This Impala Tortillas recipe offers a rich blend of Latin American and African tastes. Impala meat is marinated in an earthy blend of spices, combined with citrus, and then served with homemade tortillas topped with zesty pickled onions.

Impala, or rooibok, is an antelope living in eastern and southern Africa, and the meat is freely available in South Africa. I found this ‘leg of impala’ at Cape Venison, which always provides quality products.

This dish comprises four components: The marinade, the filling (meat), pickled onions, and the tortillas.

The filling and pickled onions were adapted from a recipe on My Latina Table, and I obtained the tortilla recipe from Ali’s blog, Gimme Some Oven.

Tortilla with pickled onions



  • Rind of 1 large orange, grated
  • Rind of 2 limes, grated
  • Juice of 3 large oranges
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp (Mexican) oregano
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 50g Achiote paste
  • 1 Tbsp Ancho chile powder
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ large onion, peeled and roughly chopped


  • 2½ kg boneless impala meat, cut into 3cm-5cm chunks
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • ½ large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stick, cleaned and roughly chopped with leaves
  • 2 corn on the cob, kernels cut off
  • 2 bell peppers, cleaned and cut into 3cm pieces
  • 2 liters chicken stock
  • 4 Tbsp lard (or ghee, butter, or cooking oil)

Pickled onions:

  • 1 red onion, cleaned and julienned
  • 1 habanero pepper, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • Rind of 1 lime, grated
  • Juice of 2 fresh oranges
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp (Mexican) oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste



To make the marinade, dry-fry the cumin, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon until fragrant. Allow the spices to cool, then add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz until a smooth paste forms.

Rub the meat with the marinade, cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.

For the pickled onions, combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix well, and let it rest.

For the tortillas, mix the masa harina with salt in a large bowl. Gradually add hot water while mixing. Knead the dough for a few minutes until firm but springy. Adjust consistency with flour or water if needed.

Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into ±40g balls. Place the dough between 2 sheets of wax paper in a tortilla press and press down. If you don’t have a tortilla press, use a rolling pin to flatten the dough.

Cook the tortillas in a non-stick skillet for 1-2 minutes on each side until brown and cooked through. Wrap the tortillas in cloth until ready to use.

To prepare the filling, heat the lard over medium-high heat and brown the meat in batches, then set aside.

In the same pot, add carrots, onion, and celery, and fry for about 5 minutes. Add 1 liter of stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium.

Add the meat and cook until fork-tender, adding more stock as needed.

Remove the meat from the pot, shred it with a fork, and return it to the pot with corn and peppers. Cook for another 30 minutes.

Serve the filling in the tortillas with pickled onions on top.

Enjoyed with a one of our favourite wines

We enjoyed this with a 2020 Hillcrest Saartjie Semillon which paired great with this dish. Here is a write-up from their web site:

The 2020 Saartjie Semillon is a beautifully well-rounded wine, boasting floral and citrus notes. Harvested from a small block of only 1000 vines. Well-integrated flavors persisting on the pallet, with a lingering oaky finish.  The Saartjie Semillion underwent wild fermentation and was matured in old French Oak barrels for 12 months. A lovely wine to be enjoyed now or aged for a further 5 years.

Here is a quick video:
A short video of the process

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