Sosatie is essentially a traditional South African meat dish that is cooked on skewers. The meat of choice is lamb, and vegetables are often cooked and served with the dish. The name of the dish is derived from the Afrikaans words sate, which means skewered meat' and saus, which means spicy sauce.
The dish has often been termed as the unofficial national delicacy of South Africa. It is a very common household preparation as well as a regular feature on menus of eateries, restaurants and cafes. Immigrants have taken the dish with them to different parts of the world and popularized it almost everywhere.
Sosaties can be grilled, pan fried or barbequed.
History and Origin of Sosaties
While there are various different theories about how the dish came into being, the one that is most popularized links Sosatie back to Cape Malay community. Early settlers wanted to make the most of all the ingredients locally available and thus came up with a meat dish that was not only easy to make but also ensured that vegetables are cooked without the requirement of lots of spices, oil, herbs, etc.
Ingredients Used in the Preparation of Sosaties
When made in the traditional way, Sosatie consist of lamb meat chunks, onion, garlic, curry powder, lemon juice, meat stock and turmeric. Green chilies are often added to make the dish hotter and more flavorful and garlic can be used as a seasoning agent to add taste as well as aroma. Green and/or red bell peppers are added in certain local variations of the dish.
While lamb is the meat of preference, just about any meat can be used in the preparation of Sosaties. Beef, pork, chicken, and even seafood, are used to make the dish.
Preparation Overview of Sosaties
While Sosatie is not a difficult dish to make in itself, the marinating part can be a little tricky and might require some practice. Before the meat is grilled, fried or barbequed, it needs to be marinated for about 24 hours so as to ensure maximum flavor and aroma. The meat chunks are marinated in a mixture of stock, lemon juice, curry powder and turmeric (the mixture is made by boiling the ingredients together). Once the meat is ready to be cooked, the onions, peppers, etc., are quickly sautéed and skewered with the meat. Sosaties can either be grilled, fried or barbequed.
Popular Sosaties Recipe Variations
Although there are many local Sosatie variations, these are all basically based on the type of meat, vegetables and spices used to make the dish. While some variations use chicken, others use pork, and some other recipes call for the use of beef or even seafood. In a popular variation of the dish, apricots are an important ingredient and are cooked with the meat.
The traditional method of cooking Sosatie is over a baraai (African barbeque) and the dish is mostly cooked in the open.