One of the most amazing aspects of traveling abroad is being able to experience the food of another culture and country. Unfortunately, if you have dietary restrictions like vegetarianism, you may be forced to limit the number of foods you try. Luckily, potije, a traditional stew-like meal, can easily be made meat-free. A potije starts with the name-sake of the dish, a potije pot, which is a small black vessel that stands on three legs over a low fire. You may notice that you do not measure the ingredients that go into a potije. Instead, you simply add enough of everything that you think will make a delicious meal. Trust me, anything you put with so many delicious ingredients cooked slowly over a fire cannot go wrong!
How to make vegetarian potije.
- potije pot
- large wooden spoon
- white rice
- vegetable stock and oil
- other desired spices
- Begin the potije by adding enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the dish and allowing it to become warm.
- Add your potatoes and cook over medium heat until they develop a crunchy skin on the outside.
- Add all of the vegetables that take the longest to cook: carrots, celery, onion, etc.
- Stir until the vegetables are covered in oil and then cover.
- Once the vegetables begin to soften slightly, add enough vegetable stock to just cover them, and then add tomatoes, mushrooms, chickpeas, and your desired amount of each spice. (Your potije should have clear layers, and you do not want to mix these until you are ready to serve the dish. The key to cooking potije is low and slow, so cover your dish and allow to slowly cook until all of the flavors begin to mingle. Serve over rice.)
Like barbeque in the summer-time, potije is not a dish that you eat alone. It is designed to be shared among family members and friends, preferably with everyone gathered outside around the fire. In my experience, potije tastes best when eaten surrounded by new friends on a deck overlooking hippos, crocodiles, and the grazing animals of Kruger National Park, but who’s to say it can’t be delicious back home in Indiana?