Our recipe for Cape Malay Lamb Curry combines a delicious mixture of flavors and spices that reflect the mixture of historical influences that make South Africa the country it is today.
South Africa is a blend of cultures. Over centuries of colonization and immigration, the indigenous cultures were influenced by Europeans from the Netherlands, Germany, France, Portugal, and Great Britain.
Europeans, in turn, brought slaves from Asia, including India, Malaysia, and Indonesia, which also had a unique influence on the culture. Each population brought their own food and styles of cooking to the region, as well.
Today, “typical” South African specialties range from air dried meat and sausage (biltong and boerewors); barbecued meat, chicken and fish (cooked on a “brai”) ; Indian-influenced samosas; all sorts of game; meat pies; and of course, there are the curries.
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The Cape Malay people, who trace their ancestry back to the slaves transported from Southeast Asia (particularly what is today Indonesia) have a unique cuisine similar to Indonesian food. Their culinary influence has introduced spicy curries, pickled fish, and variety of fish stews to South African cuisine.
We met a chef in Cape Town who shared her family recipe for a traditional lamb curry, on which we partially based this recipe. We’ve added potatoes and carrots to give the curry more body. The final addition of creme fraiche (or yogurt) isn’t typical of this type of curry, but it adds a layer of creaminess to the spicy mixture that evens it out nicely.
If you want to serve this Cape Malay Lamb Curry in a unique way, make it into bunny chow. Take a loaf of white bread, hollow it out, and fill it to the brim with the spicy curry!
- 3 Tbs (45 ml) vegetable oil
- 2 Lb (900 g) of lamb leg meat, cubed
- Salt and pepper
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 Cups (280 g) of Potato, Cubed
- 2 Carrots, Cubed
- 1 inch (2.5 cm) Square of Fresh Ginger, freshly grated
- 2 Tbs (12 g) Cumin
- 2 Tbs (12 g) Garam Masala
- 1 Tbs (6 g) Ground Coriander
- 1 Tbs (6 g) Turmeric
- 2 Tbs (12 g) Curry powder
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 4 Tomatoes, crushed or grated
- 2 (475 ML) Cups of Beef Stock
- 2 Tbs (30 g) of Creme Fraiche or Plain Yogurt
- Fresh Cilantro, Coriander for Garnish
- Generously salt and pepper the lamb cubes
- Brown lamb over medium/high heat in 1 Tbs of oil (about 3 minutes)
- Remove lamb from pan
- Lower heat to medium
- Add 1 Tbs of oil to pan
- Add onions, and cook at medium until soft
- Add garlic, carrots, and potatoes, and all the spices.
- Stir pan so everything is coated with spice mixture
- Cook for 3 minutes
- Add tomato and beef stock and bring to a boil.
- Add lamb back and reduce heat to a simmer
- Cook until lamb is soft and fork tender (approximately 2 hours)
- Remove from heat
- Stir in creme fraiche or yogurt, garnish with cilantro and serve with rice
Amount Per Serving Calories 344Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 51mgSodium 295mgCarbohydrates 29gFiber 6gSugar 8gProtein 20g