Sour Sauce for ‘Slaphakskeentjies’

One cannot discuss the Old Sauces of the Cape, without sharing a recipe for that piquant sauce used in the traditional cooked onion salad called slaphakskeentjies. (The direct translation for slaphakskeentjies is small floppy heels, but one explanation for this peculiar name is from the original Dutch where “slap hakke” means without energy or spunk, refering to the onions being boiled until they are soft and without some of their original sharpness.)

Slaphakskeentjies is a delicious accompaniment to meat and is a popular side dish with a South African braai.


This sour sauce wasn’t just used for slaphakskeentjies, but also for green bean salad. The sauce was thickened with egg yolk, but if eggs were in short supply it was thickened with a little flour. Cape mustard, made from the indigenous mustard, was used. This recipe is from our Cape Winelands Cuisine cookbook, page 140.



1.5 kg pickling onions, peeled but kept whole and with root base intact


Place the onions in boiling water, bring back to the boil, and then simmer for 15 minutes until cooked, but not soft. Drain and set aside while preparing the sauce.



1 tsp (5 ml) salt

1 Tbsp (15 ml) mustard powder

1 cup (250 ml) sugar

1½ Tbsp (22.5 ml) corn flour

5 eggs, beaten

²/3 cup (160 ml) wine vinegar

1¼ cups (300 ml) water

1 cup (250 ml) fresh cream (optional, and can be substituted with water)


Mix the salt, mustard, sugar and corn flour together.

Add the eggs and whisk well until lump free.

Mix the vinegar and water. Add to the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Add the cream or water.

Pour the mixture into the top of a double-boiler (or place in a heatproof bowl over simmering water), stirring until it thickens.

Pour the sauce over the onions and serve chilled, or bottle in sterilised jars.

Older Post Newer Post