June 27th, 2009


Cape Malay Curried Lamb and Apricot Sosaties

It was a joy to make these sosaties,as it evoked the wonderful memories of home  life in South Africa. Sosaties is an essential dish to accompany every braai (barbecue) in the Southern region of South Africa. Each territory enjoys different styles of cooking  just as the dialects differ from one region to another. I love a bit of banter, so when invited to a braai it means that the hosts will go completely out of their way to make the best dishes, buy the best quality meats that they can afford and make the finest breads. Their sense of pride makes every such occasion a real treat. There is a seasonal  contest amongst the people, as one always wants to outdo the other with a new best recipe for that year. It’s a bit of fun and this recipe reminds me of the real excitement of organising the braai of the season.

There is a terrific predominant Cape Malay influence in the traditional  cookery history of Cape Town. Malay is the “name” given to  immigrants that came to South Africa from  North Africa,  Malaysia and anywhere in between. These immigrants made Cape Town their home, merged  their different cooking styles which  gives us the classic Cape Malay cooking style and traditions as we know it today.

Sosaties is one of those adapted “Cape Malay” influenced dishes that has been passed on from generation to generation. Sosaties is a typical South African kebab made with lamb steeped in a spicy curry marinade. The secret to a good sosatie  is the cooking of the marinade. It needs to simmer over low heat for a half an hour, the sugars caramelises and all the flavours start working together to make this a delicious marinade. Another essential factor is the time the meat is left to marinade, the longer you leave the meat in the marinade the more flavoursome and tender the meat becomes. The best cut of lamb for this dish  is the shoulder, a good bit of fat is essential.

I always make a good size batch of marinade, jar some and keep it in the fridge. It’s forms the perfect base for my home made curries and a  tablespoonful  stirred in with cooked chicken and crème fraîche makes a lovely coronation chicken sandwich too!


Cape Malay Sosatie Marinade

  • 40ml olive oil
  • 2 large onions chopped
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 3 sticks of celery chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 175ml cider vinegar
  • 2tbs Worcester sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 150g peach or mango chutney
  • 2 whole red chillies, chopped
  • 3 table spoons of demerara sugar
  • 150g water
  • 1tsp garam masala
  • 1tbs mild Madras curry powder
  • 1tbs whole coriander seeds

Place the garlic, coriander seeds, a small portion of oil and seasoning in a pestle and mortar and crush.

Heat a medium size saucepan with the rest of the oil and saute the chopped onions, celery and the crushed garlic mix until golden brown.

Add the remaining spices, bay leaf, sugar and chopped chillies, saute for a further 2 minutes.

De-glaze the pan with the vinegar and Worcester sauce, cook until the liquids have thickened, add the chutney and water.

Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook the marinade for about 30 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and use a hand held stick blender to pulse blend the marinade until a spreadable paste, it's your choice if you want a smooth or slightly coarse marinade.

Let the marinade cool completely, the marinade is better if it sits for one day as the flavours blend together.

Lamb Sosaties

  • 600g shoulder of lamb
  • 200g Cape Malay Sosatie Marinade
  • 12 large juice dried apricots
  • 12 bay leaves

Remove some of the fat and sinew and cut the lamb roughly in 15g pieces, I work on 6 pieces per skewer.

Mix the diced lamb with the marinade, transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for a minimum of one day.

Soak 6 bamboo skewers in cold water a half hour before your ready to assemble the skewers.

Skewer 6 pieces of marinated lamb with two dried apricots and 12 bay leaves per skewer.

Cook the sosaties on a preheated barbecue, turn regularly to ensure an even colour all over about 10 - 12 minutes in total.

Serves 6

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4 Comments to “Cape Malay Curried Lamb and Apricot Sosaties”

  1. peter says:

    I spent eight years in SA and I remember doing this recipe at weekends and boy dit is lekka brai as they say you will lick your fingers off when you have these. Followed with Kooksisters. What a feast?

  2. [...] Cape Malay Curried Lamb and Apricot Sosaties Recipe by Madalene … [...]

  3. Now this is a conversation I can now have with my South African friends here in New Zealand. You really evoke the spirit of SA entertaining cuisine.

  4. Sue says:

    You bring back so many memories of South Africa. We lived in Jo’burg for 3 years eons ago and, boy, did they love their braais and so did we! A slice of melktart afterwards would hit the spot perfectly.

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