Nozipho Khumalo's Braised and Braaied Cow Heels

Nozipho Khumalo's Braised and Braaied Cow Heels

Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Servings: 2-4 people

Suitable For: Succulent appetisers


Local foodie Nozipho Khumalo (a.k.a. The Novice Cook) created this recipe in celebration of Heritage Day. Here's how she describes her dish: "Once you get past the idea of eating cow heels (amanqina), which consist predominantly of skin and cartilage, you will be amazed by how delicious they are. For this recipe, I braised and glazed before popping them on the braai. They are great served as an appetizer or snack on their own or as a main meal with pap and morogo."


500g cow heels, pre-cut

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons mild curry powder

½ teaspoon paprika

2 chicken stock cubes

1 medium onion, peeled

2 tablespoons canola oil

For glaze:

Thick soy sauce

½ tablespoon chilli flakes

1 tablespoon honey

Crushed black pepper

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 tablespoons water


  1. To braise, add the cow heels, mild curry powder, stock cubes, paprika, garlic, onion and canola oil to a large pot.
  2. Place on braai and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer over medium-low heat for about 3 hours or until cow heels are well cooked and almost falling off the bone. They should look puffy and soft.
  4. In a large bowl, add glaze ingredients and stir, ensuring they are well combined. 
  5. Transfer cow heels from braising pot into bowl with glaze and coat evenly. Set braising pot aside (don't throw away the liquid).
  6. Place cow heels on the braai and allow to brown. Once they acquire a glistening brownish hue, turn over and brown the other side. 
  7. Remove from braai and return them to the braising pot. Baste with the braising liquid to keep them succulent.
  8. Serve immediately.


Tip 01 Tip 01

Be sure to thoroughly rinse cow heels before starting with the cooking process.

Tip 02 Tip 02

Exfoliate the cow heels with plenty of course salt to remove any surface impurities, and give them a good rinse to remove the excess salt.

Tip 03 Tip 03

Ensure that cow heels are well cooked before braaing as they will be chewy and hard if under-cooked.