South African Tomato Stew (Tamatie bredie)

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Tamatie Bredie (Lamb & Tomato Stew)

Most South Africans have a memory of Tamatie Bredie (Tomato stew in Afrikaans), but I am not one those South Africans. I absolutely hated stew as a child so whenever it was made, I ate salad or bread instead. I also didn’t like rice so I couldn’t even enjoy the rich sauce. But as I grew older I realised what I had been missing. Stew in any shape or form is just so luscious and comforting that I now, can’t believe what a picky brat I must’ve been.

I’ve been reading about Tamatie Bredie for years now and never thought about making it, I really don’t know why. And yesterday when I took the Lamb Neck out of the freezer to defrost, I just thought I would give it a try. I read through quite a few Tamatie Bredie recipes and decided to kind of make up my own using some components from each recipe. I decided to use cherry tomatoes although I’m sure normal tomatoes would be just perfect and I also used tomato puree to just give it that rich sauce I was after. I know some people use lamb ribs to make Tamatie Bredie but, for me, there is just nothing that comes close to Lamb Neck. I feel the same about Oxtail when it comes to beef. Some recipes also use potatoes in the stew, which I think would be absolutely delish, I just chose not to add them. Now if you are a food purist and like to do things traditionally, please don’t get upset about me adding all my own little touches, but I actually think I did pretty well with not adding too many ‘foreign’ ingredients. I served this Tamatie bredie with sticky Jasmine Rice and the 8 people who ate it, could not stop saying how yummy it was. And I agree, this is definitely something I’ll do again!

Serves 8

2kg Lamb neck (Cut through the fat of the bigger pieces to prevent them from curling during cooking)
2 large onions, halved then thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed2tsp ground coriander
2tsp ground cumin
2tsp garam masala/curry powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3tsp sugar
500g Cherry tomatoes, halved / 6 medium tomatoes, chopped
750ml Chicken stock
1 large tin tomato puree (not paste)
3tbsn Apricot jam
3 Bay Leaves
Jasmine Rice to serve

  • In a large casserole pot, brown the lamb in batches. Remove and set aside.
  • In the same pot, fry the onions until soft and golden.
  • Add the garlic and spices and fry for another minute before adding the tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are softened and their juices have been released.
  • Add the lamb back to the pot and stir to coat the lamb with the tomatoes and spices.
  • Combine the stock, tomato puree and apricot jam and pour over the lamb. You need enought to just cover the lamb. Add the bay leaves.
  • Reduce the heat, cover and allow to simmer gently for 2-2.5 hours until the lamb can be pulled from the bone.
  • Check the seasoning and adjust, it needs to be pleasantly sweet. Serve with the cooked Jasmine Rice.
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Showing 16 comments
  • Emna Sophia

    i taste this tomato stew tamatie bredie when i visit south Africa on my honeymoon tomato stew have amazing taste it’s so Delicious.

  • Radia


    This looks like a great recipe and I’m going to try it tonight. A silly question please / do you have to peel all those little cherry tomatoes?


  • Dominique

    Super, super scrumptious- my hubby was effusive in his compliments for this dish- I deviated minorly by omitting the cloves (I had none!) and adding 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 chopped green pepper & 1 chopped green chilli. I can highly recommend the chilli. Thanks for this recipe

  • John L

    Fantastic recipe. Thanks for posting. Ignore the comments from Louis below. I grew up with tomatie bredie and was never a big fan, this is so much better than I remember and all my South African friends I serve it to also think it’s great. I have served it with both rice and couscous, doesn’t mean it’s not tamatie bredie!

    • Alida Ryder

      John, thanks so much for your lovely comment.

  • Louis Wolhuter

    Although recipes are dynamic and subject to change there is a limit to which a traditional recipe can be altered and still be fobbed off under its original name. I do not think there is any justification for calling this stew tamatie bredie. It has a number of additional constituents that are foreign to its original composition and change its traditional taste to an unacceptable degree. Call it whatever you want, but not tamatie bredie. It would, perhaps, be more appropriate to cook it in a tagine and serve it with couscous.

    • Ally_R

      Louis, I really appreciate your comment. I agree with much of what you’ve said. I did mention in the post that before this I had never made or even eaten Tamatie bredie in fact, so I really went on a combination of recipes I found in my gran’s old books and from the Internet. The spices I added were a result from some of my friends recipes from Cape Malay heritage while my gran’s recipe called for lamb neck and bay leaves. Because I combined so many recipes to create this one, I decided to mention in the post that this is not a traditional recipe as I am by no means a food purist. Simply an Afrikaans girl who loves food.

  • Mark Benson

    South Africa is known for its scrumptious food and by going through this brilliantly written post the flight to Johannesburg I took last year just came in to my mind, especially for the South African Stew I had during my journey to this African haven.

  • Helene van Schalkwyk Clark

    Nouja, I grew up with Tamatie Bredie in South Africa but have never thought of trying it here in Canada. Am excited about this recipe and am going to cook it right now. Sounds delicious and thank you for sharing.

  • S Lagerdien

    This is one of my favourite dishes and I am going to adjust my mine by adding some of your ingredients. i’m certain it will be even better.

  • Marisa

    Nothing like a comforting stew on these wintry days!

  • Simone

    Hi Ally

    Cinnamon sticks are also lovely in a tomato bredie. And some vinegar as well. Stew without potatoes?? how could you? lol. I am a potato nut;-)

    Glad you now like tomato bredie!

    • Ally_R

      Ooh yum that sounds good!

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