12 Traditional Botswana Food Picks With Easy Unique Recipes

Botswana food might not be the first thing you think of when you think of Botswana. This incredible country in South Africa offers visitors a variety of animal sightings and food to try. Not only are there some amazing dishes to try, but Botswana is also full of culture to immerse yourself in while visiting.

Botswana food tends to not have many seasonings. The most common meat ingredients are beef, mutton, lamb, and chicken. Spinach, potatoes, carrots, and cabbage grow plentifully, as well as peanuts. Watermelon originated in the country, and the Batswana eat and grow it often. Many types of melons are popular sources of food and water for those living in the desert of Botswana.

Sorghum and maize form the basis for many of the meals prepared with local Botswana food. Woodland worms (Mopane Worms) are pulled from Mopane trees, fried, and eaten as a delicacy. They can be found sold by the bag in markets.

Seswaa (Botswana Beef) - 12 Traditional Botswana Food Picks With Easy Unique Recipes

12 Traditional Botswana Food With Easy Unique Recipes

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1. Beef Pumpkin Stew Recipe from Honey and Birch

1. Beef Pumpkin Stew - Botswana food

This beef pumpkin stew recipe is hearty and delicious! Made with pumpkin puree and beef stew meat, it is savory and guaranteed to warm you up. This Botswana food is the perfect savory pumpkin recipe. It combines one of my favorite fall flavors (I want pumpkin everything!!) with beef stew.

I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t like beef stew. For anyone out there who may be scared about combining pumpkin with beef, this is the recipe for you. The pumpkin flavor is subtle thanks to the slow simmer of the stew.

2. Easy Maize Meal Bake from The South African

2. Easy Maize Meal Bake

Serves this Botswana food as a side dish or as meal on its own. You have had a braai and now you have left over maize meal and sheba (tomato and onion relish). So what do you do, you make a bake of course.

This recipe is so fast and easy, and freezes well for when you have unexpected guests or on days you arrive home late from work. Just warm up and enjoy.

3. Oxtail Stew from International Cuisine

3. Oxtail Stew - Botswana food

Oxtail stew is a wonderful main dish. In Botswana it is called mogatla. Cattle are an important income source for many Botswana food choices. They savor the less expensive cuts for special occasions. This is a popular stew made of oxtail. It takes some time to get tender, but well worth the wait, add in the dumplings called matlebekwane and you have a delicious meal.

4. Matlebekwane Botswana Dumplings from International Cuisine

4. Matlebekwane Botswana Dumplings

Botswana Dumplings called matlebekwane are a perfect complement to the oxtail stew called mogatla these dumplings are delicious and filling. Keeping in mind, this is many times the only meal of the day it makes sense that it would be nice and hearty. It really is simple to make and a lovely Botswana food. Enjoy!

5. Lemon and Condensed Milk Biscuits from

5. Lemon and Condensed Milk Biscuits

I am attempting to cook on meal from every nation on Earth, and Botswana food is my 34th dish. Unless otherwise noted, my Travel by Stove recipes are taken from authentic or traditional sources, and this recipe has been posted without any alternations or additions to the ingredients.

This recipe originally appeared in “Mma Ramotswe’s Cookbook.” When I made these I used too little flour, so mine were more like cookies (as pictured in my photo). Yours will be thicker and more biscuit-like.”

6. Xaxaba Diphaphata (Flatbread from Botswana) from Cook With Renu

6. Xaxaba Diphaphata (Flatbread from Botswana)

Xaxaba Diphaphata is a flatbread or stove top muffins from Botswana. This Botswana food is done using minimum ingredients and can be done within 30 minutes. They can be enjoyed in Breakfast, Snack or as a side to your main Course meals.

So I finally hopped on to Srivalli’s blog, who has designed this series of A-Z International flatbreads and she has already done International Flatbreads. So I simply shortlisted this Botswana food and followed her recipe. Reading the description on her blog, I saw that we can add vegetables like spring onion and mushrooms in this.

So I modified her recipe and added some spring onions and some mashed paneer and palak mix (I was preparing another dish from this). The end result was a nice and a colorful stove top muffins or flatbread. I simply enjoyed this as is with a mix of tomato ketchup and red chilly sauce.

Want more ideas to round-out your Recipe Box?
A lot of great options are in these posts!

7. Bostwanan Stewed Spinach Greens from Global Table Adventure

7. Bostwanan Stewed Spinach Greens

I love this easy, no-nonsense, super healthy side dish from Botswana. Simply steam spinach in its own juices until all the vegetables are soft. If you’d like to leave the tomatoes a little firmer, add them half way through cooking.

I did all of the Botswana food ingredients into 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. Look how pretty – you can see the knife through the onion!

8. Pap from Botswana from Foreign Fork

8. Pap from Botswana

One of my favorite memories from the blog so far has been the Angola cookoff that I had with Mama Foreign Fork. Do you remember? If you’ve stuck around for long enough to know what I’m talking about… thank you and I love you.

Basically, Mama Foreign Fork and I made Funje from Angola, which is a staple dish from the country. Funje a mixture of cassava flour and water, and acts as a base for quite a few Angolan meals. Funje wasn’t my favorite dish on the planet, but the experience of cooking it was fun… and now I’m back for more.

Botswana food has a dish very similar to funje called Pap. Instead of being made out of cassava flour and water, though, Pap is made by mixing cornmeal and beef broth. Everything else about the dish is the same.

9. Botswana Pumpkin Soup from 196 Flavors

9. Botswana Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin is an widely consumed vegetable in Botswana food and it is cooked in all forms both savory and sweet. Another popular dish in the country is lephutshi (pumpkin in local dialect). It is composed of pumpkin roasted in a pan with butter, and flavored with cinnamon.

10. Chicken In A Hole from Travel Food Atlas

10. Chicken In A Hole - Botswana food

Chicken in a hole is the Botswana-style of cooking chicken barbecue. A pit is dug to cook a whole chicken covered with cabbage leaves and aluminium foil, hot coals are added to help it cook underground.

Botswana food style chicken in a hole is prepared in traditional fashion. A Botswana host shows a sign of respect and special hospitality if he cooks it for his guests, as it requires to be cooked in a slow-smoking process in a hole in the ground similar to the preparation of Māori Hangi.

It is cooked slowly to make it juicier and more tender. Cooking chicken Botswana-style can also be cooked in a lidded BBQ pit, but not as good and as flavorful as the traditional style of cooking it.

11. Botswana Oregano Bean Salad from Keesha’s Kitchen

11. Botswana Oregano Bean Salad With Garlic Steak Bites

This Botswana oregano bean salad is super filling and makes the perfect quick and easy lunch recipe. It is very versatile, packed with nutrients, and super flavorful too.

When it comes to Botswana’s traditional drinks, they have a famous beer called Bojalwa that goes amazing with this Oregano-Bean Salad. Botswana’s cuisine is unique, but they do share some characteristics with South Africa’s cuisine like vetkoek and pap.

For this Botswana food, mixed beans with oregano blend makes all the difference. In many African dishes, beans are cooked in stews, soups, or mashes; hence, combining a mixture of beans seasoned with fresh or dried oregano makes for an unusual but exciting delicacy. I particularly love to pair this salad with beef chunks.

12. Seswaa (Botswana Beef in a Slow Cooker)
from Foreigh Fork

12. Seswaa (Botswana Beef in a Slow Cooker)

This Beef in a Slow Cooker (Seswaa) from my Botswana food library is so flavorful! Pop it in a crock pot for 4.5 hours and you’ll have yourself a delicious stew. You can also customize it with your choice of vegetables! Seswaa is a dish famous in Botswana made from beef, water, and onions.

Botswana food does not have a not a lot of seasonings are used in their dishes, so typically the Batswana add either no seasonings or just a bit of black pepper to their Seswaa.

Seswaa is cooked on a three-legged pot over an open fire. This is the Batswana version of a slow cooker! The meat is added to this pot and is left to bake over the fire for hours until it becomes so tender that when the Batswana mix it up with an oar, the meat falls apart instantly.

This Botswana food is a ceremonial dish in Batswana and is made often for weddings and celebrations. It typically is paired with Pap as well, a cornmeal porridge that acts as a base with which to eat your Seswaa.

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