Traditional African Biltong Stew

Author: Freda Muyambo -

Traditional African Biltong Stew

Biltong is a much loved South African delicacy made with dry-cured beef or game meat and flavored with spices such as whole coriander seeds. The spicing of biltong has been attributed as a Dutch invention, however, the act of drying meat as a form of preservation has been practiced in Africa for centuries and is still the case presently. It is most useful, even today, in regions which are deprived of electric power for refrigeration. Hence when a meat stew is made in these areas, it is quite typical to use dried meat or biltong with a little peanut butter to make a stew.

The addition of peanut butter to enrich the stew is most likely done because the meat is not normally affordable, therefore another source of protein is sought to supplement that which would have otherwise been consumed from the meat.

Making this stew is easy because all of the ingredients can be consumed as is, therefore not much cooking time is required. On the other hand, this stew may not be a suitable home staple for practical reasons, as biltong is quite expensive. If you don't want to spend that much money, you can still make this stew. Just use chicken breast and 2 strips of smoked bacon to enhance the flavor. If you like the idea of a peanut stew, try ​maafe, a peanut butter soup.

This is best served with polenta and a side of green vegetables. Traditionally, it is served with sadza and cabbage as pictured.


  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 11 ounces thick-cut biltong
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ginger (freshly grated)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tomatoes (chopped)
  • Optional: cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup water

Steps to Make It

Gather the ingredients.


In a large pan over medium high-heat, fry the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger in the oil for a couple of minutes, or until translucent.


Add the biltong and saute for 30 seconds.


Add the tomato puree and peanut butter and stir to coat.


Add the chopped tomatoes and cayenne pepper (if using), and cook for 5 minutes until slightly reduced. Pour in the water and simmer for 10 minutes until the stew has reduced to a thick sauce.

Leave a comment