South African Recipes

Chicken Potjie | A South African Braai Classic

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Dive into a South African culinary journey with the ever-loved Chicken Potjie. This slow-cooked, layered dish brims with flavour, making every meal a festive occasion.

chicken potjie in traditional potjie pot

Chicken Potjie

Matthew Rolfe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine South African
Servings 4 people


  • 1 Potjie pot (If you don't have one, a Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed pot will work too)
  • 1 Wooden spoon
  • Measuring spoons and cups (Estimated measurements will do in a pinch)
  • 1 Cutting board and knife


  • 1 kg chicken pieces (A mix of thighs and drumsticks is just perfect)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • fresh parsley (for garnishing)
  • 4 cups cooked rice


  • Heat things up: Start by heating the vegetable oil in your potjie pot (or alternative) over medium heat.
  • Chicken in the mix: Add the chicken pieces and brown them nicely on all sides. Once done, take them out and set them aside.
  • Flavour base: Next, sauté the onions and garlic in the same pot until the onions turn translucent.
  • Spice is nice: Add the curry powder and ground coriander, stirring well to coat the onions and garlic.
  • Chicken returns: Pop the browned chicken pieces back into the pot, stirring to ensure they're covered in the spice mix.
  • Veggie time: Layer the carrots, potatoes, and bell pepper on top of the chicken.
  • Saucy touch: Pour over the chopped tomatoes and chicken broth.
  • Simmer and enjoy: Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 2 hours. Resist the urge to stir - the layered effect is part of the potjie charm!
  • Season's greetings: Add salt and pepper to taste, giving the pot a gentle stir.
  • Serve it up: Dish up your beautiful chicken potjie with some rice, garnishing each serving with fresh parsley.
Keyword Chicken Potjie

chicken potjie in a ceramic pot

Tips and Tricks:

Mastering the art of potjie isn’t tricky; it just requires a dash of patience and a generous dollop of love. When it comes to layering, keep it firm – potatoes at the bottom, then your meat, and vegetables on top. Remember, the magic of potjie is in the slow simmer; no stirring allowed after the lid goes on! The best advice? Pour yourself a drink, chat with friends, and let the potjie pot do the rest.

Recipe Heritage:

Chicken Potjie, like most potjiekos (literally ‘small pot food’), traces its origins to the Dutch settlers, the Voortrekkers, who journeyed across South Africa in the 1800s. It’s believed that the necessity to cook one-pot meals over open fires during their travels gave birth to this culinary tradition. This bit of history, however, is often lovingly disputed, with other South African communities also laying claim. True or not, these tales add a dash of intrigue to our cooking pot!

Best Occasions to serve Chicken Potjie:

Potjie isn’t just about the food; it’s about the shared experience, the long, leisurely cooking process that encourages conversation and camaraderie. So, whether it’s a weekend braai, a holiday get-together, or a cosy family dinner, Chicken Potjie fits right in. Winter nights? Your potjie is your warm hug in a bowl. Outdoor summer gathering? Nothing like a potjie bubbling away on the fire. Anytime you want a meal to remember, this dish delivers. After all, it isn’t just a pot of food; it’s a pot of love!

Recipes and sides that go well with Chicken Potjie

  • South African Yellow Rice: Often served with bobotie, but its sweet taste compliments the spicy potjie perfectly.
  • Homemade Bread Rolls: Freshly baked bread is always a winner to mop up those delicious juices.
  • Green Salad: A simple mixed green salad will add a nice contrast to the rich potjie.
  • Chakalaka: This spicy vegetable relish brings a nice kick to the mild chicken potjie.
  • Braai Broodjies: These grilled sandwiches are a staple at any South African braai and go great with potjie.

Other similar recipes / alternatives

  • Lamb Potjie: Swap the chicken for lamb, and you’ll have a whole new delicious potjie experience.
  • Beef and Vegetable Potjie: This variant will take your potjie game up a notch, using a rich beef cut and assortment of vegetables.

Ingredient alternatives

  • You can replace the chicken with turkey for a leaner meat option.
  • For a vegetarian version, substitute chicken with hearty vegetables like butternut squash and aubergine, and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Nutritional facts

(Assuming 4 servings)

  • Calories: Approx. 500 per serving
  • Protein: 38g
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fat: 20g
  • Fiber: 7g
  • Sugar: 8g

Please note: Nutritional values can vary greatly depending on specific ingredient brands and preparation methods.

Troubleshooting (common problems)

  • Potjie is dry: If your potjie is looking dry, add some more broth but avoid stirring, as the layers are important to a good potjie.
  • Not flavourful enough: Remember, the flavours deepen over time. Slow cooking is key, and don’t forget to season well to bring out the flavours.
  • Vegetables are overcooked: Remember to layer your potjie correctly – tougher veggies at the bottom, more delicate ones on top. This ensures everything cooks evenly.

Enjoy this lekker Chicken Potjie, my friends. Remember, potjie is not only about the end product but also about the experience of making it! Happy cooking!

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