South African Lamb Stew with Dumplings by Xoli Ngcoza

From Zoli: “The first time I ate it, my grandmother cooked it during a cold Saturday afternoon. And then as I grew older, my mother cooked it, and right then, I knew this was my favorite autumn dish. It makes you warm, and it always makes my heart dance every time I make this dish.”

Recipe by Xoli Ngcoza + Photography by Maya Porrino


3 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 pounds lamb loin chops
2 teaspoons salt
4 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup split peas
1 cube bouillon
21/2 cups warm water
4 to 6 baby potatoes, peeled
4 carrots, chopped

  1. For the dumplings: Sift all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add water and oil, and knead. Do not add more water if it looks dry. Just continue kneading until combined.
  3. Cover the dough and let it rest in a warm place for about 30 to 45 minutes.
  4. Shape into balls about the size of a golf ball.
  5. For the stew: Heat the oil in a big saucepan, and throw in the onions.
  6. Add the lamb pieces, stirring with a wooden spoon until lightly brown.
  7. Add the spices, herbs, and split peas.
  8. Dissolve the bouillon cube in warm water, and add to the stew. Simmer on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes.
  9. Add the potatoes and carrots, and neatly place the dumplings on top of the stew. Simmer for an hour without opening the pot.