What’s cooking today: Ginger beer lamb curry

What’s cooking today: Ginger beer lamb curry
Ginger beer lamb rib curry. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

I’ve made hundreds of traditional lamb curries, but decided to ring the changes with this lamb rib curry cooked in a potjie with curry spices and homemade ginger beer.

Do try this. I’m not usually one to mess with a good old-fashioned South African curry, but spotting a 500 ml bottle of the delicious ginger beer they brew at Daggaboer Farmstall, on the N10 about 45 km from Cradock on the road to Port Elizabeth, got me thinking. Always a gamble, this sort of thing, but… it was so, so delicious, and I will certainly make it again. You could of course make it in a heavy pot on the stove top.


3 Tbsp cooking oil

1 kg lamb rib pieces

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp ground dhania/ coriander seeds

1 tsp ground jeera/ cumin seeds

1 tsp ground fennel/ soomph seeds

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cloves

3 heaped tsp garam masala or other spice cupboard masala

Salt to taste

1 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes

500 ml homemade ginger beer (the kind you buy at a farm stall or tuisnywerheid)

Coriander leaves for garnishing.


Heat the cooking oil in a potjie over hot coals and add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until softened, then add the spices including the masala and braise for 3 minutes.

Add the lamb pieces and stir to coat.

Add the chopped tomatoes and ginger beer, salt generously (within reason), and stir well.

Put the lid on the potjie, add more coals underneath and a few on the lid, and simmer for up to 3 hours until the meat is falling off those little rib bones.

Lift the lid every half hour or so to make sure there is still plenty of liquid. You don’t want it cooking away and the remainder starting to catch at the bottom of the potjie.

Ideally, you need lots of the curry’s self-made sauce to soak up the basmati rice you’re about to make. Garnish with some chopped coriander. DM/TGIFood

Our Thank God It’s Food newsletter is sent to subscribers every Friday at 6pm, and published on the TGIFood platform on Daily Maverick. It’s all about great reads on the themes of food and life. Subscribe here.

Send your recipes to [email protected] with a hi-resolution horizontal (landscape) photo.

To enquire about Tony Jackman’s book, foodSTUFF (Human & Rousseau) please email him at [email protected]


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