South African Curried Mince

Curried Mince is a South African staple. Every cook makes it their own way, no 2 taste alike, and secret ingredients are everywhere. This mince takes a while to make, but is worth it, because not only is it a comforting dish, it can be eaten in many different ways as leftovers, and gets better in the fridge the longer it stays. You can double/halve the recipe and freeze containers of it as well.

I like to eat it on rice, the traditional way, but it’s also great on toast, or stuffed into a ‘vetkoek’ which is a deep-fried piece of bread dough. One new way I have been eating it lately is to make a quesadilla out of it, along with fresh spinach and lots of cheese. Delicious.

You don’t have to add in the vegetables (potatoes, carrots and peas) if you just want a basic mince. In that case omit the stock/water, and it doesn’t have to cook as long. I actually ran out of frozen peas (the horror!) so there aren’t any in the pictures. I do recommend stirring some in, as it adds another pop of sweetness to the dish.

Get ready to raid your spice cabinet:

  • 2 large onions, chopped or sliced into rings (traditional way)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • teaspoon or so of oil  – canola or olive
  • 1 KG extra lean ground beef (if using lean, cook first and drain fat)
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 TB Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 TB curry powder (I use mild)
  • 1 tsp EACH cumin, coriander, ginger
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • Bay Leaf
  • Cinnamon Stick
  • 2 cups Beef stock or water (I use boiling water and liquid stock concentrate)
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 TB brown sugar
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chutney (if you are using a chunky homemade chutney like I do, increase the amount to a 1/2 cup – if you don’t like/use chutney, use apricot or peach jam, just reduce the amount of sugar added in later accordingly)
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 1 cup of frozen peas, stirred in when ready to serve

Sauté the onion and garlic in a large pot/dutch oven with a little bit of oil (I used canola). When softened, add in your spices. Cook for another minute or 2. Now add in the ground beef.  Cook until no pink remains.

Add in the W sauce, salt and pepper. Stir well. Add in the stock, and all other ingredients except the peas.

I simmer this on low with the lid on until the vegetables have gotten a good head start with cooking, and then leave the lid off to thicken and cook down the sauce. You just want a gentle simmer. You want a consistency almost like a sloppy joe, and for the vegetables to be fully cooked.

I stir and taste along the way, adding more salt or chutney or sugar until it tastes just right to me. Spices vary a lot, and so does personal taste. I have been  known to add in a few squirts of ketchup or tomato sauce to bring it together a bit (GASP!).

In total I let this simmer about 2 hours. Be careful what spatula you use, as it will turn yellow! I used a red silicone one. In the picture below you can note by the sides of the pot how much it has cooked down. If you can spot a raisin, it comes from my homemade mango chutney. Remove the cinnamon stick and Bay leaf before serving.


For me, this is comfort food. I actually eat this when I am not feeling well, as it is homey, not rich, warm and fills my tummy. Plus turmeric is great for intestinal health! My Gastroenterologist told me this himself.

You can eat this as is – or serve with more chutney on the side. Us South Africans LOVE our chutney…and remember the peas! Now go make your very own curried mince.



2 thoughts on “South African Curried Mince

    1. South African food is born from centuries of becoming a European melting pot and it’s location on the spice route. The most deliciously spiced and seasoned food. Hope you will enjoy it!

      Liked by 1 person

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