Frikkadel – Delicious South African Braised Meatballs

In 2007, we had the chance to go back to South Africa. We stayed there for about six months. We really had the best of time. We love the people we met and became friends with. We love the stunning scenery especially the game parks. And of course, the food, the glorious food we enjoyed tremendously.

Deliciously creamy and perfectly spiced braised meatballs. This South African dish (Frikkadels) is a family favorite! |

One of the ladies in the church that we attended in Pretoria prepared this yummy South African Meatball dish for us. I can’t remember exactly the name of this dish though I know that they call their meatballs Frikkadels. Once I tasted it, I had to have the recipe. She doesn’t make any measurements in her cooking (she just knows how much to put here and there and she is that good!) so she just gave me her ingredients and tried to describe more or less how much she used. I did some experimentation and thought that this is as close a version I can come up with. Just learning her technique and using all the spices she used, I just knew that it would be the tastiest meatballs ever! To give it a little Asian flavor, I added some coconut milk to the mix and the taste was unbelievable. We have many favorite dishes but this tops them all. We often have this to remind us of the lovely stay we had in South Africa. One day, we’ll be back!

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While we are remembering South Africa, here’s one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen – two big rhinos sparring at Pilanesberg National Park. Somebody told me that they do this for hours on end, just moving back and forth, eyeing each other, perhaps just trying to intimidate the other animal to leave. I didn’t know who won or what happened afterwards. I couldn’t wait that long but it was really something to behold.

Below is a photo taken during a Night Drive at the Kruger National Park. Yes, we were that near! The Lions go out hunting at night so they were all over the place. We stayed at the campsite where there were always some lion sighting. 

 Did that whet your appetite? Here’s the yummy recipe. This is a big batch ’cause we have this when we have guests around. Have a South African night and make this for your family and friends!

For the Sauce


2 Tbsp olive oil

4-5 plum tomatoes, diced or 2 (14 oz) canned diced tomatoes

2 medium onions, chopped

6 garlic cloves 

1 can coconut milk (optional)

2-3 tsp curry powder (mild)

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp salt


Heat oil in a deep/large oven proof pan (like a
Dutch oven). Sauté
the garlic and onions until tender about 5 mins. 

Add the tomatoes. Sauté
for another 5 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk. Add the curry powder,
sugar and salt. 

Bring to a boil then simmer covered until the
meatballs are ready. Adjust to taste.

For the Meatballs


1 kilo or 2.2 lbs ground beef

1 cup oatmeal

Spices: 2 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp coriander, 1/4 tsp cloves

1 tsp salt

3 Tbsp fruit chutney (pref. Mrs. Ball’s South African chutney)* 

2 eggs

1/8 cup rice vinegar

 *May be replaced with apricot jam or your favorite fruit chutney. I buy my Mrs. Ball’s Chutney from the World Market, in case you want to know where it can be purchased.


the meatballs while the sauce is simmering.

Mix all the ingredients and form into giant
meatballs (about 2-2 ½ inches in

Place the meatballs in the sauce.  Cover the pan and bake in a preheated 325F oven for about 1 1/2 hours.

Serve with rice or noodles. Oh, yummingtons!  As always, even better the next day!

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  1. September 12, 2012 / 1:32 am

    Beautiful photos Abby!

    It's not often I see a South African inspired dish … I'm always up for opening my tastebuds!

    • September 12, 2012 / 3:36 am

      Thanks, Jen! It's really good especially if left untouched for another day to let the flavors be fully absorbed by the meat.

  2. Helena
    September 12, 2012 / 2:57 am

    This looks delicious! Do you bake covered or open?

    • September 12, 2012 / 3:34 am

      Hi Helen! Thanks for pointing it out. Yes, it should be covered. I corrected it already. Thanks for visiting!

  3. September 12, 2012 / 4:06 pm

    I have had this before! My boss is from South Africa and they always share their yummy dishes with us. What a cool experience to go to South Africa for an extended amount of time!

  4. September 12, 2012 / 4:28 pm

    Lucky you! I have to make them myself so I can have it though our local butcher makes authentic boerwors (South African sausages) courtesy of South Africans who reside in the same town I live. Thanks for visiting, Tiffany!

  5. September 14, 2012 / 11:36 am

    Such a delicious curry and a post with a touch of south africa… love it… following you here and also liked you in facebook dear. Thanks for leaving a comment on my facebook wall 🙂 sweet of you

    Rose Celebration Cake for Husband

  6. September 14, 2012 / 11:58 am

    Thanks for joining us Priya and for your kind words! Very nice of you to drop by. Looking forward to sharing yummy recipes with you!

  7. September 14, 2012 / 10:33 pm

    They look really good! Glad you joined us this week. And yes, I'm still in love with that pot! Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday! Please come back on Sunday to VOTE!

  8. September 15, 2012 / 1:16 am

    Will do, Lois! Thanks again for the invite! Enjoyed looking at some of the lovely recipes posted there.

    • September 29, 2012 / 1:09 am

      Thanks, Marly for joining our site. Hope you enjoy the recipes here!

  9. September 29, 2012 / 12:13 am

    I made these meatballs a few days ago and they were a real hit in our household. They will definitely go in my keeper file. And you were right – they tasted even better the next day. Thanks for a wonderful recipe with such intriguing flavours.

    • September 29, 2012 / 1:11 am

      Thanks, Margaret! Am so glad that your family enjoyed it! Appreciate that you came back to give me some feedback. Hope you find more recipes to enjoy!

  10. October 29, 2012 / 6:36 pm

    Beautiful recipe and such good blend of flavors. Love it!!! You are such a great cook with so many good recipes :)) <3

    • October 29, 2012 / 8:23 pm

      You are a dear friend, Shema! So very kind to me. Thanks for the warm compliments.

  11. Anonymous
    December 30, 2012 / 2:22 am

    got to try this. thanks for shareing

    • December 30, 2012 / 3:40 am

      You're welcome! Hope you like it! 🙂

  12. February 21, 2013 / 2:37 am

    Seriously this is blowing my mind right now! Sooooo easy too! This is going to happen, pinned and done!

    • February 21, 2013 / 12:54 pm

      Thanks, Sophia! This is definitely a favorite in our house! Hope you like it too.

  13. September 13, 2014 / 9:28 pm

    Trying this tonight, subbed whole allspice for the currie, regular milk for the coconut milk, and turkey in the meatballs.

    • June 11, 2015 / 2:05 pm

      Thanks Lauren and hope you get to try it!

  14. June 10, 2015 / 2:36 pm

    These look great and those pictures are just stunning. what an amazing experience.

    • June 11, 2015 / 2:06 pm

      It was really amazing and we can't wait to go back. Thanks Kristen!

  15. June 10, 2015 / 2:41 pm

    I love South African cuisine and these look so approachable and easy to make! Would love to try this recipe!

    • June 11, 2015 / 2:06 pm

      Me, too! Please let us know if you get the chance to make it, thanks!

  16. June 11, 2015 / 2:12 pm

    You really can never go wrong with meatballs. I love how non-intimidating these look (plus, instant vacation in your mouth)

  17. June 12, 2015 / 1:09 am

    Love the flavors in this and I love this type of cuisine! Totally making this soon! 🙂

  18. July 3, 2015 / 2:39 am

    I am south African by birth and I love cooking food for our American friends,they do love tasting the different flavours

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