including curry powder and turmeric, add an aromatic touch. Serve it with rice or mashed potatoes for a filling and satisfying holiday recipe.


    • 1 kg ground beef
    • 2 slices of bread, soaked in milk
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 2 tbsp curry powder
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • 2 tbsp chutney
    • 2 tbsp apricot jam
    • 1 cup milk
    • 3 eggs
    • Salt and pepper to taste


    1. Soak the bread in the milk and mash it.
    2. Fry the onions and garlic until soft.
    3. Add the ground meat and brown.
    4. Mix in the curry powder, jam, chutney, and raisins.
    5. Season with salt and pepper.
    6. Place the mixture in a baking dish.
    7. Beat the eggs and pour them over the meat.
    8. Bake at 180°C (350°F) for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden.

    3. Potjiekos:

    Potjiekos, a traditional South African dish, is a celebration of slow-cooked flavors. This communal cooking style, often done outdoors, brings people together as they patiently wait for the ingredients to meld into a hearty and flavorful stew. Potjiekos is not just an item on your holiday recipe essentials; it is an experience that embodies the spirit of sharing and enjoying good food with loved ones.


      • 500g beef or lamb stewing meat
      • 2 onions, chopped
      • 2 carrots, sliced
      • 2 potatoes, cubed
      • 1 cup butternut, cubed
      • 1 cup green beans, chopped
      • 2 tomatoes, chopped
      • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
      • 2 cups beef or vegetable broth
      • 1 tablespoon curry powder
      • Salt and pepper to taste


        1. Layer the ingredients in a potjie (a three-legged pot).
        2. Mix the curry powder with the broth and pour it over the ingredients.
        3. Cook over medium heat for about 2-3 hours until the meat is tender and the vegetables are cooked.

    4. Steamed Bread (Dumplings)

    Complementing the hearty Potjiekos with a side of Steamed Bread (Dumplings) adds an extra layer of authenticity to your South African-inspired feast. These dumplings serve not only as a delightful accompaniment but also as vessels for soaking up the savory juices and flavors of the main course.


    • 2 cups maize meal
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 2 tablespoons melted butter


    1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the maize meal, flour, baking powder, and salt.
    2. Add the buttermilk and melted butter to the dry ingredients, mixing well to form a dough.
    3. Roll the dough into small balls, about the size of golf balls.
    4. Place the dumplings on a steamer rack, leaving space between each to allow for expansion.
    5. Steam the dumplings over boiling water for 20-25 minutes or until they are cooked through and have a firm texture.

    5. Malva Pudding

    End your meal with a classic Malva pudding. Made with budget-friendly ingredients, this sweet, sticky sponge cake served with custard or ice cream will leave your guests with satisfied smiles.

    • Ingredients:
      • 1 cup sugar
      • 1 cup flour
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • Pinch of salt
      • 1 tablespoon apricot jam
      • 1 tablespoon vinegar
      • 1 cup milk
      • 1 egg
    • Sauce:
      • 1 cup cream
      • 1/2 cup butter
      • 1 cup sugar
    • Instructions:
      1. Mix all the pudding ingredients together and pour into a greased baking dish.
      2. Bake at 180°C (350°F) for 30-40 minutes until golden and set.
      3. For the sauce, heat the cream, butter, and sugar until melted.
      4. Pour the hot sauce over the hot pudding when it comes out of the oven.
      5. Allow the pudding to soak up the sauce before serving.

    Additional Holiday Recipes for Side Dishes:

    6. Chakalaka Salad

      • Ingredients:
        • 2 cups canned baked beans
        • 1 onion, finely chopped
        • 1 bell pepper, diced
        • 1 carrot, grated
        • 1 tomato, diced
        • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
        • 1 tablespoon curry powder
        • 1 teaspoon paprika
        • Salt and pepper to taste
      • Instructions:
        1. In a pan, sauté the onions in vegetable oil until soft.
        2. Add curry powder and paprika, stirring for an additional minute.
        3. Add baked beans, bell pepper, carrot, and tomato. Cook until vegetables are tender.
        4. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chilled.

    7. Cape Malay Pickled Fish Salad

    • Ingredients:
      • 2 cups pickled fish, flaked (traditional Cape Malay pickled fish or store-bought)
      • 1 cup mixed salad greens
      • 1 cup cucumber, sliced
      • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
      • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced
      • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
      • Dressing: 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon honey, salt, and pepper to taste
    • Instructions:
      1. In a large bowl, combine the pickled fish, salad greens, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, and red onion.
      2. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper.
      3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently. Allow the flavors to meld before serving.

    8. Biltong Salad

    • Ingredients:
      • Mixed salad greens (lettuce, spinach, arugula)
      • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
      • 1 cucumber, sliced
      • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
      • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
      • 1/2 cup biltong (dried, cured meat, thinly sliced)
      • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing
      • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Instructions:
      1. Toss the salad greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and feta cheese in a large bowl.
      2. Add the biltong on top.
      3. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
      4. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

    South African Delicacies Holiday Recipes:

    9. Boerewors Rolls

      • Ingredients:
        • Boerewors sausages
        • Hotdog rolls
        • Tomato and onion relish
        • Mustard
      • Instructions:
        1. Grill the boerewors sausages as per the instructions mentioned earlier.
        2. Warm the hotdog rolls on the grill or in the oven.
        3. Place the grilled boerewors in the rolls.
        4. Top with tomato and onion relish and drizzle with mustard.
        5. Serve hot.

    10. Prego Rolls

          • Ingredients:
            • 1 kg beef or chicken steak, thinly sliced
            • 4 Portuguese rolls
            • 4 cloves garlic, minced
            • 1 teaspoon paprika
            • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
            • Salt and pepper to taste
            • Olive oil
            • Lemon wedges for serving
          • Instructions:
            1. Mix garlic, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, and olive oil to form a marinade.
            2. Marinate the sliced steak for at least 30 minutes.
            3. Grill the steak slices until cooked to your liking.
            4. Toast the Portuguese rolls.
            5. Place the grilled steak in the rolls and serve with lemon wedges.

    11. Melktert (Milk Tart)

      • Ingredients:
        • 2 cups milk
        • 2 tablespoons butter
        • 1 cup sugar
        • 3 large eggs
        • 1 cup all-purpose flour
        • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
        • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        • Cinnamon for dusting
      • Instructions:
        1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
        2. In a saucepan, heat the milk and butter until the butter melts.
        3. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, flour, and cornstarch.
        4. Gradually add the milk mixture to the egg mixture, whisking continuously.
        5. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat until it thickens.
        6. Stir in vanilla extract.
        7. Pour the mixture into a pre-baked pie crust.
        8. Bake for 25-30 minutes until set.
        9. Dust with cinnamon before serving.

    12. Koeksisters

      • Ingredients:
        • 4 cups flour
        • 1 teaspoon baking powder
        • 1/4 teaspoon salt
        • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
        • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
        • 1 tablespoon butter
        • 1 cup buttermilk
        • Vegetable oil for frying
        • 2 cups sugar
        • 1 cup water
        • 1 cinnamon stick
      • Instructions:
        1. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
        2. Rub in the butter.
        3. Add buttermilk to form a soft dough.
        4. Roll the dough out and cut into strips.
        5. Twist each strip and fry until golden brown.
        6. In a separate saucepan, heat sugar, water, and a cinnamon stick to make a syrup.
        7. Dip the fried koeksisters into the syrup.

    13. Frikadelle (South African Meatballs):

      • Ingredients:
        • 500g ground beef
        • 1 onion, finely chopped
        • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
        • 1/4 cup milk
        • 1 egg
        • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
        • Salt and pepper to taste
        • Vegetable oil for frying
      • Instructions:
        1. In a bowl, combine ground beef, chopped onion, breadcrumbs, milk, egg, parsley, salt, and pepper.
        2. Shape the mixture into meatballs.
        3. Heat vegetable oil in a pan and fry the meatballs until golden brown and cooked through.
        4. Serve hot.

    Where to Source South African Ingredients

    To gather ingredients for these exciting holiday recipes, start by exploring local grocery stores, supermarkets, and markets for fresh produce, meat, and pantry essentials. For unique South African items like Boerewors, Biltong, or Melktert, seek out specialty stores dedicated to South African cuisine. Local butchers are excellent for quality meats, including Boerewors sausages. Farmers’ markets offer fresh, locally sourced produce, while bakeries may have pre-made crusts and fresh bread rolls. Specialty alcohol stores are ideal for Amarula Cream Liqueur or South African wines.

    Paring Drinks

    Rooibos Punch: To wash down these delicious holiday recipes, brew a strong pot of rooibos tea and let it cool. Mix with fruit juices such as orange and pineapple. Add slices of citrus fruits for extra freshness.

    Amarula Cream Liqueur: Serve this South African cream liqueur over ice as a sweet and indulgent after-dinner drink.

    South African Wine: Pair your delicious holiday recipes with a bottle of South African wine. A Chenin Blanc or Pinotage would complement the diverse flavours of the feast.


    Dining alone this festive season and looking for extra income? Why not make these mouth-watering holiday recipes to sell in your community? Good food brings people together, and with these budget-friendly holiday recipes, you are sure to create fond memories without burning a hole in your pocket.



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