If you’ve ever tried African cuisine before, or have at least researched the topic, you know that most traditional dishes came as a result of several countries trading, colonizing, or simply passing through the continent. Of course, each African country has its unique cuisine and variations of the most popular recipes, but there is one particular dish that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s Namibia’s flavorful Potjiekos.
Namibia: An Unexpected Crossover of Flavors, Spices… & Beer
At the far down section of the southern hemisphere, the beautiful country of Namibia is home to a certain German influence. It finds its expression in virtually all mealtimes in the country – from breakfast and dinner, all the way to craft beer. Yep, you read that right. Namibia follows the German purity Law from 1516 that stipulates beer should only contain wheat, barley, or hops. This takes Namibia’s brewing mastery to a whole new level. In terms of food, a bowl of potjiekos is the perfect way to pamper your taste buds and get an intricate taste of Africa.
- 3 lb lamb stew, cubed
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 lb baby potatoes
- 1 lb small carrots
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 3 cups beef stock
- 1 cup red wine
- ½ cup milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
How to Make Traditional Namibian Potjiekos
Potjiekos is a one-pot stew that’s typically cooked in a cast iron pot (called potjie) over an open fire. To prepare it, you need to start with the meat.
Place the lamb in a potjie pot filled with hot oil, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat until it starts to brown. Remove the meat from the pot and place the onions in its place. Sauté for about 8 minutes and then return the lamb in the pot.
Add beef stock so it covers the ingredients, and turn the heat low. Let it simmer with the lid on for about an hour.
Then, add the potatoes and carrots and continue simmering for another half hour. Mix the curry powder, turmeric, and sugar with the milk and stir the mixture into the strew. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 30 more minutes. Serve the potjiekos with mieliepap (maize porridge) or rice.
A Chef’s Grand-Scale Inspiring Effort to Feed His Native India
The year 2020 was certainly a rough one for the entire world and all its countries, and India is no exception. Recent events have left millions of people in poverty and without the basic means to survive. That is why Michelin star chef, film director, and author, Vikas Khanna started and is still managing the campaign called #FeedIndia.
Feeding Millions in India
With 400 million people in his home country being forced into poverty, Khanna decided that something must be done in order to help his people persevere through these hard times. Using the leverage granted by his fame back home, he made a coalition of food distributors, cooks, and even bureaucrats to help him start feeding the people. Khanna explains that this isn’t done through donations of money but that people who are in the position to help, such as food production and distribution companies as well as wealthy individuals, can have important ingredients, such as rice, sent to the satellite kitchens that have been set up throughout the country. So far, over 50 million meals have been served in orphanages, shelters, and even gas stations by roads where people are walking to work.
An Act of Kindness and Duty
Khanna has classical, French training and combines those skills with the iconic flavors of India that he learned from his grandmother. He says that a chef should be able to understand hunger on a deeper level, to find a solution and do something about it. From half the world away, this chef managed to mobilize an army that was able to set up kitchens within 6 hours of the beginning of the initiative and begin serving food within 8 hours. He put every other plan for his cooking empire aside and remains focused on this altruistic mission. Khanna said that he’s following the words of his mother that it’s his duty to feed his people because all his training and awards have put him in a position to make a difference.