Mincemeat made easy


Mincemeat made easy

Just admit that it's your secret weapon and use it to conjure up a multitude of dishes, writes LIENTJIE WESSELS.


MINCEMEAT is not necessarily a gourmet ingredient, and perhaps I shouldn't confess here that, like everyone else, I always have a few packets in the freezer. But I do, and it has saved me several times when I needed to make a quick plan after a long day.

I always make sure that as well as minced beef I also have minced pork and sometimes minced chicken in the freezer, because they give me so many options.

Well, we've established that everyone has that stash of mince in the freezer and there's no reason you have to make the same old spaghetti bolognaise or curry and rice. Actually, there are a multitude of things to do with it.

Today I prepared a Korean spaghetti bolognaise with gochujang, a fermented paste of red chillis that is slightly sweet and hot at the same time. This is a must in your pantry and you probably won't want to be without it again.

I also share how to use the bolognaise sauce in a different way, present mincemeat dishes innovatively the next day and liven them up with a fresh apple and naartjie salsa that perfectly complements the few spices in the bolognaise or bobotie.

Lees hierdie artikel in Afrikaans:

Korean spaghetti bolognaise

(enough for 4 people)



  • 400 g mince (I used half pork and half beef, but you can also use beef on its own)
  • 2 c mixed Asian vegetables (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp gochujang paste 
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste (remember the other ingredients already contain a lot of salt)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
  • 250 g noodles or spaghetti
  • spring onions, coriander and cucumber for garnish


1. Cook the spaghetti or noodles until just tender, remove from the heat and keep in water until serving.

2. Pour sunflower oil into a heavy-bottomed pan and once hot, add the mincemeat and fry until golden brown.

3. Add the vegetables and fry for 1 to 2 minutes, then add sugar, oyster sauce, soy sauce and gochujang paste. Mix well.

4. Mix the flour with a little of the chicken stock then add to the mincemeat mixture with the rest of the stock. Bring to a rapid boil for 2 to 3 minutes to form a thick sauce.

5. Drain the water from the pasta, and combine with bolognaise sauce and sesame oil, mixing well.

6. Serve in Chinese bowls with cucumber cubes, fresh coriander and spring onions.

Stuffed red pepper



  • portion of leftover bolognaise
  • 1 red pepper, halved and seeded
  • ¼ c grated cheese
  • bit of olive oil


1. Spoon the meat sauce into the red pepper and sprinkle grated cheese over it. Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 180ºC.

‘Fancy toast’

(with leftover mince served with an apple and naartjie salsa).



  • 2 slices of toast
  • 1 portion of leftover bolognaise or bobotie
  • lots of butter
  • few spoons of salsa



  • 1 apple, diced
  • 4 naartjie wedges, sliced
  • 2 tbsp naartjie juice
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • salt and pepper


Mix everything together and serve fresh.


Gochujang has gained international fame in the last few years as an essential kitchen staple and I always have some in my pantry (once opened, it keeps well in the fridge for up to two months).

It is a paste made from dried chillies, glutinous rice, salt and fermented soy beans. It has a lovely deep red colour and slightly sweet, salty and smoky tones. Absolutely delicious!

You will quickly find all kinds of ways to use it. Experiment with tomato sauce shakshuka with eggs baked in it for breakfast or spread and bake it in garlic bread.

You can buy gotchujang at your nearest Asian supermarket or online at Takealot or other online platforms. It costs R259/kg and will last a long time.

Pep up bread

My weekly tip is how to spice up store-bought bread. (Sunbake now bakes a sourdough bread, a new staple in a house with teenagers.)

Press out a shape like the round one above before toasting — you can also press out small shapes and toast for a quick plate of salty snacks topped with something like guacamole, or mincemeat and cheese.

You can also use store-bought bread for a fancy cheese and bread cigar with soup or a spread. You roll the slice of bread slightly flatter, sprinkle some cheese over it, roll it up like a cigar then fry it in butter until golden brown.


♦ VWB ♦

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