Beef Botswana Style

A simple, tasty meat dish with no extras, making it good for Diabetic, Fodmap and Paleo diets.

Seswaa is the traditional ground beef dish of Botswana. My Botswana friend Janet explained the preparation to me originally and this is my interpretation. It is delicious in its simplicity.

Use a piece of slow-cooking beef, often referred to as stewing steak. When available, I use ox cheek; it is a very tasty and lean, falling apart after cooking. Frying the meat lightly (in very little oil) initially adds flavour to this dish, as does adding an onion and garlic clove. However, I omit these for Fodmap or Paleo diets.

After cooking and cooling the meat is ground. This is different to mincing meat. To grind meat, you apply pressure so the meat falls apart into small pieces, like ‘strings’. I use a rolling pin, though a good solid bottle is a suitable substitute.

Seswaa is often served with cornmeal (soft polenta) or cassava. Any soft starch is suitable and mashed potato or sweet potato are therefore good alternatives (nb: Paleo meal will not include these starches). The other addition when serving this dish is a sweet chilli sauce.

Variations are to replace the beef with venison or game meat. (not the fine quarters but the slow-cooking cuts).

Diets for which Beef Seswaa is suitable:

Dairy Free, Diabetic, Fodmap, Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Low Fat, Nut Free and Paleo.


Preparation: 10 mins |Cooking: 3hrs+ |Serves: 3-4

500 gm (16 oz) stewing steak
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
2 bay leaves (optional)
1 onion*
2 garlic cloves**


PREHEAT the oven to 150C/ 300F/ Gas 2.
TRIM any fat off the beef
CHOP beef into 6 – 8 large pieces.
HEAT oil in the saucepan.
FRY the beef for a few minutes until lightly browned. ADD salt, bay leaves and water to cover the beef.
SEAL pan with lid or foil (cook in any dish suitable for oven cooking).
COOK for 3 hours or more, until the meat is very tender and falls apart to the touch.
COOL the beef (nb: the liquid is a good base for soup but keep ½ cup aside to use when warming the beef to serve)
PLACE the beef on large chopping board.
ROLL or pound until the pieces have become long thin strings of meat.

HEAT to serve by placing the beef in a pan on a low heat, keeping moist with a little of the juice from the cooking.


– With mashed potato, polenta, cornmeal, yam or cassava (very traditional).
– Provide chilli sauce.


*Add onion and garlic when appropriate
**A break with the tradition and add 1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce and cook in beef stock (check labels for Gluten Free diet)

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