The word ‘denning’
originates from the Javanese ‘dendeng’,
meaning ‘the meat of a water buffalo’.
Vleis of course is Afrikaans for meat.
Loosely translated therefore ‘Denningvleis’
means ‘The meat of a water buffalo meat’
With that cleared up,
denningvleis is a delicious dish, made with lamb (not
buffalo), that has all the flavors of eastern spices,
but without the bite.
Depending on your budget,
you can use de-boned leg of lamb, lamb breast, knuckles
or even mutton pieces of you prefer.
2 large onions (or 4 regular size onions)
6-8 big cloves garlic crushed
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg (1/2 teaspoon powder)
6-8 whole cloves
6-8 Whole allspice
1 teaspoon mustard seed
4 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
Trim the fat from the meat, remove the bones and cut
the meat into large chunks.
Roughly chop the onions.
Heat a little oil in
a heavy based pot brown the meat a few pieces at a
time to colour the outside, remove and set aside.
Add a little more oil,
reduce the heat to medium and fry the onions until
they become glassy and start to go transparent. Add
the garlic and cook for a few more minutes, stirring
every 30 seconds or so.
Return the meat to the
pot, add all off the spices except the lemon juice
with a heaped teaspoon of salt (or to taste) and pepper
and mix to combine all of the flavours.
Add about 1 ½ cups of water, bring to the boil,
reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 1 1/2
hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so.
The meat is supposed
to be very tender and juicy. If you have the time,
let it simmer on very low heat for a further hour.
Ten minutes before serving, add the lemon juice and
stir in well.
Delicious with yellow
rice and beetroot salad.
I tie the whole spices in a
piece of muslin cloth. Easily removed afterwards,
and avoids the unpleasant experience of biting
on an all-spice.
Even worse, a cardomon pod in curry or biryani!