lamb koeksisters
Lamb Koeksister / Photo: Mickey Hoyle

Have you ever made lamb koeksisters? Not? Really?

Well scribble down the recipe below. If you can plait hair, koeksisters and wool, you can plait lamb belly. And what a great party trick.

The plaited lamb belly, up top, was served with prickly pear, apricots and butternut, courtesy of the African Relish Cooking School in Prince Albert. One of the many delicious meals presented to us on our Karoo trip.

You’ll find more of the cooking school’s beautiful Karoo-inspired food on P27 of our Winter Issue No.84. Try their slow-braised ostrich neck. We fell in love with their kitchen garden, and are planning a trip back there to do a weekend cooking course.


This is a regional Prince Albert favourite and is a great way to use a cut of lamb that normally gets ignored and relegated to the sausage mincer. Slow cooking is the key for this melt-in-the-mouth dish. Lamb bellies are cut into broad strips and plaited and secured with a toothpick to form a ‘koeksister’.

[Serves 6]


  • 2 lamb bellies, trimmed
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 50 g tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1,5 litres rich brown stock
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 375 ml good red wine
  • head of garlic, sliced in half
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 sprig lemon thyme


Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Cut the lamb belly into broad strips approximately 15cm long and 6cm wide, then slit down the middle lengthwise and leave the one end attached. Plait into a ‘koeksister’ shape and secure at loose end with a toothpick. Place in a deep roasting pan with the garlic, rosemary, bay leaves and thyme.

Heat some oil in a deep sauté pan and cook the onions until slightly coloured. Add the carrots and celery and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the alcohol has evaporated and then add the stock, tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir and cook for a few minutes for the sauce to combine and season well with salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce over the lamb koeksister in the roasting pan and cover with foil. Place in oven and cook at 220°C for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 140°C and cook for at least 4 hours. Check periodically and top up with stock if necessary. Enjoy your lamb koeksister with a glass of red wine.

Posted by Jenny Mason