It is no secret that South African families love the taste of traditional amanqina. A firm favourite across Southern Africa from Zimbabwe to Botswana; amanqina are celebrated as food fit for a king. There is such diversity in the people that enjoy this dish that cow heel recipes are often a bone of contentment – excuse the pun!
People cook cow heels differently based on the ingredients available in their region and the recipes passed down from generation to generation. We at Knorrox are simplifying things by bringing you a tried and tested step-by-step guide showing you how to cook cow heels.
Cow Heels/Amanqina are Slow-Cooked for Juicy, Tender, Meat
Most amanqina chefs agree on one thing: cow heels can be very tough if not cooked correctly. The best way to get cow heels with fall-off-the-bone tenderness is to slow cook them. This can be done in plain boiling water but if you want to infuse them with rich, savoury taste, we suggest using Knorrox Stock cubes, in either Chilli Beef, Beef Curry, or Oxtail flavour, to add extra meatiness to the dish.
Home cook Sibonisile Mdluli mentions on cookpad.com that she likes adding a little peri-peri to the broth when simmering her cow heels. This adds some heat to the pot and brings out the flavour of the meat.
Take Your Time When Cooking Cow Heels/Amanqina
When preparing trotters you can’t be in a rush. This delectable dish deserves to be slow cooked and most cow heels recipes recommend a boiling time of at least two-and-a-half to three hours.
For more specific timing on cooking trotters, we recommend:
• For 1kg of cow heels boil for two-and-a-half hours
• For 1.5kg, boil for three hours
Once boiled the cow heels are ready to be served alongside starch like potato mash, rice or pap, but if you want to get creative you can take your amanqina to a higher level by adding vegetables, seasoning and a sauce.
Mouth-Watering Amanqina in 12 Simple Steps
For a fool-proof cow heels recipe, try these easy steps:
1. Add a lug of olive oil to a cast iron pot.
2. Add chopped onion, parsley, bay leaves, garlic, a teaspoon of paprika and sauté.
3. Add your trotters and brown them in the spicy oil for five minutes to seal in the flavours.
4. Create a stock by dissolving your favourite flavour Knorrox stock cubes in boiling water.
5. Add some seasoning and pour over the trotters.
6. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for two-and-a-half hours depending on their weight (see above)
7. While your amanqina are cooking you can prepare the starch you plan to serve with them. Pap, samp, rice or fresh bread go well.
8. Chop celery, baby marrows, potatoes, patty pans and mielies.
9. Add the veggies to the broth 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
10. When the cow heels are soft and tender you can remove them from the pot and leave them to cool slightly on a wooden board.
11. Once cooled, remove the meat from the bones and chop into cubes.
12. Place the chopped cubes back into the vegetable pot, and thicken the sauce with a little cornstarch.
Different Takes on the Traditional
Princess Tafadzwa, a food blogger, recommends adding onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to cow heels and then boiling them for three hours.
Another take on the tradition is this Pork trotters in tomato sauce recipe in which we used a tomato soup base to add a creamy taste layer to pork trotters. The onion, garlic and curry powder in this recipe gives the trotters a spicy lift while the tomatoey broth coats the trotters and makes for a delicious sauce. If you serve this style of amanqina to your family, the pap or samp that you serve it on absorbs the tomato sauce and makes for a rich and filling meal.
Sharing Traditional Goodness
As long as you slow cook your amanqina and take the time to allow the meat to become juicy and tender you can play around with different herbs and spices to give your cows heels lots of flavour.