It doesn’t matter what race you are, religion you follow or culture you grew up in — if you are South African you have kicked back on a warm evening, popped open an ice-cold drink and got your hands dirty with your plate full of braai food. There is just something about a braai that brings you and your family and friends together. We think it’s a combination of the fresh air, the hearty food that’s made with a smile, the mouth-watering aromas, the no-hassle paper plates and the alcoholic accompaniments (for the grown-ups, of course).
In fact, us Saffa’s love our braai’s so much that we even have a Braai Day, otherwise known as Heritage Day. Start rallying the boets and betties, because Heritage Day is straight up ahead on September 24. We love this public holiday, because it’s a day for celebrating our cultural traditions in the greater context of the diverse beliefs, traditions and cultures that make up our beautiful country!
We’ve gathered for you a few recipes that will be a hit at your Heritage Day braai. Enjoy!
Simply Delicious Salad
thinly sliced radishes
fresh flat leaf parsley
halved cherry tomatoes
toasted nuts any you like
For the dressing
1 cup plain yogurt
juice of one lemon
heaped tablespoon of basil pesto
salt & pepper
Simply mix it all together and tuck in!
Honey-Mustard Bean Salad
blanched fine beans
baby beetroot roasted in olive oil and salt & pepper
soft goats cheese / chevin rolled in black pepper
flaked almonds, dry roasted in a pan
For the dressing
150ml of olive oil
roughly two tea spoons of dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, honey
small amount of finely chopped fresh garlic
Toss together and enjoy.
Marthinus Ferreira’s Oriental-Style Chicken
1 free-range chicken, cut into braai pieces
1 lemon grass stalk, bruised and chopped up
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
2 chillies, chopped
a large chunk of ginger, grated
a handful of fresh coriander
a small handful of sweet basil, chopped
50 ml fish sauce
about 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
a splash of canola oil
5 ml sesame seed oil
juice of 2 lemons and 3 limes
a couple of pinches of salt and cracked black pepper
Oriental Dipping Sauce:
juice of 1 lime and 1 lemon
50 ml fish sauce
a splash of water
a big glug of Kikkoman soy sauce
50 g treacle sugar
1 chilli, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed and chopped
a chunk of ginger, chopped
a handful of both fresh coriander and basil, chopped
Mix all the ingredients together (except the lemon grass and chicken) and blitz them in a blender. If you don’t have one, crush the fennel seeds, finely chop up everything else and mix it all together, before adding the lemon grass. Pour this marinade over the chicken pieces in a big bowl, cover with cling wrap and let it rest in the fridge for anything from 24 to 48 hours.
Braai on medium coals, starting with the breasts and thighs first and adding the drumsticks and the chicken wings later – they cook faster. All in all, the chicken shouldn’t take longer than 45 minutes to cook through. Serve with a dipping sauce, a fresh green salad and crispy bread rolls. Dunk your chicken into the dipping sauce and chow down.
For the Oriental Dipping Sauce
Put all the ingredients (except the fresh herbs) into a pot and bring to the boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, take it off the heat and let it cool down. Finally, add the fresh herbs and mix it all together.
Justin Bonello’s Pimp My Braai Broodjie
About 14 rashers of bacon
A splash of milk
Salt and pepper
3 large bananas
8 slices of white bread
Golden syrup (optional)
Chop the bacon roughly and fry in a skillet over hot coals until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper. Whisk the eggs with a splash of milk in a deep flat bowl and season with a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper.
Peel and slice the bananas and place them on top of 4 slices of bread. Top with the bacon and, if you have a sweet tooth, drizzle with golden syrup. Make 4 sandwiches with the remaining slices of bread, and then submerge the whole sandwich in the egg mixture to soak both sides.
Immediately put the sandwiches on a sandwich grill and toast over medium coals on both sides until golden, crispy and cooked through.
Bertus Basson’s Rubbed Sirloin and Crushed Potato Salad
For the Rub
50g whole coriander spice
50g mustard seeds
30g coarse salt
For the Salad
two pieces of matured sirloin steak, weighing in at about 200g each
800g baby potatoes, cooked
50g chopped onions
30g chopped capers
50g chopped anchovies
30g chopped parsley
90g olives, pips removed and quartered
freshly squeezed lemon juice
coarse sea salt
First up, combine all the rub spices you need in your trusty mortar and pestle and give it a good bashing. Generously rub the ground spices into the meat until coated and leave to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours. Once your braai is ready and your guests are getting hungry, whack the sirloin onto your braai-grid (hot coals) and grill on an open flame for about seven minutes a side. You want the meat to be medium rare. While the steaks are sizzling, it’s time to start combining the salad – but remember to keep one eye on the meat! Crush the cooked potato using the palm of your hand. You just want the skin to break open and to crush the potato slightly – try not to flatten it completely…it’s not a pancake-potato salad. Add the chopped onions, capers, anchovies, parsley and olives. Drizzle with olive oil, a generous squeeze of lemon and cracked black pepper. You can add salt if you want, but taste it first – the anchovies are very salty.
Mix the salad thoroughly then scoop into plates. Once the meat is done, let it rest for a few minutes then slice it into about 1cm thick slices. Put a couple of slices of that deliciously juicy sirloin on top of the potato salad and you’re done.
Jan Braai’s Snoek Braai Recipe
1 fresh snoek
150 ml apricot jam
100 ml butter or olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
4 chopped garlic cloves
25ml soy sauce (optional)
50 – 100 ml white wine (optional)
Dash of chili sauce (optional)
1. When you buy your snoek, ask for it to be cleaned and for the head and tail to be cut off.
2. When starting the actual snoek braai process at home, wash the snoek under cold running water.
3. Now the snoek needs to be dried. This can be done in one of three ways:
By hanging it in a cool area with a draft blowing over it. Hanging up a snoek is not always easy if you don’t live in a fisherman’s village on the West Coast so an easy way of hanging the snoek to dry is by already putting it in the grid that you will be braaing it in, and hanging the grid on a hook in a cool place with a slight draft, for example under a tree;
By salting the snoek with coarse sea salt that will absorb all the water;
By blotting it with paper kitchen towels.
Whichever of these methods you use do make sure that flies cannot make a pre-emptive strike and that your snoek has some defence system against aerial attacks.
4. Using a small pot on the fire, or on a stove, lightly fry the chopped garlic in butter. Then add the apricot jam and lemon juice. If you want to add some of the optional ingredients, do so now. Heat and stir until everything is melted and mixed.
5. If you salted the snoek in step 3, you now have to shake off all the course sea salt. Most of the big visible pieces need to be shaken off as a tooth can be broken on them. Obviously some of the salt would have transferred onto the snoek so keep this in mind when adding extra salt in one of the next steps. This ‘pre-salting’ of snoek with coarse sea salt is loved by some and hated by others. You need to test whether it works for you.
6. A snoek should be braaied ‘open’. Smear the skin side of the snoek with oil so that it does not stick to the grid and now place in the grid, skin side down. There are two ways:
Straight onto the grid. Coals will need to be slightly gentler as the skin may burn easier. More heat goes straight into the fish as it will not be deflected by the foil. You definitely need to pay more attention and make sure you don’t burn the fish. The skin side of the fish will end up slightly crisper.
Foil on grid and fish on foil. Coals can be hotter as the foil protects the fish from getting burned. Another advantage of doing it on foil is that you can fold up the sides of the foil, which saves any basting and sauce that runs off the fish. The fish will then partly ‘boil’ in the sauce (a good thing). Fish braaied on foil is also easier to lift completely onto a serving tray still on the foil.
7. Grind salt and pepper onto the flesh side of the snoek and lightly pat it onto the meat.
8. Braai time: Whether you are using foil or whether the skin side went straight onto the grid, a snoek should be braaied for about 15 minutes in total. This time can slightly deviate depending on heat of coals, height of grid and size of snoek. The skin side of the snoek will be down for about 80% of the total braai time. You can test whether the snoek is ready by inserting a fork in the thickest part and slightly turning the fork. If the flesh flakes, the snoek is ready.
When braaing with foil I would braai 10 minutes skin side down, three minutes flesh side down (and during this time remove the foil from the skin side) and then a final two minutes skin side down to brown the skin.
When braaing without foil I would go 12 minutes on skin side and then turn and give three minutes on flesh side to brown it. There is a far greater risk of burning the snoek here, so you may also want to turn it more often. If you do, then you need to baste it after each turn, so make sure you have enough basting sauce by adding the white wine, or simply increasing all the ingredients of the basting sauce.
9. Basting the snoek: The basting should happen during the time that the flesh side is up. Use a brush or simply drip it onto the fish with a spoon. You can baste as often as you wish until all the basting is used.
Additional snoek braai advice and tips:
There is a constant risk that the fish will stick to the grid, so gently shake whichever side of the grid is on top at any stage of the braai to loosen it from the meat.
Serve the snoek skin side down, flesh side up.
It can be dished using a spatula. Break rather than cut through the snoek (as you would for example do with a pizza) as cutting through the snoek would also cut the bones into smaller parts, which can get stuck in your throat. Normal uncut snoek fish bones are quite large and you will easily spot them.
Snoek is best served with a side of soetpatats, which when translated into English are sweet, sweet-potatoes.
Red Onion Marmalade
1kg red onions or regular onions
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
70g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp fresh thyme leave
175ml sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Halve and thinly slice the onions, then thinly slice the garlic. Melt the butter with the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a high heat. Tip in the onions and garlic and give them a good stir so they are glossed with butter. Sprinkle over the sugar, thyme leaves and some salt and pepper. Give everything another really good stir, and reduce the heat slightly. Cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions are ready when all of their juices have evaporated; they should be really soft and sticky and should smell of sugar caramelising. More specifically, they should be so soft that they break when pressed against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon.
Pour in the vinegar and simmer, still uncovered, over a medium heat for 10-20 minutes, stirring every so often until the onions are a deep mahogany colour. Leave the onions to cool in the pan, and then scoop into sterilised jars and seal. Can be eaten straight away, but keeps in the fridge for up to 3 months.
Justin Bonello’s Amarula & Chocolate Pancake Cake
Makes 100 pancakes
For the Amarula Mascarpone
In one bowl mix together:
4 cups mascarpone
1 cup Amarula
½ cup icing sugar
For the Chocolate Ganache
In another bowl, whisk together:
500g chocolate, melted
350ml cream, warmed
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
For the Balsamic and Mint Strawberries
In a fourth bowl, mix together the following ingredients and leave to stand for an hour:
1kg strawberries, quartered
1 cup castor sugar 150ml balsamic vinegar
2 handfuls chopped mint
For the Butterscotch Sauce
In a pan heat and melt 2 cups of sugar until it’s a lovely caramel colour, then add and keep stirring the following ingredients until it’s melted and combined:
1 ½ cups cream
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
For the Batter
4 cups of flour
½ a cup of sugar
a drizzle of sunflower oil
4 – 5 free-range or organic eggs
about a litre of milkFirst up, make a batch of pancake batter. Put the flour, sugar and sunflower oil into a mixing bowl, make a well in the middle then crack the eggs into the well. Next, using a wooden spoon, mix it together until you’ve got a sticky dough.
Now start adding the milk a splash at a time. Every time you add milk, mix it into the batter, then once fully absorbed, add more milk again. Keep doing this until you’ve used all the milk and have batter just a little thinner than syrup.
Put a butter-greased pan onto a medium heat and pour in about half a ladle of batter, spreading it evenly all over the pan. When it’s cooked through, flip it over and brown the other side. Repeat until you’ve used up all the batter, but keep greasing and wiping the pan between pancakes.
You should have quite an impressive stack of pancakes to play with now and there really are no rules how to build the best pancake cake. This is how I do it, but you can mix it up.
Layer a pancake flat and spread generously with chocolate ganache. Spread Amarula mascarpone onto four pancakes, roll them up and arrange on top of the ganache pancakes. Cover with another flat pancake, ganache and four more rolled up mascarpone pancakes. Keep repeating this until you have only one last pancake left over to layer over the top. Spread the remaining mascarpone onto this, cover with the strawberries, a little grated chocolate and you’re ready to tuck in. How you manage to eat this awesome monstrosity is up to you. It’s a bit childish really, but oh-so good.