Monkeygland Steak



This Monkeygland steak recipe has been in my family for many years. At home we have a huge file of recipes torn out from magazines, typed out, hand written from those who are no longer with us. This file has truly been through a lot; not only have the majority of these recipes been passed down, this file was thankfully salvaged in the flood my complex had a couple of years ago. By flood I mean homes were either knee or shoulder deep in water! A lot of heirlooms were destroyed but we held tight onto this file, and carefully dried it out, got a new file and even plastic sheets to keep them in. It’s worth more than gold in my eyes… and although we don’t have a heroic nickname for it like Die Hard Recipes, Family Secret file… it is still referred to as The Food File of the home, despite the umpteen recipe books I have collected.


For those who have never heard of monkeygland steak/sauce, I can assure you, no monkeys were used or harmed when making this… In actual fact it has absolutely no monkeyglands in it… I promise. It did get me thinking how the name ‘monkeygland’ sauce/steak all began… It is said to have originally been created in England and brought to South Africa in 1935; for an interesting read I’d recommend you read this interesting article “The secret history of Monkeygland Sauce”.



This whole thing got me thinking of some of the nicknames we have and are often known as rather than our actual names. I have had many nicknames; my aunt refers to me as the baby dinosaur from The Dinosaurs (a 90’s TV series), as I always annoyed her in my younger years and then would turn around and say the key phrase “You gotta love me, I’m the baby”. My friends call me “Dori” the forgetful fish from the animated movie “Finding Nemo”, as when I have had a few drinks I go from quiet to very talkative, but forget my train of thought and start repeating my stories (I know, annoying right?). My Mom and Dad always called me “May” or “Meggie-May”; and Dad still does use this name.


I recall the one night after school, my Mom and I were waiting for one of our shows to come on. I decided to go upstairs and shower and sort myself out before, so I shouted down the stairs “Mom, call me when it’s on!” Her reply took me by surprise and still makes me giggle to this day (take note, Mom and I have the same unusual sense of humour). Mom replied “What do you want me to call you? Yo Bitch? Stupid? Sweety-darling? Sugar dumpling?” Yes, not the normal reaction to such a simple request… oh how I still giggle at that…


Just like we give our friends and family endearing nicknames, so do we do with special dishes. Although Monkeygland steak is not made of Monkeyglands and nobody really knows how the name came about, it’s still a recipe South Africans love.



2 Pieces Steak
2 Large onions, sliced
1 Tablespoon Chutney
2 Tablespoon Worcester sauce
2 Tablespoons Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Mustard
2 teaspoons Bovril/Marmite
1 teaspoon sugar




1. Mix the chutney, Worcester sauce, vinegar, tomato sauce, mustard, Bovril/marmite, sugar and sliced onion together.
2. Cut steaks into suitable sizes and marinade in onion sauce mixture for 2 – 3 hours.
3. Take steak out, scraping off excess sauce and onions and fry until cooked.
4. Remove the steak pieces once cooked and then in the same used frying pan, fry the sauce and onion mixture.
5. Once the mixture is heated through, pour over steaks.
Best served with mash potatoes.