Thanks to tradition, nothing is ever wasted in Mzansi. Our street food menu is endless, and offers anything from ox tongue to pig trotters and chicken runners. A favourite that has even made its way into restaurants, has to be the “smiley” or sheep’s head.
Owner of Bontlefela Entertainment, Kagiso Mongale, shares his recipe for a succulent smiley, made with cow’s head and aromatic herbs.
The dish has a delicious broth and you can mop up the juices with dumpling (idombolo) or enjoy it with rice or samp.
With talks of a fourth wave on the horizon, you don’t need to leave your house to get your fix.
Make Mongale’s smiley – it will keep you grinning from ear to ear.
Get the Mzansi Flavour newsletter: A weekly serving of craveable recipes and handy lifestyle tips.
- 1 whole cow's head
- 20 ml canola oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- Handful of thyme, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Fresh chilli, finely chopped (to your preferred quantity)
- Fresh rosemary (to your preferred quantity)
- 3 bay leaves
- 7 liters of water
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Place a big pot on an open fire and pour in the oil.
- As the oil heats up, add your onions and fry for 5 minutes.
- Add all the fresh herbs and put the whole cow’s head on top. Place on high heat for 15 minutes.
- Add water, salt and pepper, then cook on low heat for 1½ – 2 hrs until the meat is tender.
- Take the cow’s head out of the pot and place it on a tray to cut into desired pieces.
- Pour the remaining sauce from the pot over the meat, add salt and pepper if needed, and serve.
Pro tip: I like to pair this dish with turmeric samp, jollof rice, chakalaka and coleslaw.