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Monkey Gland Sauce

The origins of the name of Monkey Gland Sauce are obscure, there are at least 3 creation myths surrounding it all of which suggest the name is intended to have shock value.

It seems to have originally been a real restaurant sauce, made in good restaurants in Cape Town and Johannesburg going back to the 1930s possibly.

Whatever, neither monkeys nor their glands feature anywhere in the recipe.

It’s a rich, sweet and tangy barbecue sauce beloved to South Africans, and served at every braaivleisv. Most likely it will be served with steak (from what I’ve seen South Africans generally are real carnivores), but no one says it can’t be had with chicken, pork chops, sausages or anything else.

I can tell you it doesn’t go with fish though. Yuk.

This recipe was given to me by my brother in law, who happens to be Zimbabwean, but the whole braai tradition has been exported there as well.


  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes diced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 to 1 cup fruity chutney *(see note below)
  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water

* Use the aptly named “Mrs Balls” Chutney or any fruity chutney made with dried peaches and apricots, in this case put another teaspoon of Tabasco in.


Heat the oil in a suitable pan and fry the onions and garlic until they are browned. Add everything else and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.

Traditionally it is served with steak, but I’ve done it with various cuts of beef like ribs and sausages and it’s equally good.

Video Recipe

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