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Frikkadel - Traditional South African Recipe

Frikkadel - Traditional South African Recipe

Frikkadel is a beloved dish in South Africa, embodying the rich culinary tradition of the country. Often mistaken for a simple meatball, Frikkadel stands out for its unique blend of spices, textures, and preparation methods. Originating from the culinary practices brought by European settlers, it has been adopted and adapted by various cultures within South Africa, making it a true melting pot dish. Unlike its Italian counterpart, Frikkadel is traditionally pan-fried or baked, and herbs and spices are integral, giving it a distinct flavour profile.

What Makes Frikkadel Special?

The secret to Frikkadel's appeal lies in its simplicity and the warmth it brings to any meal. Served with a side of pap (a type of maize porridge), mashed potatoes, or even a fresh salad, it's versatile and can adapt to any dining occasion. The addition of ingredients like bread soaked in milk gives Frikkadel a tender texture that sets it apart from other meatball recipes. Its spices, including coriander and nutmeg, reflect South Africa's spice trade history, adding layers of flavour that are both comforting and subtly complex.

Recipe: How to Make Frikkadel


  • 500g minced beef or a combination of beef and pork
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 slices of white bread, crusts removed
  • 125ml milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil for frying


  1. Prep the Bread:

    • Soak the bread slices in the 125ml of milk until fully absorbed. Squeeze out the excess milk (the bread should be moist but not soggy) and break it apart into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Combine the Ingredients:

    • To the bowl with the soaked bread, add the minced meat, chopped onion, egg, minced garlic, parsley, coriander, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix well until the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the meat. It's often best to use your hands to ensure thorough mixing.
  3. Form the Frikkadels:

    • With damp hands, shape the meat mixture into balls or slightly flattened ovals, depending on your preference. They should be about the size of a golf ball or slightly larger.
  4. Cook the Frikkadels:

    • Heat a thin layer of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the Frikkadels, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook them in batches if necessary.
    • Fry each side for about 4-5 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Alternatively, you can bake them in a preheated oven at 180°C (356°F) for about 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.
  5. Serving:

    • Serve the Frikkadels hot with your choice of side. They're traditionally accompanied by mashed potatoes, pap, or a fresh salad.

Frikkadel is more than just a dish; it's a celebration of South African heritage and culinary diversity. This simple, flavourful recipe offers a taste of South Africa's rich cultural tapestry, inviting everyone to explore the flavours that make this country's cuisine truly unique. Visit our shop to see our wide selection of South African foods and ingredients.

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