Botswana flag

Unusual Fact: According to a report in 2007 there are more African elephants in Botswana than anywhere else

Elephants in Botswana - Express
Elephants in Botswana – Express

After a rejuvenating holiday, we are starting off 2014 with Botswana.

There was four parts to this meal. Cornmeal Pap, Beef and Lemon Casserole, Stewed Spinach Greens and a Heuningkoek or Southern African Honey Cake.

Firstly with the Cornmeal Pap. This recipe was from Global Table Adventure. Cornmeal is not very readily available in Australia. For this recipe cornflour will not work as it will turn into glue. What we used instead of Cornmeal is Polenta. It is similar as cornmeal and is more finely ground.


When cooked this Polenta Pap is delicious. I cooked it with Vegetable stock and it was the perfect saltiness at the end. It balanced the casserole perfectly. In Botswana they will often have porridges made out of sorghum flour, or paps made out of mealie, cornmeal or in our case polenta. These are often served as accompaniments for casseroles or stews. I would suggest to eat this pap as soon as you can after cooking because it stiffens up very quickly. I had to add more water during and after cooking to loosen it up. If you allow to polenta to harden over night, the next day you can make polenta chips by forming the polenta into shapes that you like and frying in butter or oil.

Botswana - DS Lands
Botswana – DS Lands

For a healthy side of Botswana we had these Botswana Stewed Spinach Greens. This recipe is also from Global Table Adventure . These were delicious as well. We used a little extra spinach (about 30g extra) but I didn’t feel as though it was overloaded with spinach. There was a nice balance with all of the vegetables everything. It was very simple and quick to make. Add the spinach a little at a time leaving a few minutes between each batch to allow for the one before to wilt.

All that spinach

For the third part of the main meal we had Beef and Lemon Casserole. I am not sure how traditional this recipe is for Botswana. I believe that they eat a lot of meat and water stews in Botswana, so this one fits right in. The recipe is from Celtnet. This stew was very easy to make. I made it so that there was two layers of beef with one layer of onion and lemon in between. In the step of adding the flour and water slurry, we ended up adding 4tbs of flour and the appropriate amount of water. On top of that we also remove two cups of water before hand. It was still quite runny. What you do all depends on how big your pot is and your person preferences. At the end of cooking you can taste the bitterness of the lemon rind, but behind that there is the lovely flavour of the lemon flesh.

Layering the casserole

Finally for dessert we had Heuningkoek or Southern African Honey Cake. This cake was delicious. It was really really good. The sauce and the cake complemented each other perfectly. It was best straight out of the oven when the top is still crispy. Dad had about three helpings. Mum, Angus and I each had two. Our cake took about 35minutes to cook rather than the said 20. The recipe was from Yummly.

Overall this was a delicious country to cook from. I would happily eat all of these again.

Cornmeal Pap

Mum 9 “creamy and delicious”

Dad 8 “Smooth texture and a very accompaniment tot the beef stew”

Angus 8 “yummy but a little bit bitter”

Me 8 “Perfect saltiness”

Stewed Spinach Greens

Mum 9 “love my veggies”

Dad 8.9 “a very healthy alternative as there are no additives at all, even oil is excluded”

Angus 8.5 “a dressing would be nice with this”

Me 8 “Perfect with the pap and casserole”

Beef and Lemon Casserole

Mum 7 “surprisingly tasty for so ingredients”

Dad 9 “meat was very tender and wholesome”

Angus 5 “meat was fatty and stingy”

Me 7 “Lovely lemon flavour”

Honey Cake

Mum 10 “dessert perfection”

Dad 9.5 “a very satisfying dessert for any occaison (I had three pieces and some the next day!)”

Angus 9 and three quater “Hagrid where are you”

Me 9 “Perfect crispy top”


Stewed Spinach Greens


1 lb baby spinach
1 large onion, sliced thinly
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 green pepper, sliced thinly


1. Add all ingredients to  a large skillet or wok. Cover and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until all vegetables are soft. Serve hot.


The thinner the onion, the quicker it will cook and become tender.

Beef and Lemon Casserole


1kg segwopa, or 1.5kg beef shin cut into strips

1 large, unwaxed, lemon, thinly sliced (remove any pips)

1 large onion, sliced into thin rings

200ml water

salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

oil for frying

1 tbsp plain flour

Method: Heat a large frying pan, add some oil and if you are using fresh beef add to the pan and fry until browned on both sides. Layer the beef into a casserole dish, separating each layer of beef with a layer of mixed onion and lemon slices. Pour in enough water to just cover the meat and season liberally with salt and black pepper. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and transfer to an oven pre-heated to 160°C. Bake for about 90 minutes, or until the beef is very tender. Remove from the oven then mix the 1 tbsp plain flour with 2 tbsp water to a smooth slurry. Stir this into the casserole (it will help thicken the gravy). Return to the oven and cook for a further 15 minutes. Serve hot accompanied by rice or mealie pap.

Cornmeal Pap


1 cup cornmeal (fine or medium grind is best) or polenta
1 quart stock (vegetable, chicken, or beef)


1. In a medium pot, bring stock to a boil.

2. Stream in cornmeal slowly. Whisk continually to keep mixture from lumping.

3. As mixture thickens, you may need to switch to a wooden spoon. Allow to simmer gently until cooked to desired consistency, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately (Pap stiffens up considerably as it cools).

The final dish


Honey Cake


  • 1 1/2 cup(s) self-rising flour
  • 1/3 cup(s) butter melted
  • 1 cup(s) sugar
  • 1 pinch(s) salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup(s) milk
  • 1/2 cup(s) honey hot ( for sauce)
  • 1/2 cup(s) butter hot ( for sauce)


    1. Mix first 6 ingredients together – the last two are needed for the sauce.
    2. Put in oven-safe glass/pyrex dish in oven for 20 minutes at 350 F/180 C (until light brown)
    3. Prepare the sauce (.5 cup honey and .5 cup butter) in the mean time to almost boiling point – try to have it ready when cake is done.
    1. Quickly prick cake with fork to absorb the hot honey sauce and pour the souece evenly over the cake.


  1. If able to resist let it cool down first.

Honey Cake

5 thoughts on “Botswana

  1. Hi Elly – after reading my cousin’s comment on your Botswanan honey cake I’ve been very keen to give it a try. Made it last weekend on a chilly Sunday night in Sydney. It looked so tempting coming out of the oven piping hot that I ate an enormous bowlful! Pretty simple to make too. Nice one!

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