Kebab or Sosatie … which is it to you?

Generally, the basic items on a braai are the likes of boerewors and steak, but another popular favourite to braai is the kebab. A kebab is generally described as pieces of meat, or complementary foods, placed on a long shaft or thin rod to hold several pieces together while cooking over a grill or roasting over a fire. In addition to commercially produced skewers made of wood or metal, skewers made from natural materials are also available.

Some lovely options using natural skewers range from bay leaf branches for cooking beef and pork, cinnamon sticks for cooking chicken, pork, or fruit, lemongrass stalks for chicken, duck, pork, scallops, shrimp, and tofu, rosemary branches for chicken, lamb and shrimp, and sugarcane stalks for chicken, pork or shrimp.

Since metal skewers retain the heat of the grill or fire, make sure food is never eaten directly from the metal or it may cause a severe burn.

Rather than the round rod skewers, flat metal skewers are typically better at keeping food solidly positioned so the food items can be turned without rotating on the rod. Wood skewers need to be soaked first to avoid being ignited while the food is cooking.

Kebabs are said to have originated in Turkey when soldiers would grill chunks of freshly hunted animals skewed on swords on open field fires. The name was discovered through a Turkish script of Kyssa-I Yusuf in 1377, which is the oldest known source of where kebabs became a meal item. There is also evidence of the use of skewers found at a 300 000 year old site in Schoningen in Germany, where a stick with a burnt tip was found to have been used to cook meat over a fire.

The English word Kebab or in Northern America a Kabob, often occurring as  shish kebab is now a culinary term used in many countries for small pieces of meat cooked on a skewer.

Here in South Africa we like to call a kebab a sosatie. The word derives from sate (skewered meat) and saus (spicy sauce).

Generally when using chicken to make this recipe, a spicy and/or fruity marinade is used that showcases some of the uniqueness of South African cuisine, a combination of African, Indian as well as European flavours.

We cannot deny that we all love these chunks of flavourful grilled chicken. But it’s not just about the meat – one can add veggies such as red peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini and even pineapple, for those brave enough.  The most important thing is to give them a quick toss in the marinade before adding them to the skewers rather than adding the marinade afterwards.

Now, if you really want a special meal of chicken skewers served up, the head culinary artists at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa have the most tantalizing meal on the Bistro menu, and want to share this special recipe with you to try at home. Even better though…when next up in the Midlands, pop in for lunch and have it served without any fuss.


Yield: 1 litre


  • 50ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest of two lemons
  • 1lt plain yoghurt
  • 50g onion powder
  • 50g garlic powder
  • 10g salt
  • 5g turmeric
  • 10g fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 x bay leaves, ground
  • 20g freshly ground coriander (whole)
  • 10g chopped fresh coriander
  • Full cream milk to achieve ribbon consistency of yoghurt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and allow to rest in the fridge for 2 hours
  2. Pour over cubed chicken and vacuum seal


Yield: 1kg


  • 2 x pineapples, peeled and sliced into 1cm rounds and core removed (reserve the core for use later)
  • 500g fresh mango, peeled and 1cm diced
  • 10g cayenne pepper
  • 100ml freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 5g coarse ground black pepper
  • 3g salt
  • 10g fresh mint leaves chiffonade


  • Sprinkle cayenne pepper over pineapple and grill on both sides just until you see grill markings
  • Set aside and allow to cool
  • Blend pineapple core and pour pulp through a chinois and reserve the juice
  • Dice grilled pineapple into 1cm cubes
  • In a bowl, mix the pineapple, mango and mint
  • Mix 100ml of the reserved pineapple juice with the lime juice
  • Add this to the mixture
  • Add the salt and pepper
  • Mix gently by hand, place in a container and allow to rest for 1 hour in the fridge before serving

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