Dithlakwana (Cow Heels) with Butter Beans & Pumpkin Seed Curry Sauce

Before I started a food blog I had crazy blog names such as Freakum Dish.  That was the first name I decided to go with. Imagine that….

The story behind the name goes something like this…..I’m a big fan of Beyonce and if you’re also a fan you might the know the song “Freakum Dress”.  I just love the song. A freakum dress is that skimpy little number you pull out when you want to go out, paint the town red, impress someone and be seen.  You also know that it’s got a potential to drive people mad whenever you rock it…

My friends would ask me questions like “Thuli, I have a date what can I cook? I really want to impress” That made me realise that there’s always a point in every person’s life where one needs to prepare that special dish (or dishes) when they need to impress guests, family, friends or that potential somebody.  It can be that dish that nobody can cook like you do. Let me give you an example; in my family, my one sister cooks a mean pot of Umphokoqo (phutu), she makes it fine yet not too fine but with the right level of coarseness.  She cooks it perfectly every time.  That’s her freakum dish.

I was gaga about the blog name “Freakum Dish” but it felt young and of course freaky hehe!  There is nothing wrong with that but I wanted the blog to appeal to the young and mature audience.  So I finally decided on Mzansi Style Cuisine.  However, I still love the name Freakum Dish.  Oh well, I’ll just file it under categories, how about that?

Anyways, when I was looking for main course options for Dinner Divas I decided to go with Cowheels/ Dithlakwana/Amanqina.  Damn! I even bought a brand new pressure cooker just to test and perfect the recipe at home. I cooked it for my family and they were totally impressed and after testing the recipe twice and judging by the way they were licking fingers and looking for seconds I decided that ja this is one of my freakum dishes.

The dish needs to be cooked until soft and stick but unfortunately that didn’t happen during filming. Eish!  Some have asked why I chose cow heels for the show because they take long to prepare….well, my answer is and will always be the fact that I wanted to try something that was not already on the blog…..Besides that, I wanted to cook a dish that would appeal to someone who is at home more especially in the homelands.

Remember when a sheep or a cow was slaughtered afterwards we would sit around the fire sikarabha amanqina nentloko?  (scorching the hair off the heels and head).  Then they would be cleaned and washed with a pot skryfer…to be cooked in a big pot until soft and sticky.

That’s my fond memory of cow / sheep heels.  These days one gets to buy them at retail stores or from your butcher, already cleaned.  The cowheels were served with sour cream & parsley morogo/mifino; honey & rooibos butternut chips; last but not least with butter bean & pumpkin seed curry sauce.    

Ditlhakwana (Cow Heels) Recipe

Serves: 4-6

1.5kg cow heels, cleaned

1.2L boiling water

30ml (2Tbsp) beef stock powder

200ml red wine

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

2 green chillies, chopped

3 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped

15ml (1Tbsp) medium curry powder


  1. In a pressure cooker or pot, place the cowheels, add water, stock powder and red wine.
  2. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour or until soft and sticky.  If necessary, add more water.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until thickened.
  4. Remove from the pressure cooker and take some of the gravy (about half a cup) to cook the butter bean sauce.

Butter Beans & Pumpkin Seed Curry Sauce Recipe

Serves: 4

125ml gravy from the cowheels

1/2 yellow pepper, chopped

1 can Rhodes Butter Beans in Curry Sauce

1 heaped tsp roasted pumpkin seeds

3 sprigs fresh coriander, chopped


1.  In a saucepan, add the gravy from the cowheels, add yellow pepper and sauté for 2 minutes.

2. Add butter beans, pumpkin seeds and coriander.

3. Continue cooking and stirring for two minutes.

4. Serve with Cow Heels.

About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

Comment ( 1 )

  • I am trying again! I think my comments are going into trash!

    It is such a pity that the dish did not work out but it happens to all of us, especially when you are under pressure!

    I am also a BIG fan of Beyoncé!

Post a Comment