• When it comes to exploring the rich tapestry of South African cuisine, one cannot ignore the delightful and savoury delicacy known as “skilpadjies.” These mouthwatering morsels are a beloved part of South African culinary heritage, offering a unique blend of flavours and traditions that make them a must-try for any food enthusiast.

    What are Skilpadjies?

    Skilpadjies are essentially small, delectable parcels of minced lamb or beef liver, encased in a lattice of caul fat. Caul fat, a thin, lace-like membrane, is the fatty tissue that surrounds the internal organs of animals. This delicate membrane not only adds a rich, melt-in-the-mouth texture but also imparts a unique, smoky flavour to the skilpadjies during the cooking process.

    Source: Agameals

    The art of making Skilpadjies

    Creating skilpadjies at home is a true labour of love and an opportunity to explore South African culinary traditions in your own kitchen. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:


    • 1 sheep's liver
    • 1 'netvet' (caul fat)
    • Salt, pepper & coriander



    Clean the liver properly and place it in vinegar water. Remove the thin membrane (skin) of the liver and any pipes or connective tissue.


    Let the netvet soak in warm water (not boiling) to prevent it from tearing when handling it.


    Cut the liver into cubes of about 2-3cm and season with salt, pepper and coriander. (The liver can also be minced and then mixed with the seasonings)


    Cover each piece of liver with netvet and use toothpicks to keep it in place.


    Braai on the coals or in a pot until cooked and browned


    Serve your skilpadjies hot, perhaps with some traditional South African chutney or a fresh salad.

    “If you want to pair something with your skilpadjies, definitely go with something pickled such as pickled onions. The sourness will help with the breakdown of the fat and to drink you can pair it with a beautiful glass of pinotage,” says food blogger and foodie enthusiast, Marli Visser.

    Growing up on a farm in Boesmanland, Skilpadjies was a traditional dish for Marli and her family. “Growing up on a farm in Boesmanland, food and stories are part of my most precious memories. Food has always been so nostalgic for me – it’s more about the emotions and memories connected with the food than the taste itself. I am absolutely passionate about food and time spent at the table. So I started Boesmanland Langtafel, a food blog, where I can share these beautiful food stories,” Marli adds.


    ALSO SEE: It may sound awful but it’s good for you: Afval

    It may sound awful but it’s good for you: Afval

    Recipe by: Marli Visser (Boesmanland Langtafel)

    Feature image: FinGlobal