The most delicious way to braai a leg of lamb

Posted on 29 August 2016

What is this amazing thing you see before you? Specifically, it is a braaied leg of lamb with Cape Malay salad, peri-peri sauce, gremolata, chermoula, mustard and grilled veggies, and it comes from Reuben Riffel’s cookbook Reuben on Fire.

Reuben Riffel's United Nations Lamb

We’re not saying this is going to be easy. We’re saying it’s going to be worth it.

Also read: the ultimate Braai Day recipe guide

In the words of Reuben Riffel:

With Cape Malay influence, peri-peri (Portuguese/Mozambican), gremolata (Italian), chermoula (North African) and various other flavour elements, this is a larger-than-life multi-cultural giant of a dish. Think of it more as a table feast where you can place a great hunk of meat in the middle of your clan and watch it disappear quickly. It’s how I grew up eating (the sharing bit, not so much the speed eating), but it wasn’t all about the meat. The sides were almost equally as important. Even if you had good meat, the beetroot and mustard were as vital to the roast as sambals are to a curry. On Sundays, my mum used to make the roast with cabbage, tomato salad and sweet and sour onions. Your plate would be laden with lots of small elements where the juices flow into the meat and potatoes.

The lamb in this recipe is kept really simple in terms of spicing but gets brushed with brown butter for some nuttiness. The other flavours are there to make it less one-dimensional. I like that you can choose what your next mouthful combo will be. It’s like a “choose your own ending” approach to a meal. You are the author of your own appetite.


‘United Nations Lamb’ recipe

Serves 6-8


  • 1 leg of lamb
  • 1 handful thyme
  • 15 garlic cloves
  • 8 anchovy fillets
  • 20 olives
  • 4 tbsp black pepper
  • 4 tbsp salt
  • 2 handfuls lemon leaves
  • 2 handfuls rosemary
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • Cassis mustard, to serve

For the Cape Malay salad

  • 2 plum tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • ½ cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • ½ tsp ground cumin, toasted
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt

For the peri-peri sauce

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 15 red chillis, deseeded and chopped
  • 4 red peppers
  • 100ml red wine vinegar
  • 30g smoked paprika

For the gremolata

  • Zest of 2 lemons, grated
  • Zest of 2 oranges, grated
  • 50g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves

For the chermoula

  • 1 red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 150g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 90g coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • Sea salt
  • 150ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon

For the grilled vegetables

  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 punnet baby marrow
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • ¼ cup crushed almonds

Cooking method

  1. To make the Cape Malay salad, mix together all the ingredients and keep chilled.
  2. To make the peri-peri sauce, sweat the onion, chilli and red peppers for 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat. Deglaze with the red wine vinegar, then add the smoked paprika. Simmer for 20 minutes. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  3. To make the gremolata, mix together all the ingredients. Set aside.
  4. To make the chermoula, blend all the ingredients roughly in a blender. Set aside.
  5. Put the peppers, baby marrow and asparagus directly on the braai over medium-high heat. When they’re nicely chargrilled, chop into chunks and top with crushed almonds.
  6. Make six cuts in the meat about one centimetre wide and one centimetre deep. In each hole, stick a sprig of thyme, a garlic clove, anchovy fillets or an olive. Rub the meat evenly with pepper, place in a large dish and wrap with clingfilm. Leave to absorb the flavours overnight.
  7. Rub the meat evenly with half the salt. Season the lamb occasionally with the rest of the salt throughout the cooking process.
  8. Cook the meat 40cm above medium coals for an hour to hour and 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Put the lemon leaves and rosemary on the grid and sprinkle lightly with water.
  9. Place the meat back on the grid and cook for another hour to hour and 10 minutes, basting with the butter. Remove from the heat and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  10. Slice and serve family-style with the mustard and sides.


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