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Botswana's Pulled Beef: Seswaa

Botswana's Pulled Beef: Seswaa

Seswaa is a prized culinary delicacy from Southern Africa's heart, particularly Botswana, where it plays a significant role in the country's culinary identity. This dish's rich, strong flavours are a result of the slow-cooked, tenderised meat used in it. Seswaa is a crucial part of Botswana's cultural and culinary history since it is frequently used as a symbol of social gatherings and familial ties.

This meal first appeared historically as a workable method for preserving meat in an area without easy access to refrigeration. Seswaa was initially made by boiling tough chunks of beef or goat flesh over an open flame or in cast-iron pots known as "three-legged pots." The lengthy cooking time, which frequently lasted several hours, helped to tenderize the meat and bring forth its aromas. By extending the shelf life of less appealing meat slices, this technique helped communities reduce food waste.

Preparation Time

35 minutes



2 to 3 pounds of beef or goat meat 



For the Seasoning:

1 large onion (chopped)

2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)

1-2 teaspoons of salt 

1-2 teaspoons of pepper 

2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil 


  • If you're using bone-in meat, cut it into smaller pieces for easier cooking.
  • Place the meat in a large pot and cover it with water.
  • Add salt to the pot (about 1-2 teaspoons).
  • Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Once the meat is tender, remove it from the pot and let it cool slightly.
  • Use two forks to shred the meat into fine strands. This can be a bit labor-intensive, but the fine texture is essential for Seswaa.
  • In a separate pan, heat the cooking oil over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and garlic to the pan.
  • Add the shredded meat to the pan, and season with salt and pepper. Adjust the seasoning to your taste preferences.
  • Stir-fry the meat with the onions and garlic for about 15 minutes.
  • Serve!