When you find yourself travelling through the Karoo, make sure to stock up on the local Karoo lamb meat.  Lamb shanks need time on the fire, the longer you leave the shanks on the fire to simmer over low coals, the more tender the meat will be and all the flavours can develop intensely. Remember this is not a race, it is a journey. Serves 4.


  • 4 Karoo lamb shanks
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tots curry powder
  • 1 tot fresh ginger, grated or ginger powder
  • 1 tot  ground turmeric
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 stick whole cinnamon
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • water
  • 1 tot tomato past


  1. Braai the lamb shanks in the potjie with olive oil over the flames of your fire for a minute or three to burn away some of the fat and brown the meat.
  2. Add a bit more oil to the potjie and sauté the onion for a few minutes and season the shanks with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the garlic, sauté for another couple of minutes and then add the curry powder, ginger, turmeric, cloves and whole cinnamon. Toss these around for about a minute to release their flavours.
  4. Add the tin of tomatoes and tomato paste to the pot. Use the empty tin, fill it with water and add to the pot.
  5. Put the lid on the potjie. Now you want the lamb shanks to cook very gently like this for 2 – 3 hours. You want some coals under the potjie and you also want some coals on the lid of the potjie. This is not a race, it’s a journey.
  6. Every so often you can lift the lid, taking care not to get any coals or ash from the lid into the potjie, and check on progress. There should be a gentle bubble and the potjie must not run dry. If it’s not making any noise it’s either dry and you need to add a bit more water, if there is no sound, it’s simply not cooking at all and you need to add more coals under the pot and onto the lid.
  7. After 3 hours, check that the meat will come loose from the bone when encouraged to do so by a utensil. If this is the case, the potjie is ready. If not, let it carry on simmering for a while.
  8. At this stage you want to have built a big fire with good flames, called an atmosfire, around which you and your guests will enjoy the meal.
  9. Serve the lamb shanks with rice. If the sauce is too runny and watery, put the potjie without the shanks back onto the flames of the atmosfire without the lid and let it reduce and thicken for a few minutes while all your guests fill their wine glasses, switch off their phones and prepare for the meal. Now finish off each meal by topping the lamb shank with some sauce from the pot, and garnish with chopped fresh herbs.