Explore Namibia’s Exotic Cuisine: Traditional Potjiekos

A Pot of Namibia's Traditional Potjiekos

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

Pouring draft beer by one of Namibia's breweries
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.

Ingredients

  • 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

A pot of Potjiekos cooking in an open fire
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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

Add beef stock so it covers the ingredients, and turn the heat low. Let it simmer with the lid on for about an hour.

A pot of simmering Potjiekos
Step 3

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.