Jan Braai's Katemba Potjie

Jan Braai's Katemba Potjie

Total Time: 3 Hours

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Cook Time: 2.5 Hours

Servings: 4 People

Suitable For: Cold winter dinner


Rich, hearty, and warm. This potjie is not your usual meat and veg, Jan Braai says “In Southern Africa, especially in our neighboring country of Namibia, there exists a strange yet common habit of mixing red wine with Coke and drinking that for pleasure. It’s called katemba and this phenomenon can also be experienced in other countries with similar climates to that of Namibia like Spain where it’s called kalimotxo. In this recipe, I changed the coke to ginger ale and it works just as well! While you may frown upon this at first, the fact of the matter is that this is a flavour combination that works very well, especially in a potjie with the meat Namibia is famous for, beef! I like to use a cut like chuck steak for this meal as it has a lot of flavour, can stand up to cooking for a while, and the intramuscular fat means the meat does not dry out too much.”


1.5 kg chuck steak (deboned and in cubes)

1 tot olive oil

2 onions (chopped)

2 cloves garlic (chopped)

1 tot paprika

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

2 tomatoes (chopped)

1 tot tomato paste

1 tin Fitch&Leeds Ginger Ale (or use 1 cup Coke)

1 cup red wine

sour cream (optional, for serving; a tub/cup is more than enough)

fresh bread (for serving)

fresh chopped herbs (for serving, basil/parsley/rocket/coriander will all do the trick


  1. Heat the oil in a potjie and fry half of the meat for a minute or two. You literally just want to sear each piece a bit. You don’t need to cook the meat and you don’t need to sear it on all sides. Remove the meat from the potjie and repeat with the other half. When the second batch is done, all the meat can go and wait in a covered bowl or plate for reintroduction to the meal later on.
  2. Fry the onions in the potjie for about 4 minutes until they start to soften, then throw in the garlic. Onions take longer to cook than garlic, so always fry onions before adding the garlic. This is general advice and doesn’t apply only to this recipe.
  3. Add to the potjie all the seared beef cubes from step 1, the paprika, chilli powder, salt, and pepper. Toss everything around for a minute.
  4. Now add the tomatoes, tomato paste,  Ginger ale, and red wine, and mix to combine them all. Bring to a boil and then simmer over low coals. You want a very gentle simmer.
  5. Ideally you want it to bubble very gently for 1 hour – at that point remove the lid and let it continue to simmer until you are happy with the consistency of the sauce. This might take, for example, another 30 minutes. Keep in mind that as soon as you think the sauce is thick enough, the meal is ready to serve. If your fire is very hot or the lid of your potjie does not fit very well, this might happen sooner rather than later so pay close attention. If you’re in a hurry, add more heat to the bottom of the potjie to make it boil more rapidly and reduce quicker.
  6. Whenever you are happy with the sauce, take the potjie off the fire and let it stand for a few minutes. Serve with chunks of fresh bread toasted on the fire and dollops of sour cream.
  7. If you have something fresh like parsley, basil, rocket, or coriander growing in the garden, garnish with that at the end.


Tip 01 Tip 01

Serve with samp, rice or fresh bread.

Tip 02 Tip 02

If you can’t find beef chuck, you can substitute with any beef stew meat or even lamb. 

Tip 03 Tip 03

If you don’t have ginger ale, use cola as the base of the sauce.