Cape onion salad (slaphakskeentjies)

Slaphakskeentjies is an old fashioned traditional South African salad recipe that stood the test of time. These delicious small pickled onions, in their tangy, piquant sauce, can be served with a variety of meat-based main dishes.

Because peeling onions can be time-consuming, this recipe is for a small batch, but you can easily doubled or triple the ingredients if you need to.

Makes 3 to 4 portions.


  • 12 small pickling onions
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder or 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, whisked


  1. Peel the onions, taking care to keep them whole.
  2. Boil the onions in salted water until just done (al dente). Don't boil them too long, because that will cause them to fall apart. Drain.
  3. Mix water, vinegar, sugar, mustard and salt together over heat, until the sugar is dissolved and then boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Let the mixture cool down and whisk eggs into the cooled mixture.
  5. Slowly bring it to a low simmer over low heat while whisking. If you heat it too fast, the egg will separate. Remove from heat when it has thickened.
  6. Give the warm dressing a final whisk before pouring over the boiled onions.
  7. Allow to cool.