Monkey Gland Sauce - The Fraudulent Version

Think of this as a tribute to the joyful South African sauce because it's absolutely not the authentic recipe. But it's a delicious, lively sauce that's highly adaptable, even if it is a bit eccentric. Easily put together largely from tins and jars that you could well have in the cupboard, it's perfect for grilled, barbequed or simply-roasted meats or vegetables. It can also be used as a marinade, a heated sauce or a cold ketchup style condiment (or a combination of the above). Most recently, I used it as a sauce with chargrilled duck.

Fraudulent Monkey Gland Sauce with Duck

You could use fresh peaches in this sauce but tinned are available all year and make life really easy. I use a small tin of peach slices in fruit juice and I use the fruit juice from the tin to thin the sauce, if it needs it. If you use fresh peaches, you may need to add a little water and if you use peaches in syrup, then you may want to increase the amount of vinegar in the recipe. But this base recipe is very forgiving and open to all sorts of tweaks.

This is not intended to be direct replacement for the commercial sauce and needs to be stored more carefully. It will keep for a few days in the fridge and freezes very well. Depending on how thick you want the finished sauce to be, this will probably make around 600ml. 

Fraudulent Monkey Gland Sauce

1 onion, chopped

2 cm (roughly) fresh ginger, grated

2 garlic cloves, grated or crushed

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes (or use whole tomatoes and break them up a bit)

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (or Henderson's Relish)

1 tsp English mustard

3 tbsp apricot jam

150g drained weight tinned peach slices (or halves) in fruit juice, reserve the juice  

In a medium-sized pan slowly soften the onion in a little oil for 10 - 15 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and continue frying slowly for a few more minutes. Add the red wine vinegar followed by the tinned tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and apricot jam. Chop the peaches up a little and add them to the pan. Season with a little salt and pepper and stir everything together thoroughly. Bring to the boil and simmer the sauce very gently for 30 - 40 minutes. If the sauce seems a little too thick, then add the reserved fruit juice or just a little water.

Cool the sauce a little, then liquidise. (I prefer the sauce to be smooth but it's fine with some texture if you prefer that way). Taste and adjust the seasoning and the sweet and sour balance to your liking.

Serve warm or chill and keep in the fridge for a day or two or freeze in suitably-sized portions for future use.


  1. The name of this sauce sounds rather off putting....which gland exactly?.......but the recipe sounds delicious! (I dread to think how the name was derived........eek.)

    1. The name is ultimately derived from Serge Voronoff's experiments in the 1920s designed to rejuvenate his "patients". They were nonsense, of course, but at first were widely thought to be a possible wonder treatment. Later they became a joke. There are various explanations as to how the name came to be associated with the sauce but the real reason is lost in the mists of time. I can assure you that no monkeys were harmed in the making of this sauce.


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