Denningvleis (Braised Lamb with Sweet and Sour Onions)

The Klutz in the Kitchen was some what flummoxed this morning, I guess it must be lack of sleep or some such thing. He has been like a bull in a china shop the whole day so far, why because he’s been scratching his head in puzzlement about todays recipe and wanting to stay with South African kos, then like a bolt from the blue it struck him the recipe is to be that fordenning-vleis, Nice one Klutz ! Now , the word ‘denning’ originates from the Javanese ‘dendeng’, meaning the meat of a water buffalo but there was a bit of a problem at the time water buffalo were in short supply so lamb was used as a substitute instead. This yummolisious lamb dish is one of the oldest recorded recipes in South African cuisine.  It has a sweet – sour taste and its spices are very evocative of Indonesian cuisine. It is served with either yellow or savoury rice, mashed potatoes and boiled fresh vegetables or a beetroot and onion salad. This is a truly simple and very tasty dish and like a good curry it’s better the day after its cooked. Have fun in the kitchen, cook up a storm of hearty healthy love for family dinner, buon appetite.

Denningvleis (Braised Lamb with Sweet and Sour Onions)


1½ to 2kgs lamb

3 large onions

50ml oil for frying the onions


8 big cloves garlic, crushed

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

6 to 8 whole cloves

6 to 8 whole allspice

1 teaspoon mustard seed

4 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar

20ml sugar (optional)


Trim the fat from the meat, remove the bones and cut the meat into pieces. Wash and drain.

Roughly chop the onions.

Then combine the marinade ingredients, add meat. Marinade the meat for at least one hour.

Heat a little oil in a heavy based pot and fry onions until golden brown.

Add the marinated meat to the onions and cook until meat is very tender and juicy. If you have the time, let it simmer on very low heat for a further half hour. If the meat gets too dry add some water.

Delicious served with yellow rice, mashed potatoes and boiled squash.

Cook’s tip

Soak 50ml tamarind in 100ml water and add to marinade ingredients instead of vinegar or lemon juice.a spice selection

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