Heritage with a twist!

Heritage Day, Shaka Day, Braai Day or whatever you chose to commemorate 24 September, South Africans comes alive during Heritage Month. In a country with 11 different official languages, the great diversity of cultures, beliefs, and traditions, Food plays a huge part in bringing our nation together.

If you’re looking for something traditional with a twist, Executive Chef of the Royal Palm Hotel, Qhawe Tshabalala, gives us his go-to recipe and dessert for heritage day.

For those meat loving South Africans, the Zulu traditional Dombolo (dumplings) and Oxtail stew will definitely tickle your taste buds.

iDombolo and Oxtail Stew

Ingredients for iDombolo:

  • 270 g flour
  • 50 g bran
  • 3 ½ t baking powder
  • ½ t salt
  • 2 T butter
  • ¾ cup milk

Ingredients for Oxtail stew:

  • 5kg oxtail cut into pieces
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 T garlic-and-herb seasoning
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 2 t chermoula spice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 125 g bacon, cut into pieces
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated or crushed
  • 1 green pepper, cored and diced
  • 4 leeks, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 6 T tomato paste
  • 4 cups beef stock (or enough to cover)


  1. Mix flour with the garlic-and-herb seasoning, thyme, chermoula and seasoning.
  2. Toss the oxtail in the seasoned flour until it is well coated.
  3. Heat the oil and butter in a pan and seal the oxtail until slightly golden.
  4. Add the bacon and cook for 2 minutes over a high heat to render some of its fat, stirring continually.
  5. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and leeks and cook for 5 minutes until the vegetables are slightly soft.
  6. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Cover the beef stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1 ½ hours, or until soft. The gravy should also have thickened.

For iDombolo:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together, then rub into the butter.
  2. Add the milk and knead to form a dough.
  3. Divide into 8-10 portions and shape into balls.
  4. Drop the dumplings into the oxtail, cover and cook at a low heat for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with your choice of vegetables.

Traditional Koeksisters


  • 2 cups Cake Flour
  • 4 t Baking Powder
  • ½ t Salt
  • 5 t Butter
  • ½ cup Sour Milk OR Buttermilk OR Water and Lemon Juice
  • Oil, for frying

Ingredients for the Syrup:

  • 1 kg White Sugar
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 pieces of Ginger, bruised
  • 2 ml Cream of Tartar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Grated rind and juice of ½ a Lemon


  1. Sift together the dry ingredients and rub in the butter using your fingertips, or cut it in with a pastry blender.
  2. Mix with the liquid to a soft dough, which can easily be kneaded. Use more liquid if necessary.
  3. Knead thoroughly until small bubbles form under the surface of the dough, cover with a damp cloth and allow to stand for 15 minutes.
  4. Roll to a thickness of 5 mm and cut into 5 mm strips 7 cm long. Place the ends of three strips on top of the other, press together and plait. When plaited, press the ends together again.
  5. Fry in hot, deep fat (170°C) until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper for a moment and then immerse in ice cold syrup.
  6. Remove, allow excess syrup to drip off, and leave to dry on a wire rack.

Method for the Syrup:

  1. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan. Heat, while stirring, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Cover and boil for one minute.
  2. Remove the lid and boil for a further 5 minutes. Do not stir.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool thoroughly in a refrigerator if possible.

However, you choose to celebrate, we wish you a happy Heritage Day!