Happy belated National Heritage day, a.k.a National Braai day; to all of my South African family, friends and followers. NB: a Braai to South Africans is what other countries would call a barbeque.
This is the day we remember who we are as individuals in our diverse and unique country, embracing what makes us different but also what unites us. Braai day because that’s what we do, for all occasions and occasionally for no occasion at all.
I had my inlaws and family friends over for my Braai lunch. I do enjoy these a lot. It’s a relaxed, non-pretentious environment with simple, good food, amongst the best company. Always a perfect time to try new things, new flavours and combinations. I always get honest opinions too, especially from my ‘foodie’ father-in-law.
On the menu:
1. Citrus & garlic marinated chicken thighs
2. Hot & spicy lamb chops
3. Pork boerewors( long sausage)
4. Pork sausage
5. Scott beef fillet & rainbow pepper skewers
The sides are:
1. Peach Asian green salad with a homemade citrus dressing
2. Potato salad
3. Grilled pineapple discs
- Buttered and braai’ed mielies( corn)
The number one secret for a good Braai is preparation! Biggest part of this is marinating your proteins on time, packing in the flavours and preventing it drying up on the Braai.
Chicken thighs marinated (12 thighs): 2 tbs each of : ground nutmeg, ginger, crushed garlic, cayenne pepper, dried sweet basil; 1 tbs of oregano, 25ml lemon juice, 25 ml white wine vinegar, 25ml olive oil, salt & pepper.
Mix all together, rub thoroughly on to chicken and rest for at least 4 hrs. The lemon juice and vinegar is for breaking down the chicken fibers and allowing in the marinate flavours. And you can never have too much garlic on chicken. To be braai’ed later.
Lamb chops spicy marinate: before adding the marinate rub generously with salt & pepper. Add together 2 tbs each of : paprika, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, chakalaka spice, oregano, coriander. Then 25 ml red wine vinegar, 50 ml of jalapeño infused olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Mix well, rub through the chops. Leave to marinate for at least 4 hrs.
The fillet and rainbow pepper skewers. The peppers are symbolic of the different races, tribes, languages and cultures that make South Africa.
Remove all the sinew from the fillet, cut it into cubes and rub with paprika, salt & pepper. Chop the red, green and yellow peppers into cubes and season with salt & pepper. Feed them onto skewer sticks alternating pepper with fillet and top with a fresh Italian tomato.
Pork boerewors. This tastes so delicious, there’s minimal you need to do when you Braai pork. The natural flavours are perfect the way they are. Rub the wors with salt, pepper and tarragon.
Pork sausage: rub with salt, pepper, dried basil. And rest.
When everyone is marinating, let’s get the potato salad ready and cooling in the fridge.
Potato salad: peel potatoes and cut them into 8ths. Not too small as they’re likely to break when cooked anyway. Boil them in salted water, with 5 eggs. When cooked, drain the water and cool, both eggs and potatoes.
Once cooled, place it into a serving bowl, add chopped eggs( incl. yolk), spring onion, sprinkles of aromat, and 3-5 scoops of tangy mayonnaise. Add this little by little while mixing in. Finish it off with a sprinkle of sugar to balance the saltiness. Mix well and cool in the fridge.
NB: it has to be served cold.
Grilled Pineapple side: carve pineapple into discs, sprinkle with a little salt & pepper and powdered cinnamon.
Clean up your corn, rub with low cholesterol, low fat margarine, season with salt & pepper and grill in the hit coal.
When everyone has arrived and they’ve indulged in the snacks( biltong, droe wors, crisps, nuts) like every good Braai has. No starters at a braai, only snacks because the main meal is always a big feast.
When done braai’ing all the food on hot coal, not flame; which is always the men’s job. The women traditionally do the chopping, marinating etc, while men do the fire braai’ing.
My father-in-law is doing the braai’ing.
When you’re almost ready to serve, quickly make the green salad. Everyone has their flavour combinations with these, but I try something different every time.
Start with a dressing. I’m doing a citrus dressing. The general idea: 1/3 citrus, 2/3 olive oil. But I’m adding thin slices of sweet peach and sweet Italian tomatoes, so I’m changing the proportions to balance the sweetness.
Add 50 ml of squeezed lemon juice, 50 ml of basil infused olive oil, salt & pepper and a little sprinkle of aromat.
Not everyone likes their salad with a dressing, so I always put the dressing as a condiment on the table.
In a large serving salad bowl, throw in the leaves, mix in; chopped peach, small Italian tomatoes, olives and season with salt & pepper.
Let’s dig in!
Happy heritage day, Braai day. 😄