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Denningvleis - spiced fricassee of lamb
Dendeng is a Malay word for meat which was cut in slices and cured with salt and spices, dried in the sun and then grilled with coconut oil. It was made from the meat of a Water Buffalo was served as a main course in the Batavian Rystafel.
Denningvleis, now seldom served, is a favourite dish of the people of the Cape, using interesting combinations of spices. It is usually served with steamed white basmati rice.
The old Cape Malay recipes all call for "fat leg of mutton meat". This recipe uses shoulder and a little of the fat would add to the flavour.
To serve 4 - 6, you'll need:
- 3 large onions, peeled and sliced very thinly
- 4 large cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 chili, deseeded and finely chopped
- a little vegetable oil
- 1kg boned shoulder of lamb cut into cubes, 2.5cm square
- extra water or lamb stock for the cooking process if required
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 whole cloves
- 5 whole allspice
- salt and freshly milled black pepper
- 2 tablespoons tamarind
- a little boiling water
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
In a heavy casserole with a tight fitting lid gently fry the onions, garlic and chili in the oil until the onions are soft and transparent. Place the meat, washed in fresh water (to provide a little moisture to the steaming process) on top. Add the bay leaves, cloves, allspice, salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste.
Cover with a round of greaseproof paper and the lid of the pot and steam gently over low heat for about 45 minutes. Check from time to time to ensure that the meat is not cooking dry or burning.
Add very little water or lamb stock if necessary. Meantime soak the broken up tamarind in about 3 tablespoons of boiling water. Strain and set aside for later use. After the 45 minutes sprinkle over the tamarind water and the freshly grated nutmeg. If you are not able to get tamarind, use half lemon juice or vinegar, half water. Jars of Tamarind paste are available on supermarket shelves.
Simmer again for a further fifteen minutes, remove the whole spices, and reseason if necessary. Serve with steamed white rice.
in the Sunday Times by Neil Pendock
People, places, wine and food
by Michael Olivier
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