Cape Malay Curry


Cape Malay Curry

Perhaps the most famous South African cuisine that comes from the Western Cape, where the Cape Malay people – descendants of enslaved and indentured workers brought by the Dutch East India Company from Southeast and South Asia – have a vibrant cuisine infused with local influences.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes

Cuisine South African

Calories 676 kcal



  • 1.5 kg boneless lamb shoulder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 onions chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 inch raw ginger grated
  • 1 tbsp mild curry power
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick cinnamon or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 buds clove or 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 250 g dried apricots soaked and drained
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup beef or chicken stock



  • In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat, and add onions and garlic. Fry and stir occasionally.
  • Add ginger, curry powder, and spices and continue stirring for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Add lamb and fry until browned on all sides. If you like, remove and set aside the onion/garlic/spice mixture and return it to the pot after browning meat.
  • Add carrots, apricots, paste, red wine vinegar and stock. Reduce heat to simmer and cover pot. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until everything is tender – (approx. 1.5 to 2 hours). Add more stock liquid if needed.


Recipe adapted from The Thinking Garden, Elizabeth Vibert and Basani Ngobeni.

Recipe Tip

Try topping with apricot jam and plain yogurt!

Nutrition Facts

Disclaimer: the Nutrition Facts table reflects an approximation of the recipe’s nutrient content based on data from Canadian Nutrient File by Health Canada as of August 2020. The nutrient values are estimates and actual amounts will vary by ingredient source, freshness, preparation etc.