Short-rib potjiekos

This recipe is from Afrikaans food icon Peter Veldsman’s 1980s cookbook. The dried fruit cooks away to leave a tangy sweet sauce that cuts through the fattiness of the fall-off-the-bone meat.

More than 1 hour

Serves 6-8

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Spice mix:
  • 3 Tbsp (45ml) ground coriander
  • 2 tsp (10ml) cumin seeds, toasted
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (5ml) each ground ginger, mustard seeds and turmeric
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 sprig fresh curry leaves (optional)

  • Salt and milled pepper 
  • 2kg beef short-ribs 
  • Glug canola oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 3cm knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 red chillies, whole (or halved if you prefer it hotter)
  • 3 cups (750ml) beef stock
  • 200-300g dried fruit (such as sultanas, Turkish apricots or prunes), halved 
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and grated 
  • ½ cup (125ml) desiccated coconut
  • Cooked rice and chopped parsley, for serving


  1. Combine spices and crush using a pestle and mortar.
  2. Season meat.
  3. Heat oil in a cast-iron potjie and brown meat in batches.
  4. Remove and set aside. 
  5. Sauté onion in potjie for 8-10 minutes. 
  6. Add crushed spices, garlic, ginger and chilli, and fry for 2-3 minutes. 
  7. Return meat to potjie and top up with stock. Season.
  8. Simmer over a medium heat for 1 hour.
  9. Add dried fruit, apple and coconut, and simmer for another hour. (It’s ready when the meat is tender and falling off the bone, and the sauce has thickened.) 
  10. Serve potjiekos on a bed of rice and garnish with parsley.


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