10 Best Tswana Traditional Foods With Pictures and Recipes

Tswana ethnic group is the Bantu-speaking people of South Africa and Botswana. The Tswana region is known for its savory traditional foods that both natives and visitors enjoy each time they are served either as breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Because these meals leave you wanting more, most people who only visited end up scouting for the recipes months after they have left the region, hence this article. It is also important that you get to watch carefully people who cook each of the meals well and if you have no access to such persons, then there are DIY videos on YouTube that would help you replicate any of these meals perfectly.

Some Savory Tswana Traditional Foods And Cuisine

Here are some of the best Tswana traditional foods and their pictures. You can also try to make these dishes, using the under-listed recipes and cooking instructions.

1. Vetkoek

Vetkoek is translated as “fat cake”. It is a baked bread eaten with minced meat or chicken stew or as a sweet snack with honey, jam, or syrup. It is often served as a side dish, with the main dish.


  • Flour
  • Yeast
  • Salt
  • Vegetable Oil – for frying the dough
  • Sugar

Cooking Instructions

  • Mix sugar and yeast in some lukewarm water together and leave to foam.
  • Sieve flour and salt together, then pour out the yeast mixture into the flour and knead together.
  • Keep adding water in bits and knead until you have your desired consistency of bread dough.
  • Allow the dough in the mixing bowl for about 50 minutes and cover the bowl with a cloth.
  • This will make the dough rise to about double its original size, so you should have a big enough mixing bowl.
  • Then pour the cooking oil into a frying pan or pot to allow it to heat to about 200°C (375°F).
  • Divide the dough into balls using a cookie cutter, cup, or your hand, and then fry.

2. Seswaa

This is a Tswana traditional recipe and is often served at events and celebrations.


  • Beef (bones)
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Onion
  • Bay Leaves
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

Cooking Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 160 celsius.
  • Cut the meat into large chunks.
  • Then pour in a dish used for slow cooking in the oven.
  • Add peeled onion, salt, black pepper, water, and bay leaves.
  • Bring to boil then cover and place into the oven for 4 hours.
  • After 4 hours, take it out from the oven and place it on the stove burner to cook off the remaining liquid.
  • Use a wooden spoon, pestle to pound or mash up the meat.
  • If it is seasoned enough to taste, then serve with polenta or the more traditional pap (sadza/thick cornmeal porridge) and a slice of green vegetables.

3. Mogodu

Mogodu is also called Tripe or Usu, and it is commonly prepared and eaten by the Zulu tribe, but it is also one of the best Tswana meals.


  •   Tripe
  •  1 Onion (finely chopped)
  •  1 Green Pepper (finely chopped)
  •  2 Stock Cubes (You can use beef, chicken, or mutton stock cubes – it’s entirely your choice)
  •  ½ TSP Salt
  •  Water

Cooking Instructions

  • Thoroughly clean your tripe and cut it into bit sizes – as you desire.
  • Put the tripe into a pot.
  • Add enough water to cover your tripe and wait until it boils.
  • Once it is boiled, you can reduce the heat and let it simmer for 2 hours with the pot closed.
  • Then add your nicely chopped onion, green pepper, desired stock cubes, and salt.
  • Allow simmering for another 45 minutes (stir pot every 15 minutes).
  • Serve and enjoy while hot!

4. Dikgobe

This meal is one of the few accepted starch meals that has been served during funerals in Botswana, it’s made from sorghum, beans, and added vegetables.


  • Sorghum Grains
  • Beans
  • Mixed Vegetables (like potatoes, carrots, corn, peas, onions, cabbage) – to your preference
  • Salt and Pepper – to taste

Cooking Instructions

  • Allow the sorghum grains and beans to soak separately in lightly salted water for an hour.
  • Boil the sorghum grains for 20 minutes and then add the beans.
  • Allow the mixture to boil for 40 minutes, or until the mixture is well done.
  • On low heat, stir-fry the vegetables and flavor them to your taste.
  • Add the vegetables to the mixture (beans and sorghum), mix well, and let simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

5. Phaphatha

This Tswana traditional food is usually served with liver or chicken stew, for breakfast, and mind you, it is quite satisfying. The procedure for preparation ain’t so difficult, let’s see.


  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Lukewarm Water
  • Yeast

Cooking Instructions

  • Sieve the flour into a bowl, and add salt and sugar.
  • Add water gradually, until the dough is formed.
  • Knead until a palpable dough is formed.
  • Allow in the covered bowl for 30 minutes, then get a flat surface to roll out dough.
  • Dust the dough on both sides with flour then place in an oven to cook.
  • When one side is cooked, turn over to the other side.
  • Serve with coffee, stew, or tea.

6. Bogobe

Bogobe otherwise called porridge is one of the very sumptuous Tswana traditional foods. It is originally from Botswana and can be tweaked during the cooking process to get a variety of other types of meals.



  • Sorghum
  • Millet or Corn
  • Water

Cooking Instructions

For fermented Bogobe (also called motogo-wa-ting):

  • Mix starter with dry sorghum meal.
  • Add lukewarm water and stir into a soft paste.
  • Cover and allow to ferment for 24 hours.
  • Boil water and add the mixture to the boiling water.
  • Allow to cook for 15 minutes and stir frequently.

For non-fermented Bogobe (Mosokwana):

  • Boil water.
  • Add sorghum meal to boiling water and stir frequently.
  • Cook for 20 to 30 minutes.

You can eat it with meat or vegetables for lunch or dinner. Another tweak to the traditional process of making Bogobe is to add sour milk and melon to make Bogobe jwa Lerotse.

7. Chicken Groundnut Stew

The Botswana chicken groundnut stew is another one of the traditional foods of the Tswana people. It gives you that awesome feeling a well-fed person has and is best served with rice.


  • Chicken Thighs
  • TSP of Vegetable Oil
  • Onions, chopped green bell pepper, chopped cup water
  • Peanut butter (1 cup)
  • Tomato paste (1 cup)
  • Grated Ginger (1 TSP)
  • Brown Sugar (1 TSP)
  • Chili Flakes (1 TSP)
  • Diced Tomatoes (15 ounces)

Cooking Instructions

  • Combine the following in a bowl – chili flakes, ginger, peanut butter, tomato paste, and sugar (optional) in a bowl.
  • Gently stir in the water – a little at a time – until the sauce is smooth.
  • Add oil to a large pan and fry the chopped onion.
  • Add the chicken and keep frying until the chicken has become brown before adding the bell pepper.
  • Add the peanut sauce and diced tomatoes and stir well.
  • Cover and reduce the heat to a low simmer.
  • Cook for another 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Taste and add salt if needed.

8. Mogatla

Mogatla, which means “oxtail” in Setswana, is a stew that is enjoyed by the Tswana people all over South Africa – and Botswana.


  • Package Oxtail
  • White Onion (chopped)
  • Large Tomatoes (sliced)
  • TSPs of Tomato Paste
  • Beef Stock Cube
  • Garlic Clove (minced)
  • TSPs of Cooking Oil
  • Salt and Pepper – to taste

Cooking Instructions

  • With a tablespoon of oil, brown the oxtail in a stockpot, and set aside.
  • In your cooking pot, pour in another oil, add the onion and stir until soft.
  • Add the sliced, paste tomatoes, and garlic and stir together.
  • Pour your mixture in the oxtail and add the beef stock cube and some water, then cover.
  • While covered, allow the mix to simmer until the meat is tender, this can take a couple of hours.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.

9. Morogo

Morogo is a vegetable meal that comes in different varieties and different tastes and can be easily identified.


  • Tomatoes
  • Morogo Leaves
  • Onion
  • Spices or Salt – to taste

Cooking Instructions

  • Wash the spinach (Morogo) leaves
  • Heat the oil
  • Add your onion and tomatoes – and stir fry
  • Add salt and spices to taste
  • Then add your spinach leaves, allow to steam till desired tenderness
  • Can be served with rice.

10. Phaletshe

Phaletshe (pronounced pah-leh-cheh) is also known as pap. This pap meal is made basically from maize and in Botswana, you can tell how strong someone’s arm is by the consistency of their phaletshe!


  • Maize
  • Salt
  • Water

Cooking Instructions

  • Grind your dry maize into a fine powder, and then cook it in boiling water with salt added to taste.
  • Note that while preparing this, you are required to mix intensely to avoid lumps.
  • Cook till you get the desired mix.
  • This staple cuisine of the Tswana people can be served with stew and vegetables.
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Romeo Ndlovu
Romeo Ndlovu
Romeo's secret talent is taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary content. At work, he is thinking about how best to provide the most unique, original content that provides utmost satisfaction to the user. Away from work, he is a football addict who loves to catch up on his favorite pastimes


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