Food & Wine

Enjoy a great braai this summer!

Enjoy a great braai this summer!

With the beautiful summer days South Africans enjoy during December and January, and with so many of us having time on our hands because of the summer break from the office and school, it’s a great opportunity for outdoor living. This includes eating outdoors – and being South African, that means making a braai!

Three expert chefs from African Pride Hotels and Protea Hotels by Marriott share their braai ideas.

Pre-braai

We all know some braais can take forever, so it’s great to share different nibbles while the meat is on the braai.  Executive Chef of the African Pride 15 on Orange Hotel, Tamsyn Wells, suggests making flavourful braai broodjies or jaffles, filled with interesting combinations of tastes, such as:

  • Mince mixed with onions and tomato and chilli salsa
  • Smoked aubergine, chevin and roast peppers with rocket
  • Fig and emmenthal cheese
  • Pear, camembert and cranberry jelly
  • Pulled BBQ chicken, red onion pickle and pineapple
  • Gouda cheese, roasted onions and balsamic mushrooms

 

Preparing your meat

The African Pride Mount Grace Country Hotel & Spa’s Executive Chef, Auret Morolo, provides some caution regarding defrosting meat for the braai.  “It’s best to put the frozen meat into the fridge the night before the braai to let it thaw at a safe temperature.  With the heat we sometimes have during the day, leaving meat out of the fridge could be dangerous,” he says.

Wells favours beef skewers as the meat to braai.  “It’s easy to portion,” she explains, “and you get to offer your guests a variety of flavours by choosing different sauces and dips that they can flavour the meat with.”

Chef Morolo also believes that it’s best to keep salt out of marinades.  “Salt draws juices out of the meat, and so it makes it tougher by the time the meat gets to the plate,” he explains.  In fact, his advice is to add seasoning as the meat is put onto the fire, not beforehand.

Use herbs on your meat: strong flavours from rosemary, bay leaves and thyme will enhance the taste of the meat.

 

Getting the fire right

Arrange your coals so that you have two levels of coal: one that is higher and so provides really hot temperatures, perfect for an initial grilling of the meat that will seal and lock in the juices; another, lower level of coals for milder heat, which you can use to allow the meat to cook at a slower pace, so ensuring that the meat is cooked evenly throughout.

 

After the braai

Waffles cooked on low heat on the braai make for a great dessert.  Louis Esterhuyse, Executive Chef of the Protea Hotel by Marriott uMhlanga, enjoys his Mielie Pap Braai Waffles served with cinnamon and honey or with maple syrup and chopped nuts and a scoop of sweetcorn ice cream.

He explains how to make these uniquely South African waffles:

“Prepare traditional stiff mielie pap and, while it is still warm, scoop out enough to fill a cup. Place cling wrap on your working surface, and then take the pap out of the cup and put it onto the cling wrap.  Flatten it gently and shape into a round shape, about an inch thick.  Wet the handle of a wooden spoon, and press this into the pap mould to give you 4 evenly spaced lines.  Turn the pap circle 90 degrees and do the same with the wet handle, so that you end up with a criss-cross Belgian Waffle pattern. Keep the pap rounds at hand until you have cooked your meat and the heat of the fire is lower.  Grill the pap on the braai until it becomes slightly crispy. Sprinkle with the topping – and enjoy!”

So, this summer holiday, enjoy the outdoors life, enjoy the time with family and friends, and most importantly, enjoy your braai!

 

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