Whether you are cooking for the family or are expecting dinner guests, the secret to creating an extraordinary sishebo lies in one’s ability to find the delicate balance between sweet, sour and salty flavours, all of which come together to provide a truly memorable taste sensation. South Africa is known for being a rainbow nation, a melting pot of unique and exciting cultures that often bleed into one another, especially when it comes to food and cooking techniques. Let us take a look at the three most common flavour enhancers for sishebo recipes used within our wonderfully diverse community.
Stock is probably the most prevalent choice for most South Africans when cooking a mouth-watering sishebo – not only does it add plenty of tasty, salty goodness, but it also provides the dish with a meaty flavour that is impossible to resist. Stock is an affordable option and, when paired with a dash of lemon juice, and perhaps a teaspoon or two of sugar, can take a basic meal to new levels of perfection. It comes in a variety of different flavours – from vegetable or beef, to that of chicken or fish – so don’t be afraid to experiment in order to find the stock (or the mix of different types of stock) that best complements your favourite recipes.
Originally a European cooking additive, wine has become a staple sishebo ingredient within South Africa and, depending on the type of wine with which you choose to cook, can add delectable sweetness or a subtle, yet addictive, sourness to any dish. In order to achieve practically perfect results, it is important to also use a little bit of stock along with the wine. This will allow you to achieve that sweet-salty-sour balance that is sure to yield an impressive, moreish outcome.
Unless you have experience making traditional Afrikaans poitjie recipes, you probably have yet to discover the delight that comes with cooking with Coke. Not only does it add lip-smacking sweetness, but it also helps to tenderise your meat and thicken your sauce, leaving you with a hearty, wholly satisfying meal. However, similar to when cooking with wine, it is important to add some stock to the dish in order to balance the sweetness of the Coke with a little bit of saltiness.
As you can see, the best sishebos take cooking elements from all South African cultures, coming together to create a dish that mimics the unique South African population itself – an extraordinarily memorable, completely unique, diverse treat for the senses.