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Comprehensive step by step instruction and recipe on how to braai perfect steak – by Jan Braai.
Catering and kitchen shops sell a type of fireproof steel pan that is perfect for the preparation of this dish, so perfect in fact that this pan is widely referred to as a ‘paella pan’. Paella actually means ‘pan’ and this is where the name of the dish comes from. Failing that, any normal cast iron pot also does the job.
What you need (feeds 8 great people)
Please note that as with most dishes cooked on a braai, paella ingredients are not exact. Take these ingredients as a guideline.
- 8 chicken pieces (thighs and/or drumsticks)
- 2 kg shellfish (in the shell – like black mussels and prawns. If you’re using just meat without shells, 1 kg is sufficient)
- 500 g fresh fish fillets (cut into blocks)
- 250 g spicy cured sausages (sliced or chopped – like chorizo or pepperoni)
- 2 tots olive oil
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 2 peppers (chopped – green, red or yellow)
- 2 cups rice (uncooked)
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed or chopped)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 4 tomatoes (chopped)
- 3 cups fish, chicken or vegetable stock (3 cups is 750 ml which is also the size of a wine bottle)
- 1/2 cup black olives (pitted)
- 250 g peas (they come in frozen packets of this size)
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 tot parsley (chopped)
- salt and pepper
- lemon wedges
What to do
- In a large pan on the fire, fry the onions and peppers in the oil for 3 minutes. Your coals should be just hot enough to actually fry the onion. As the steel of the pan is much thinner than a cast iron pot, it will be a bit more sensitive to heat.
- Add the rice and mix well. All the rice should be thinly coated with oil. If this is not the case, add a bit more oil. Fry the rice for a few minutes until it turns pale golden in colour. Now add the garlic, paprika, turmeric, chilli powder and chopped tomatoes and stir fry for another 2 minutes.
- Add the stock and cover the pan with a lid or with tinfoil. The rice should now cook until soft, which will take about 35 minutes in total.
- Slightly reduce the heat under the pan by scraping away some coals. You are allowed to lift the lid now and again to stir the rice, and to monitor that it is not burning. Should everything seem a bit quiet, scrape a few extra coals back under the pan.
- After 20 of those 35 minutes, add the seafood, spicy sausage, olives and peas to the pan. Stir it in and cover the pan again. The seafood will cook in these last 15 minutes. Monitor your liquid level and add the wine if the pan becomes dry. If the wine is in and the pan still dry, start adding small amounts of water. On the side, and timing it to be ready with the rest of the dish, braai the chicken pieces in a grid over coals. This will take about 20–25 minutes.
- When the rice is soft, sample the dish and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Arrange the chicken pieces on top, garnish with parsley and lemon wedges, and serve immediately.
Recipe & photo copyright: JanBraai
This is my go to marinade and recipe for braaing venison. Whether it’s Springbok, Kudu, Gemsbok or anything else. Works very well with the sirloins (rugstringe) or with deboned leg.
- 2 kg deboned venison meat
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 tot parsley
- 1 tot lemon juice
- 1 tot balsamic
- 1 tot soy sauce
- 1 tot brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 medium sized chopped onion
- A few lengthwise-sliced cloves of garlic.
- A few sprigs of rosemary
Make small incisions in the meat and stuff the garlic and rosemary into these holes. Alternatively, just add the garlic and rosemary to the marinade. Place meat in a plastic bag and arrange onion pieces to cover all sides. Add marinade; push out most of the excess air and seal bag (a tight knot is sufficient). Place bag in fridge for 12 – 48 hours and turn every few hours if you find that the top part of the meat is not covered by marinade. Remove, shake off excess marinade and braai over medium to hot coals until just shy of medium. Rest the meat a few minutes before slicing. Slice across the grain, always.
If you have more than 2kg of meat then increase all the marinade ingredients proportionally until the meat in the bag is covered by marinade on all sides. Be cautious with rosemary, it has a distinct taste and is hated by many. If you can taste the rosemary in a meal, you added too much. This recipe also works very well with a deboned leg of lamb.
Apart from being the first tourists to dock a ship at Mossel Bay, the Portuguese are also famous for a few culinary achievements. One of their best is the rich garlic and chilli-flavoured beef stew known as trinchado. Theoretically, the quantity of ingredients in this recipe means that you can serve 8 people, but in my experience it’s one of those meals that are just too good, which means everyone wants second helpings.
WHAT YOU NEED (serves 6–8)
- 2 kg steak cubes (I use a combination of rib-eye and rump, cut into 4 cm cubes)
- 2 tots soy sauce
- 2 tots olive oil
- 2 tots butter
- 2 onions (finely chopped)
- 10 garlic cloves (crushed or chopped)
- 1/2 tot cayenne pepper (or chilli powder)
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1/2 cup brandy (no, not a typing error)
- 1/2 cup red wine (no, not a typing error)
- 1/2 tot salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- a big handful of pitted black
- olives (this is not an exact science)
- 1 cup cream (250 ml tub)
- grated rind of a small lemon
WHAT TO DO
- Pour the soy sauce over the steak cubes. Now you need to fry the meat to seal in the juices and you’ll have to do this in batches. Generate some proper heat in your potjie by placing flames directly under it. Then add a tot of oil and a tot of butter and fry about one-third of the meat, or as much as fits in the bottom of the potjie. You could of course fry all of the meat at once if your potjie is big enough. Take the cubes out and keep to one side. Add another tot of oil and butter and fry the next third. By the time you get to the last batch of steak cubes there will be enough oil and fat left in the potjie.
- When the last batch of meat is browned, put back all the other meat into the potjie, unless you fried it all at once. Add the onions, garlic, cayenne pepper and bay leaves; then fry for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft.
- Pour in the beef stock, brandy, wine, salt and pepper. Heat until the sauce starts to simmer, then cover with a lid and continue to gently simmer for 1 hour until the meat is very tender.
- Remove the lid and stir in the olives, cream and lemon rind. Bring to the boil and then cook for a further 10 minutes, uncovered, until the sauce starts to get thicker.
- Remove from the fire and let it stand for a few minutes before serving. The generous amount of sauce is part of this meal and should be enjoyed with the meat, so serve trinchado in bowls and eat the sauce with spoons when necessary.
I know it sounds like a bit of a mission to grate lemon rind, but in some instances you really have to do it, this being one of those cases. Grating the rind of a lemon is really not a challenging job; it smells nice and it’ll make you look like the type of expert who reads this book. It adds a unique flavour to this dish that would just not be the same without it.
At some stage during your ascendancy to the braai throne in your backyard, you will want to start mixing your own tailor-made braai salt. This might happen on one of those days when Bafana, the Springboks and the Proteas play on the same day and you are tired of eating meat flavoured with the same commercially bought spice for the seventh time; or it might happen right now. Use the recipe and ingredients listed below as a broad guideline rather than as an exact list. View it as a point of departure on your journey. Play around with the quantities, leave something out, add something else. To state the blatantly obvious, if you add more of something, the mixture will have a stronger taste of that, and if you add less, it will taste less of that. Normal supermarkets sell all of these spices in ground format, which makes mixing them easier but if you can’t find something, go to a speciality spice shop.
WHAT YOU NEED (makes almost 1/2 cup of braai spice)
- 1 tot salt (I like to use high-quality salt flakes and then crush them.)
- 1/2 tot ground black pepper
- 1/2 tot paprika
- 1/2 tot crushed garlic powder
- 1/2 tot ground coriander
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or chilli powder)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground allspice (pimento)
WHAT TO DO
- If some of the ingredients are too big or coarse, solve the problem by taking them for a spin in your coffee grinder or give them some love in your pestle and mortar.
- Put all the ingredients in a glass jar, then close the lid and shake it well. Use as needed to season steak, chops or chicken. The salt mix also works very well as a dry rub on large meat cuts like beef brisket or pork belly.
- Over time you might develop more than one mixture for different meats. For chicken you might want to drop the cloves and the nutmeg and add an item like parsley.
- Perhaps your pork spice will also have some mustard powder in it, for example. But then you would have to kick out one of the other ingredients, as there are already ten, which is a nice round number. Who wants his own tailor-made braai salt with eleven ingredients?
The creative process does not stop at choosing the ingredients. You might also want to spend some time or money on choosing a nice glass container or stainless steel shaker to keep your tailor-made braai salt in.