A shred of tradition: tshotlho with a spicy twist

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A shred of tradition: tshotlho with a spicy twist

In winter Lesego Semenya turns to tshotlho, a childhood classic often served at weddings (and funerals), which, cooked low and slow, turns tougher cuts of meat into something special.

When we were growing up, my brother Kagiso and I would get excited when our family attended a wedding (or even a funeral) because this meant we’d get the chance to eat certain meaty dishes. Contrary to popular belief, the typical sub-Saharan African diet is predominantly vegetarian, with meat eaten only on special occasions. One of the dishes we looked forward to the most was tshotlho.

Tshotlho refers to a method of cooking meat, usually cuts with stringy muscles, after it has been freshly slaughtered. The traditional way is to simply cook the meat in salted water in a potjie on an open fire, but it can also be made in an oven. The meat is then pounded and pulled or shredded. At funerals, you’ll often see plates piled high with tshotlho and ting. I shared a recipe for ting ya mabele in TASTE’s May/June issue, where I wrote about how we used to eat it for breakfast.

But, like mielie meal, ting is versatile and is often served as a starch with savoury meals. Its distinct sour, fermented flavour works particularly well with meat dishes and it’s traditionally served with tshotlho. Here, I’ve put a spin on the traditional recipe by making use of spices and a rub.

Find the recipe for spicy tshotlho here

Lesego Semenya Article by: Lesego Semenya

The late, great Lesego Semenya aka Les da Chef was famous for his braai skills, devotion to heritage recipes and ingredients, and as a television host. He was the author of "Dijo: My food, my journey", a regular columnist for the TASTE magazine and host of TASTETube videos.

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