Recipe by Fatima SydowCourse: MainCuisine: Cape Malay

So many people are a bit baffled when I say I’m making denning and I often have to explain the meaning of the word. It originated from the Javanese word dendeng, which is water buffalo meat. Here in the Cape though, we use lamb or mutton. It’s uniquely sweet-and-sour taste comes from the addition of tamarind. A true gem of a dish.


  • 45 ml (3 T) oil

  • 4 onions, finely chopped

  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped

  • 1.5 kg lamb or mutton pieces

  • 5 bay leaves

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 3 whole allspice (pimento)

  • salt and black pepper to taste

  • 45 ml (3 T) tamarind paste stirred into 250 ml (1 C) boiling water and 45 ml (3 T) sugar.


  • Heat the oil in a large pot on medium to high heat, then add the onions and green pepper and brown well. Add the meat and brown well on all sides.
  • Next, add the bay leaves, garlic, allspice, salt and pepper and braise for 3 minutes. Add 250 ml (1 C) warm water and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour in the tamarind mixture and cook on medium heat until the meat is tender (about 1 hour for lamb and 1 and a 1/2 hours for mutton) and the sauce has thickened. Serve with mashed potatoes and veggies.


  • Tip:
    If you don’t have tamarind paste, simply replace it with a mixture of 45 ml (3 T) vinegar and 45 ml (3 T) sugar.

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