Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Beef sosaties

Sosaties (soSAHteez) are traditional South African meat skewers cooked on the braai (barbecue). Everybody's granny had the best recipe, including mine, who loved to tell everyone that I had once eaten thirteen of her famous sosaties in a single sitting... and it was no more than the truth.

If you're a purist, you should be using lean pork and mutton fat. But I'm not a purist and I happen to like beef, so my sosaties are made using beef steak. Obviously, if you live in the UK, it's best to wait until there's a special promotion on, because steak is stupidly expensive. But you can also try any other meat, including white meats such as turkey breast or chicken... even firm fleshed fish.

750g beef (or whatever), cut into 2.5cm cubes
2 large onions, 1 finely chopped, the other divided into layers and then into 2.5cm squares
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
15ml medium curry powder
5ml turmeric
15ml brown sugar
4 curry/bay leaves (see note below), finely chopped
45ml brown vinegar
2 lemons, sliced
125ml meat stock
125g dried apricots
1 green pepper cut into 2.5cm squares
A little oil for frying
Wooden meat skewers

Ready for the fire....
  • Place the meat and the leaves into a non-metallic bowl (for some reason this is important). I suspect that it had to do with aluminium and that stainless steel would probably be safe, but my gran was almost superstitious in her insistence that the bowl should not be metal. Mix them about so that the leaves are evenly dispersed among the cubes of meat.
  • In a saucepan, saute the chopped onion, garlic, turmeric and curry powder together, until the onion has softened.
  • Add the meat stock, sugar and lemon slices and bring to the boil.
  • Remove from the heat and add the vinegar.
  • Pour over the meat and stir well to ensure even distribution.
  • Cover and set aside overnight. If you want to play it safe, pop it in the fridge, but beef is pretty robust in my experience, and can handle room temperature overnight.
  • Skewer the meat, interspersed with slices of green pepper, onion and dried apricots.
  • Cook over a very hot (about as hot as for steak) open fire for about 10 minutes, turning and basting with the left over sauce.
  • Serve with all the usual barbecue/braai suspects.
  • If you like, you can squeeze lemon juice over them before eating, but I reckon that ruins them (any my granny wouldn't have approved!)
Note about those curry leaves
These aren't easy to come by, I know. So if you can't get your hands on them, use bay leaves. However, I have to tell you that my gran reckoned it was the curry leaves that were the secret ingredient that made the sosaties special.

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