Skilpadjie Deliciousness

On heritage day, as I was listening to Metro fm, it happened that the deejay’s were tasting traditional delicacies from the cultures around the country.  Mopane worms (masonja), mogodu / ulusu (tripe) and skilpadjies were some of the being tasted…..

It dawned on me that a lot of people are not familiar with skilpadjies, probably don’t even know what they are and how they taste like…

Skilpadjies (tortoises) are made up of liver, usually lamb and wrapped with caul fat.  As described by  many, the latter is fat that looks like lace curtain.  In most cultures, the liver is usually cut into pieces as well as the fat.  The combination is then frying with onion.  In the karoo, skilpadjies are prepared by wrapping the fat around the liver then tuck it in with tooth picks.  They are available already wrapped up at some butcheries and supermarkets, see image below.  Braaing, pan frying or oven baking are some of the methods used to cook skilpadjies.

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I bought a packet and wanted to taste them.  Baked them in the oven at 180°C for 15 minutes.  The resultant skilpadjies were soft in the middle and quite tasty.  I think next time I would serve them with salad leaves.


Have a look at some of the tweets on skilpadjies….

Author Info


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

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