Lamb sosaties are a common feature of a classic South African braai (BBQ). The apricot and curry marinade might sound unusual but it adds a wonderful flavor to these tasty kebabs. So easy and delicious!
If you think it’s just the Southern US that does barbecue, you’d be wrong. True, they have a particular style, but grilling is a big part of the culture in many other places as well. In South Africa, it’s called a braai (Afrikaans for grill/barbecue) and these sosaties are a popular favorite.
Where does the name sosatie come from?
Sosaties are a Cape Malay dish and the name comes from the words “sate” meaning skewered meat and “saus”, a spicy sauce in Afrikaans. While this is a dish that originated in the Cape Malay area, they have spread in popularity around the country.
There are a few variations to the sosaties marinade, but most at least include apricot jam, curry powder and garlic. Most recipes I found use wine vinegar, although I have seen some mention of tamarind which I imagine would be a tasty alternative.
The combination of fruit and curry flavors is something you’ll see in a few Cape Malay recipes, like the classic bobotie, and give such delicious results.
What food do you have at a South African braai?
A braai is typically all about the meat, with skewers like these, sausages like the classic boerewars, pork and lamb chops, marinated chicken and steaks all common. Before it’s ready, you might snack on chips and dips and billtong, similar to jerky.
The most classic side in some areas, including the Cape Malay, is pap which is a kind of polenta-like thick cornmeal porridge. Another popular dish is chakalaka, a spicy vegetable relish. You’ll also find salads like potato salad. Another popular choice, especially for kids, is grilled cheese cooked on the grill.
Here we kept it simple with some salad and fried potatoes, which worked well.
Can you make sosaties with other meats?
Absolutely! This marinade can be used with beef and chicken as well. Lamb is simply the most common way to make these skewers, and the apricots do go particularly well with lamb.
How to make sosaties
- Soften the onion in a little oil and add the garlic and ginger.
- Add the vinegar, jam, curry powder and cumin. Mix well then leave to cool.
- Dice the lamb then mix through the cooled marinade. Leave a few hours or overnight.
- Soak the apricots in warm water to soften.
- Thread the meat onto skewers along with dried apricots and chunks of onion.
- Cook until the meat is cooked through then serve.
Not all recipes I found include onion in the marinade, but I felt it would add a nice additional flavor. Some didn’t warm the marinade but especially using onion, you want a softened onion rather than raw onion flavor. It also helps the ingredients to combine properly which would be much harder if cold.
One of the great things about these sosaties is you can prepare them ahead and then they take just a few minutes to thread on skewers, cook and enjoy. The flavors are delicious and everyone in our family was immediately a huge fan. These are definitely going to be a regular on our summer menu!
Looking for more marinated grilling ideas? Try these:
Plus get many more ideas in my summer recipes, from sides to drinks and more.
- 1/4 onion
- 1 clove garlic grated or finely chopped
- 1 tsp ginger (fresh) grated or finely chopped
- 3 tbsp apricot jam
- 3 tbsp wine vinegar (white or red - I used white)
- 1 tbsp curry powder (eg Madras)
- 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt
For rest of skewers
- 1 lb lamb leg diced, 450g - can also use shoulder
- 16 apricots 100g, approx
- 1/2 onion
- Finely chop the onion then soften it in a little oil in a small pan until it is becoming translucent but not browning.
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook a minute then add the vinegar, jam, curry powder, cumin and salt. Mix well then remove from heat and leave to cool.
- Dice the lamb into relatively large dice (around 1 1/2-2 inch/ 4-5cm dice), trimming excess fat or sinew. Mix the cooled marinade through the lamb then cover and leave a few hours or overnight, refrigerated.
- Soak the apricots in hot water to soften for around 15-20 minutes.
- Thread the meat onto skewers along with the soaked dried apricots and chunks of onion, putting one or other between each chunk of meat.
- Cook on a grill/bbq until the meat is cooked through then serve.
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