What’s cooking today: Kapokbos skaapstertjies

What’s cooking today: Kapokbos skaapstertjies
Tony Jackman’s twice-cooked skaapstertjies. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

In honour of Charlize Theron and what she’s inadvertently done for us, I cooked skaapstertjies, one of the finest treats of the entire Karoo.

Skaapstertjies are a tricky ingredient to cook, as they have a tendency to be tough, but if you cook them twice, first to get them tender and the second time to get them caramelised and crisp, boy do you have a treat in store. (See my Throwback Thursday Skaapstertjies recipe for a different take on this delicacy.)


16 skaapstertjies (sheeps’ tails)

Water to cover

2 long kapokbos sprigs

2 orange or lemon leaves

3 blades of mace

2 pieces of cassia bark

2 Tbsp whole coriander seeds

1 Tbsp black peppercorns

Salt to taste


100 ml tomato paste

A dash of Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp each Sherry vinegar, jerepigo, honey

1 tsp garlic powder

Salt and black pepper for finishing them on the coals or grill


Cook the tails without fat or water in a hot pan on a moderate heat, turning now and then, for about 15 minutes for them to develop flavour and release some of their fat. Add the water, kapokbos, citrus leaves, mace, cassia, coriander seeds, peppercorns and salt lightly. Bring it to a boil and reduce to a simmer, and let it cook, uncovered, on a moderate heat until the water has almost cooked away. This may take up to two hours depending on the intensity of the heat, so keep an eye on it as you don’t want them to burn.

Tip them into a colander (not a koljander) and leave them to drain thoroughly.

Mix the baste ingredients together in a bowl and toss the tails in it, using your hands.

Cook them slowly over hot coals, basting now and then, until they become crisp and golden on the outside. This recipe pairs with this column. DM/TGIFood

If/when you do put them on your menu, please let me know at [email protected] so that I can tell my readers (your potential customers) all about it.

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks. Share your versions of his recipes with him on Instagram and he’ll see them and respond.

SUBSCRIBE to TGIFood here. Also visit the TGIFood platform, a repository of all of our food writing.


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