What’s cooking today: Rooibos cream sauce for steak

What’s cooking today: Rooibos cream sauce for steak
Tony Jackman’s sirloin steak with a rooibos cream sauce. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Rooibos is more than a tea. It’s a colour too. And it’s been selected as one of the top 10 hot fashion hues for the spring of 2024, announced at New York Fashion Week. A good time to bring it back into the kitchen and into our recipes.

When the Fashion Colour Trend Report for the spring of 2024 was announced at New York Fashion Week, the eyes of South Africans in the audience were on stalks. Because one of the top 10 hues for the spring of 2024 was a word and ingredient beloved of all South Africans: rooibos.

That’s the northern hemisphere spring season, of course, when it is autumn in South Africa. But these trends cross over to the southern hemisphere’s seasons too when they arrive.

What is particularly refreshing (just like rooibos tea) is that Pantone has called the colour rooibos, not redbush, the translation often used abroad. Pantone is regarded as the global authority on colour and the arbiter of professional colours for the world’s design industries, including fashion.

Rooibos, the colour, is regarded as the perfect combination of red and brown, perfectly placed midway between the two, and has found its way into other palettes, such as in magazine design and paint products. Maybe it will be on a feature wall of your home one of these days.

Anybody who has travelled the world knows that the scope of our red hot beverage is global now. You can buy rooibos tea everywhere, sometimes labelled redbush, at other times called rooibos. It’s on supermarket shelves and on the menu in cafés and restaurants.

At TGIFood we’re going to get into the spirit of rooibos, including the tea in a number of recipes as we roll towards the end of the year and into 2024, in savoury dishes and in desserts.

To start with, here’s a recipe for a rooibos tea-infused sauce to be served with a steak or with pan-fried chicken breasts. It would also suit a firm-fleshed fish such as kingklip or dorado, grilled.

I like to first fry the fatty edge of a steak before frying it on both sides.

(Serves 2)


2 x 250 g sirloin or ribeye steaks

3 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

A glass of dry white wine

1/2 cup water

3 thyme sprigs

2 rooibos teabags

400 ml cream

Salt and white pepper

Thyme for garnish


Put a plate on the oven rack. Turn the oven on low.

Add butter to the pan and cook the onion and garlic until softened, not coloured. Remove.

Add a dash of oil to the same pan on a high heat and, when hot, put the steaks in with the fat edge down and cook for three minutes.

Cook each of the steaks for two minutes.

Remove to the warmed plate and rest/ keep warm in a low oven for 10 minutes.

Add a small glass of wine and the thyme to the pan, deglaze, then add half a cup of water and the tea bags. Cook it down by half on a moderate heat. Remove the tea bags.

Return the cooked onions and garlic, then add the cream.

Bring it to a simmer and cook gently until the sauce thickens, seasoning with salt and black pepper. Remove the tea bags.

Serve the steak with the sauce and with potato chips, garnished with thyme. DM

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed with wares by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.


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