Crispy fried lamb tails with fresh chilli & lime

Lamb tails / “skaapstertjies”
This is one of my favourite things to work with and to cook.  I use sheep’s tails not lamb tails, (lamb tails just sounds better), but lamb tails are too small and for the effort not worthwhile.

You can approach this delicacy from a few different and angles.

As a kid and from my father’s recollection, I know that my grand mom use to make a “bredie” with them. Cooked in a pressure cooker until falling of the bone and then mixed with cooked and finely diced green beans for the “boontjie bredie”.

Crispy lamb tail with chilli

She would also pot them, almost like confit duck, by slowly rendering the fat from the tails until the tails were covered in the fat. then add cloves, and whole nutmeg before the heat was turned down and the sheep tails will slowly simmer in their own fat until soft and golden. They are then neatly packed in glass jars, with sage and cloves and then covered  with the warm fat from the cooing process.

It was always a great joy when she opened one of those jars with the fresh “semel brood” that came out of the oven.

Lamb tails became a party snack in our family and extended family. Almost always we had lamb tails with every braai opportunity. Slowly cooked over an open wood fire until the fat was rendered and crispy, with lemon and bbq spice. Not a lot of braai snacks will come close to a perfectly cooked sheep tail.

My brother had a good supply of sheep tails and good quality at that. He supplied everyone with sheep tails, already trimmed of the excess fat and spiced with bbq spice (six gun grill from crown national).

All kind of recipes and methods were tried with the sheep tails. His favourite method is to boil the tails with some herbs and spices till the meat are soft and the fat is rendered. The tails are then dusted or double coated with egg and flour and fried till crispy. He serves it with his interpretation of noac cham sauce “much better than the real noac cham” he will always say.

I must admit that it really is something special and surely not a dish and taste that you will get anywhere.

How to create a recipe that will entice people to try a dish of lamb tails has always been one of my ambitions. I have done lamb tails at our restaurant on many occasions and in many ways.


To start with you need to find some good quality sheep tail from your butcher. The bigger the better and don’t be bothered about the fat. A serving of 3 tails will be enough for a starter portion.


Recipe: Crispy lamb tails with chilli

(Serves 3)

6 lamb tails, trimmed and scored

To prepare the lamb tails. Boil the lamb tails in lightly salted water with a piece of celery, leek and carrot. Add some cinnamon, black pepper and cloves to the pot when it starts to boil. Boil for 1 hour depending on the size of the tails. Check regularly to make sure it’s not to soft. It is done when you can feel the meat starting to become soft.

Remove the tails from the water, dry the tails and refrigerate. When the tails are cold and nicely set. Dust them with a little seasoned flour. It should be lightly coated. Now fry the tails in 170 degree oil till golden brown and crispy.

Using a spoon, remove the tails and place them on kitchen paper. Transfer to a mixing bowl and then spoon some of the chilli and lime dipping sauce into the bowl and mix to coat the tails evenly. Arrange on your plate or even in a basket.

Garnish with fresh chilli, coriander and lime.

Chilli and lime dipping sauce

1 tbs roasted rice (cracked in a pestle and mortar to a powder)

2 tsp chilli powder

1 tbs fish sauce

4 tbs lime juice

2 tbs chopped green onions

2 tbs finely chopped coriander

1 clove garlic finely chopped

2 tbs fine sugar

6 tbs Water


Combine all the ingredient together and mix well. Now add little water at a time to get your desired consistency.

Here is some pictures from my dish. If you enjoyed this recipe please share on Facebook and like our page.



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