One of the oldest Cape Malay dishes around is our beloved ‘Denningvleis’, a dish I adore cooking, especially on the days when I miss home terribly. I discovered that the Indonesian variation called “Deng Deng” share two similar ingredients with our local dish, and these are tamarind for tartness and sugar for sweetness. I made this dish with tamarind, brown vinegar and with freshly squeezed lemon juice – I wanted to ascertain whether there was a difference in flavour. I didn’t find a significant variance. I will say, though, that I prefer using tamarind because it isn’t as invasive or aggressive as vinegar. Once the tamarind is diluted with warm water, the liquid is a subtle infusion of the tartness you need for this dish. It also enhances the flavour of the meat perfectly. The tamarind liquid transforms into a smooth sauce-like consistency which assists in thickening the gravy of the dish. Use sparingly, though; tamarind can be quite pungent, and a little does go a long way. 

This recipe can be found in my cookbook “Cooking for my father in My Cape Malay Kitchen”, also known as “My Cape Malay Kitchen”, or viewed on Expresso Recipe’s Youtube Channel. Available at all bookstores in South Africa and online worldwide on Amazon.

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