Kay’s lamb-and-cabbage curry

“Lamb breast and rib tends to be fatty, but the sweet cabbage and the spices help to cut through this,” says Ishay Govender-Ypma, author of Curry, a compilation of stories and recipes from across South Africa. The recipe was contributed by Karnagee (Kay) Govender from Pietermaritzburg. “This is one of those rainy-day dishes made with a collection of lamb ribs and breast meat set aside from the choicer cuts – but with long cooking and the right spicing, it makes for a lip-smacking curry,” says Ishay.

Serves: Four


15 ml (1T) canola oil
1 large sliced onion
15 ml (1T) ground cumin
15 ml (1T) ground coriander
15 ml (1T) turmeric
15 ml (1T) hot masala
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 kg lamb breast meat with bones, cut into pieces
Pinch of salt
15 ml (1T) grated fresh ginger
15 ml (1T) crushed garlic
1 large tomato, halved and sliced
500 g cabbage, finely sliced
250 ml (1 cup) water, plus extra if needed
6 curry leaves
Fresh coriander, rice or roti


1. In a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat, add the oil and onion and cook until light brown.

2. Add the powdered and whole spices and stir well.

3. Rinse the meat and dry well with paper towels. Add to the saucepan and coat with the spices and salt.

4. Add the ginger and garlic and simmer for 10 minutes while stirring.

5. Add the tomato and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

6. Lower the heat. Add the cabbage and water and cook, partially covered, for about 40 minutes or until the meat is tender. Add more water, a little at a time, if needed. Check the seasoning.

7. Add the curry leaves, mix through and garnish with coriander.

Curry by Ishay Govender-YpmaThis recipe originally appeared in Curry: Stories & Recipes Across South Africa by Ishay Govender-Ypma. Republished with the kind permission of Human & Rousseau. Available at good book stores for R395.

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