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Cooking with the Miss South Africa contestants!

27 May 2024

  • Nolene Spinksie

When completing their entry forms and compiling their biographies, a number of the Top 30 contestants vying for the title of Miss South Africa 2024, indicated their love for cooking. So we got in touch with them and asked them to share with us a favourite recipe as well as a photo of themselves in the kitchen or their finished dish.

The response was enthusiastic, and the recipes ranged from croissants to chicken’s feet, pastas, curries and chocolate cakes. Here they are:

Layla Zoubair’s Manakish

Layla lives in Kempton Park, Gauteng

“While lasagna is my favourite dish to make and Pap and stew is my go-to meal, I also love making manakish because it is so easy and so delicious.”


  • 5 tablespoons za’atar
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 10g instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 150 grams milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 egg


Preheat oven to 190°C. Warm the milk. Mix with yeast and sugar. Let sit 10 minutes until frothy. Combine flour and salt. Add yeast mixture, water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and egg. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place dough in oiled bowl, cover, and let rise 1-2 hours until doubled in size. Mix za’atar with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Punch down dough, divide, and flatten. Spread za’atar mixture on each piece. Fold or leave open with za’atar on top. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

*Chef’s Note: You can serve manakish as part of a healthy breakfast spread alongside homemade labneh and fresh vegetables like tomatoes, olives, cucumber and mint. Manakish can also be topped with cheese or cooked mince.


Johaneske Pelzer’s Gorgeous Gluten-Free Croissants

Johaneske hails from Potchefstroom in the North West province

“Yes, I'm a big foodie but due to my gluten intolerance, I have to cook most of the food I eat at home.”


  • 3 cups multipurpose gluten-free flour
  • 2 packets of instant yeast
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons psyllium husk powder
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water


Roll out the butter between baking paper to form a rectangle. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, then add the melted butter and buttermilk and mix till well combined and you have a dough. Tip out onto a floured surface and knead the dough until it's smooth. Roll out the dough to a rectangle. Place the butter block on the bottom half, leaving space on the sides and bottom. Fold the top half over, seal, and give a quarter turn.

Repeat rolling, folding, and turning two more times. Roll out the dough to a rectangle.

Cut into long rectangles, then diagonally into triangles. Roll each triangle into a croissant shape and place on a sheet pan. Leave it to rise for 1 hour, then bake at 200C for 20-25 minutes.


Naledi Matlakala’s Mama’s Maotwana! (Chicken Feet)

Naledi is from Midrand in Gauteng

“I prefer to make this meal simple because my grandmother likes it that way.”


  • 1kg chicken feet
  • 2 potatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon hot curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon chicken spice
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 packet minestrone soup mix


Rinse the chicken feet, then put into a large pot. Add two cups of water, chicken stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. In another pot, sauté the chopped onion, peppers and garlic paste. Add spices and continue stirring until soft. Add the chicken, potatoes and other contents from the first pot into the second pot and continue to boil. Add the minestrone soup mix and a few grinds of black pepper. Serve with pap & enjoy!


Kaylan Zeelie’s Pasta Pomodoro

Kaylan is a Uitenhage, Eastern Cape girl

I did a cooking class at Pronto a restaurant in Bloemfontein that unfortunately closed three months ago. I had the honour of making a pasta dish which is phenomenal. It’s now my favourite dish and I can’t stop making it at home.


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 400g can of whole peeled tomatoes puréed in a food processor or blender
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • 340g pasta of choice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Extra basil and Parmesan for garnish


In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the puréed tomatoes and season with salt. Cook the sauce until it starts to thicken, stirring occasionally (20 minutes). Stir in the fresh basil.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta. Place the pasta back in the same pot, add the tomato sauce and reserved pasta water. Stir until the sauce coats the pasta. Add butter and Parmesan cheese and toss until butter and cheese are melted. Plate and garnish with basil and Parmesan cheese.


Nobuhle Langa’s Amazing Spaghetti Bolognese

Nobuhle is from Emalahleni in Mpumalanga

“The dollop of sweet chilli sauce I add is the secret ingredient that makes this dish so amazing!”


  • 300g spaghetti
  • 200g beef mince
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 70g tomato paste
  • 1 tomato, finely diced
  • 185ml Bolognese sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs sweet chilli sauce


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions, usually about 8-10 minutes, until al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the chopped onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, until it becomes translucent. Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the mince to the pan with the onions and garlic. Cook the mince, breaking it up with a spoon, until it has browned all over (about 5-7 minutes). Season with a pinch of salt, pepper and turmeric. Stir well to combine. Add the diced tomato and cook for a minute then stir in the tomato paste and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Pour in the Bolognese sauce and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavours to combine. Add the sweet chilli sauce and stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the Bolognese sauce and toss well to coat the pasta evenly with the sauce. Cook for another 2 minutes to ensure the pasta is fully coated and heated through. Serve immediately, garnished with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese or fresh basil.


Danae Kukard’s Paprika Prawns

Danae comes from East London, Eastern Cape

“This is my favourite dish to prepare and eat!”


  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 450g shelled prawns
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 shallot or half an onion
  • knob of butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 70g tomato paste
  • 125g sour cream
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • salt & ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Italian herbs
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • handful of parsley, chopped


Cook the rice in about 5 cups of water, salted lightly and add half a tsp of turmeric. While that cooks, add the butter to a pan and melt over medium heat before adding the yellow pepper and diced shallot or onion. Cook, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. After 5 minutes add the minced garlic, stir and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in tomato paste, stir and add the spices. Allow the spices to simmer and colour the tomato paste, stirring frequently. Pour in sour cream and mix. Add half a cup of white wine to the mixture and bring to the boil. Add prawns and cook for 3 minutes, only! Serve on top of cooked rice with lemon wedges and a scattering of chopped parsley.


Madri van Jaarsveld’s Marry Me Chicken

Madri is from Boksburg and representing Gauteng.

“I absolutely love cooking and I try new recipes every week. I often get my recipes on social media and this one is always a hit.”


  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 500g boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 200ml chicken broth
  • 30g chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 125 ml cream
  • 25g finely grated Parmesan
  • Torn fresh basil leaves, for serving


Preheat oven to 190°C. In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Generously season chicken with salt and black pepper and cook, turning halfway through, until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate.

In same skillet over medium heat, add remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Stir in garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, tomatoes, cream, and Parmesan; season with salt. Bring to a simmer, then return chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan. Transfer skillet to the oven and bake chicken until cooked through and juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife, 10 to 12 minutes.

Arrange chicken on a platter. Spoon sauce over. Top with basil.


Mia Le Roux’s Thai Green Chicken Curry

Mia is from Outshoorn in the Western Cape.

“This is a Jamie Oliver recipe that I’ve adapted to include ingredients more readily available in South Africa.”


  • 750 g skinless chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • 400g button mushrooms
  • 400g tin coconut milk
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 200g sugar snap peas
  • ½ bunch fresh basil
  • I red chilli, chopped
  • I lime
  • For the curry paste
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 onions
  • 5cm piece of ginger
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 green chillies
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ bunch of fresh coriander
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce


To make the curry paste, peel, roughly chop and place the garlic, onions and ginger into a food processor. Add the zest of the lemon and squeeze the juice into the processor. Trim and add the chillies, the cumin and half the coriander. Blitz until finely chopped then add the fish sauce and blitz again. Slice the chicken into 2.5cm strips. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the chicken and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until just turning golden, then transfer to a plate. Slice the mushrooms into even pieces. Return the pan to a medium heat, add the mushrooms and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the Thai green paste for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the coconut milk and 200ml of boiling water, crumble in the stock cube. Turn the heat up and bring gently to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced slightly. Stir in the chicken and mushrooms, reduce the heat to low and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, adding the sugar snap peas for the final 2 minutes. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roughly chop and stir through the basil leaves and remaining coriander leaves and scatter over the chopped red chilli. Serve with a wedge of lime and steamed rice.


Felicia Bajomo’s Hearty Stew

Felicia comes from Thohoyandou, Limpopo

“I love making this dish for friends and family. I also enjoy Nigerian egusi soup and semolina.”


  • 1 cup of Basmati rice
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 400g stewing beef, cut into cubes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbs curry powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, minced
  • 70g tomato paste
  • 3-4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Start by parboiling the rice for 5-10 minutes to remove some of the starch. Rince the rice in cold water, then place it back in the pot with cold water just above the highest level of the rice and boil until cooked. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat then add the stewing beef and brown on all sides (5 minutes). Remove beef with a slotted spoon and set aside.

In the same pot sauté the chopped onions and red pepper. Add the curry powder, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and tomato paste and stir. Add the teaspoon sugar (to balance the acidity) and stir to combine. Return the browned meat to the pot and mix everything together

Cook on low to medium heat for 35-40 minutes until the meat is tender. Serve over warm rice.


Lebohang Khoza’s Beef Curry (serves 6)

Lebohang is from Maritzburg, KwaZulu Natal

“This beef curry is my favourite dish – especially in winter. My other go-to food is sushi.”


  • 500g stewing beef
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 5 potatoes, diced
  • 8 tbs sunflower oil
  • 1 tbs curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of mixed garlic and ginger spice
  • 4 tbs of beef spice
  • 10 tbs mayonnaise
  • pinch of salt


Place the beef, beef spice and mayonnaise in a Tupperware dish and marinade for a minimum of 1 hour (the longer the better). Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the onions, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn. When golden brown and soft, add the ginger and garlic and stir, then add the turmeric, curry powder and cinnamon. Simmer for a few minutes then add the beef and diced potatoes and then lower the heat to let it cook on low until tender (30 to 40 minutes) stirring occasionally. Serve with fluffy white rice.


Nokulunga Zungu’s Lamb Curry

Nokulunga is from Umlazi, Durban in KwaZulu-Natal

“I make the best lamb curry in South Africa.”


  • 700g lamb, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Thumb-size piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4-5 cardamom pods
  • 4-5 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup water or lamb stock
  • salt to taste
  • fresh coriander for garnish


In a large bowl, mix the yogurt with cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, chili powder, and a pinch of salt. Add the lamb cubes and mix until well coated. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour (overnight for best results). Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves and bay leaves and sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the chopped onions and cook until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid burning. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for about 5-7 minutes. If the mixture is too dry, add a splash of water. Add the marinated lamb and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the lamb is browned on all sides. Add water or lamb stock, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Let it simmer for about 1½ to 2 hours, or until the lamb is tender. Stir occasionally and check the liquid level; add more water if necessary. Once the lamb is tender, check the seasoning and adjust salt to taste. Remove the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves and bay leaves. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot with rice.


Nolene Spinks’ Matilda Chocolate Cake

Nolene is from Gqeberha, Eastern Cape

“This is a big cake, feel free to half the entire recipe for a smaller version.”


  • 3 cups self-raising flour
  • 1¼ cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2¼ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup of oil
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • Secret ingredient: 1½ cups of boiling water


Sieve all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients except the boiling water. Then add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix until well combined. BUT do not overmix. The secret to this cake is to add between 1 - 1½ cups boiling water. This makes the cake moist and rich. Split the batter between two baking pans after they have been sprayed with Spray and Cook. Bake at 180°C for 30 – 45 mins (the sides will pull away from the pan when it is ready). Cool in the pans for 15 minutes before removing and cooling them completely on a rack. Decorate with Chuckles, Oreos and all your favourite chocolates.

Chef’s Note: This is a big cake so halve the recipe for a smaller version.


Palesa Lombard’s Absolute Best Chocolate Fudge Cake

Palesa is from Waverley, Johannesburg

“I love this cake and could eat it every day. That and my pavlova with a vegan meringue.”


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup milk, or buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • For the icing
  • ¾ cups butter, softened
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2½ cups icing sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 can Caramel Treat


Preheat oven to 180ºC. Prepare two 23cm cake pans by spraying with Spray and Cook or and lightly dust with flour. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl and use an electric mixer to whisk and combine. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla and mix on medium speed. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the batter until well combined. Distribute batter evenly between the two cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before remove from the pan and cooling completely on a rack. To ice the cake, add cocoa powder to a large bowl and whisk to remove any lumps. Add butter and whisk. Gradually sift in the icing sugar and the milk while still mixing. Add the vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well. If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears too wet and does not hold its form, add more icing sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.


Miss South Africa fans can vote for their favourite on the Miss South Africa App and help advance them in the competition. Voting is currently open and closes on May 29 at 18h00. Download the app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

Viewers will get to meet the finalists in Crown Chasers, the thrilling reality TV show which introduces South African viewers to those vying to take the crown from the current incumbent Natasha Joubert. The six-part series starts on S3 on June 29, 2024, at 20h30.

Miss South Africa is presented by Weil Entertainment in association with Sun International.

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