To celebrate, today I'm sharing a unique African dish with an awesome name - Steak with Monkey Gland Sauce!
Monkey Gland sauce? Before you run away, hear me out. This is a mix of chutney with tomato sauce / sugar / garlic served with meat. South Africa's braai (BBQ) culture is huge, and Monkey Gland sauce is a popular condiment.
The history of this sauce is vague - originating in South Africa vs in London (and then brought to / made popular in South Africa). Various legends range from French chefs mixing up the concoction to spite the South Africans (which became an unexpected hit) to being inspired by the popular trend of grafting monkey testicles to men maintain virility.
Chobe National Park, and at my lodge animals ran amok. Literally, people driving at night get into car accidents with elephants crossing the road, so it's quite dangerous.
On the safaris in Kasane, I have never seen a large density of animals in one area - particularly elephants, giraffes, impalas, and wildebeests. There's also hippos, crocodiles, kudu, warthogs, and too many types of primates and birds to count.
On a random aside, there's an amazing book by my Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky - Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers - which talks about the impact of constant stress in today's society on our health. I was lucky enough to actually take his course during college (and alongside with all the neurotic type A premeds in the class, realized his research was totally about us), but his lectures are also available on TED talks, National Geographic, and itunes.
I definitely felt a lot unhealthier with the stress of studying for medical boards, so that side trip to Kasane where my brain took a few days off was a much needed break.
There were so many mischievous monkeys and baboons around our lodge, so those were my favorite pictures. On my last day, I spent an hour just photographing a large group of monkeys tackling each other on the lawn chairs, lounging on the docked river boats (like a boss), and stealing food from the restaurants.
One fellow snatched a jar of orange marmalade and struggled with opening it for the next hour, but he succeeded! Some poor chef tonight can't make his monkey gland sauce! Recipe adapted from Pick-n-Pay (a large South African grocery).
South African Steak with Monkey Gland MarinadeIngredients
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons apricot chutney (any fruit is fine)
6 tablespoons tomato sauce or ketchup
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons red wine / red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
Rub the steaks with the salt and pepper, cumin, and cinnamon.
Mix remaining ingredients for the monkey gland marinade in a large bowl. Pour half the marinade over the steak and reserve the rest. Marinate at least an hour, better overnight.
Place steaks on a grill on medium or pan sear in cast iron skillet or pan on stovetop, and cook to desired doneness while basting with the reserved marinade. Enjoy!