Heritage Day Recipes From Chef Zondi

South African chef Lerato Zondi is celebrating Heritage Day by sharing some of her top recipes.

The 25-year-old chef, who graduated from Capsicum Culinary Studio in 2014, says she wants to challenge South Africans to put aside their braai tongs and have a go at making these two dishes that she has created and thinks that many will enjoy.

“I want to demonstrate how local ingredients can be used in many different ways, to create dishes that are unique, exciting, tasty, and quintessentially South African,” she says.

Here are her top two Heritage Day dishes that you can try.


Rooibos Tea Smoked Chicken Wings

“I've experimented with all sorts of mediums and flavours, but rooibos hits the spot. It is my lazy braai cheat dish, but I advise you to open the windows if you decide to smoke the chicken for longer than the suggested 10 minutes,” said Zondi.




  • 10-12 chicken wings
  • 2 garlic cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 thumb fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 5 tablespoons apricot jam
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 4-6 rooibos teabags
  • Salt and pepper to taste




Season the chicken wings with salt and pepper. Place a rack inside a baking tray, tear open the rooibos tea bags, and scatter leaves onto the bottom of the tray. Place the chicken wings on the rack, cover with foil, and place the tray on your stove top, over medium heat. The teabags will heat up and start to smoke the chicken, but not cook it – as this is only to flavour the wings. Smoke the chicken for 7-10 minutes, depending on how smoky you want it, then remove it from the stove top. In a frying pan, over medium heat, add oil, chicken wings and cook until golden brown. Turn the wings over and repeat. While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce.

First, lightly toast the cumin and coriander seeds, and then grind them together in a pestle and mortar. In a bowl, add the finely grated ginger, along with the minced garlic, apricot jam, and turmeric. Add the crushed seeds and mix until all the ingredients are well combined. Spoon half the mixture over the chicken wings, while they are still cooking in the frying pan.

Gently heat the remaining half of the sauce and, when the chicken is ready, remove it from the pan and place it in a serving bowl. Pour over the remainder of the warm sauce. Serve with uPhuthu salad.


uPhuthu Salad

“I love using our natural vegetation and finding different vehicles to celebrate the beauty our land has to offer. It is my spin on a couscous salad. It is healthy, fresh, gluten-free, and wholly South African,” said Zondi.




  • 750ml water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups maize meal
  • ½ teaspoons turmeric
  • ½ butternut, cubed
  • Bunch of spinach, chopped
  • 60ml chickpeas
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2ml smoked paprika
  • 80ml butter




Pour boiling water into a pot, and add salt and turmeric. Cover until it starts to simmer, then immediately add the maize meal. The heat should be low, as the steam cooks the maize. If you cook over high heat, the uPhuthu will burn and still be raw.

Use a fork/or a wooden spoon handle to mix (not a spoon). Stir until lumps form. There should be no dry maize meal in the pot. Cover and stir every 5-10 minutes, cooking for 30-40 minutes. To test if ready, grab a little bit of the uPhuthu, form a small ball and gently toss it on your surface. If it bounces, it’s ready. If not, cook it for a little longer.

While the uPhuthu cooks, prepare your vegetables for sautéing. Peel and cut up the butternut, and place in a large pan with a bit of olive oil. The smaller the cubes, the faster they will cook. When they turn brown, season with salt and pepper, and cover for 5-8 minutes or until soft. Then add chopped spinach, and onion and the garlic, stirring continuously. Taste and season if required.

Add the chickpeas and smoked paprika, and stir in the butter until it melts into the vegetables. Once the uPhuthu is ready, toss the vegetables and uPhuthu together. Add a little olive oil and the butter from the vegetables, correct the seasoning, add the chopped coriander and serve.