South African Malay Curry Recipe

This recipe is a typical South African Malay Curry. The first Malay people in South Africa were brought as slaves from what is today Indonesia. As a result of the influence of the Malay and West Asians from the Indian sub-continent who came later, many curry dishes are popular in South Africa.


  • 3 Tablespoons of cooking oil
    2 onions, sliced
    1 clove of garlic, minced
    1 small piece fresh ginger root, peeled and crushed
    1 teaspoon turmeric
    1 teaspoon dried coriander
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 stick of cinnamon (or a half-teaspoon ground cinnamon)
    1 teaspoon curry powder (or more, to taste)
    4 cloves
    2 pounds lamb, (or beef) cut into bite-sized cubes
    1 eggplant, cut into slices or cubes
    1 sweet green pepper, cleaned and chopped
    1 to two hot green chili peppers
    1 cup dried apricots, soaked in warm water and drained
    1e small can tomato paste
    1 teaspoon vinegar
    2 cups beef broth or stock (or lamb stock if available)
    1-half cup apricot jam
    1 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk (soymilk may be used as a Kosher alternative)


  • Heat the oil in a large pot.
    Over high heat, fry the onions and garlic, stirring continuously.
    Add the spices and continue stirring for a minute.
    Reduce heat slightly.
    Add the meat and fry it until it is browned on all sides. (This may be easier if you remove the onions and set them aside, then return them to the pot after the meat is browned.)
    Add all remaining ingredients except the apricot jam and yogurt (or buttermilk or soymilk).
    Cover. Reduce heat. Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, until everything is tender, approximately an hour.
    Stir in jam and yogurt (or buttermilk or soymilk) a few minutes before serving.
About Rabbi Michael Sternfield

Michael Sternfield has been a Reform rabbi for 40 years, most recently serving at Chicago Sinai Congregation from 1995 until 2013. He served for 20 years as spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel in San Diego, and briefly as the leader of the Durban, South Africa Progressive Jewish Congregation during South Africa’s historic transition to multi-racial democracy. He is now based in Los Angeles, California.