Try tasty sweet and curry flavours of South Africa at your next barbecue

South African lamb and apricot kebabs (sosaties) are a really nice mix of sweet and curry flavours, perfect for a summer barbecue.

PREP TIME: 15 mins + 24 hrs marinading
 15 mins
crowd-pleaser, barbecue


It’s the South African version of a kebab.

A traditional Cape Malay dish, sosaties are usually made using marinated lamb or mutton cooked on skewers.

But there are many variations these days.

Cape Malay

The Cape Malays are the only cultural group of their kind globally.

“Cape Malay” refers to the Muslim community which descends from slaves, prisoners, and political exiles.

And were transported by the Dutch East India Company to the Western Cape of South Africa, which was declared a Dutch colony in 1652.

They came to be called Cape Malays as they all spoke Malay, an important trading language at that time.

And their interaction with the Dutch produced a ‘kitchen’ Dutch that was the beginnings of the Afrikaans language

If you visit Cape Town, then head to Bo-Kaap, which is the Malay quarter.

The buildings are brightly coloured and it’s well worth a visit especially if you can sample Cape Malay curry.

Much like the sosaties, this curry is rich in spices and fruits, particularly dried apricots.

Prepping Lamb and apricot kebabs (sosaties)

Sosaties are not difficult to make.

It’s essentially a kebab, after all.

However, it is really advisable to try and marinate your meat 24 hrs before you grill them.

This way you’ll get maximum flavour and if you use lamb neck, it will tenderise the meat.

The marinade is curry powders, curry seeds, garlic, apricot jam and red wine vinegar.

And this marinade will give you the most delicious sweet, curry-flavoured sosatie.

South African sosaties (or lamb and apricot kebabs)

What is a kebab?

Small meat cubes cooked on skewers, right?

However, the kebab has a rich history and there are many varieties depending on the country where it is cooked. 

From ground meat to big chunks on large skewers called shish, the kebab has a variety of preparation methods. 

And if you’ve ever been to London’s Bricklane, you can pretty much see the different countries and variations available.

Doner kebab

The meat is sliced thinly, stacked onto each other in an upside-down cone shape, and cooked on a vertical rotisserie. 

The outer layer of the sizzling meat is shaved off and served either in bread or on a plate with various vegetables, sauces, and bread.

Shish kebab

Also called Turkish sis kebab, this is the most well-known outside of the Middle East i.e. cubes of meat on skewers.

Hang on… what is a Shawarma, then?

Shawarma is popular in the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula.

It grills the meat horizontally on a rotisserie – shawarma, which means ‘turning’ in Turkish. 

Basically, shawarma is a kebab variety.

So, now we have all that cleared up…

I would crack on with this wonderful lamb and apricot sosatie (or kebab) dish.


Lamb and apricot kebabs (sosaties)

Course Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Keyword barbecue kebab, BBQ, BBQ lamb, chicken skewers, kebabs, lamb and apricot kebabs, lamb and apricot sosaties, lamb kebab, lamb neck, lamb shish, lamb skewers, skewers, sosaties
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinade 1 day
Total Time 1 day 30 minutes
Servings 8 kebabs
Author Delicious magazine
Cost £


  • 8 BBQ skewers


  • 900 g lamb neck fillet, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 6-8 wedges and separate into slivers
  • 200 g dried apricot

Apricot curry marinade

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 4 cardamon pods
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 bay leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 5 tbsp apricot jam
  • 5 tbsp red wine vinegar



  • Add the cumin and coriander seeds and cardamom pods to a pan over medium heat and toast for a couple of minutes, stirring, until they smell fragrant.
    Tip in a pestle and mortar and roughly grind.
  • Pour the oil into the pan and add the chopped onion, bay leaves and salt and gently cook for 15 – 20 mins until softened.
    Then add the garlic, crushed spices, turmeric and cinnamon and cook for another minute.
    Add the apricot jam and the vinegar and grind in a decent amount of pepper.
    Cook for a few minutes until the jam has melted and the sauce is nice and sticky, then pour into a bowl and let cool.
  • After the marinade has cooled, add the lamb and coat all the pieces, then cover and leave in the fridge for 24 hours or more (if you have the time).

Barbecue the kebabs

  • Thread the lamb pieces onto skewers, alternating with the slivers of onion and apricots.
    Then lay the skewers on the grill over the hot coals and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until the lamb is cooked and the apricots are lightly charred.



Recipe: Delicious magazine