Download National Braai Day song

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How to braai the perfect steak

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Comprehensive step by step instruction and recipe on how to braai perfect steak – by Jan Braai.

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What is Chisa Nyama? What is Chesa Nyama? What is Shisa Nyama?

MACARONI AND CHEESE POTJIE

Macaroni and cheese

People refer to certain meals as ‘comfort food’, which is strange because I find eating most foods comforting. Nonetheless, some foods are more comforting than others, with a macaroni and cheese potjie right up there. You can either serve this as a main course, or as a very impressive side dish to braaied meat like steak, lamb or chicken. If you’re serving it as a side to meat, add a crisp green salad to complete the meal.

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 8 as a side dish or 4 as a main course)
500 g macaroni pasta
water and salt (to boil the pasta)
a bit of olive oil
2 tots butter
2 tots cake flour
1 litre milk (4 cups)
400 g mature Cheddar cheese (grated)
1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
a little bit of ground nutmeg (optional)

WHAT TO DO
1. In a big enough potjie over a hot fire, bring 5 litres of water with about half a tot of salt to boiling point. Add all of the macaroni to the bubbling water and cook for exactly 7 minutes. The noodles will still be slightly undercooked, but they will continue cooking later when baking in the sauce. Drain off all water immediately and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil to prevent the macaroni from sticking together.
2. Return the empty potjie to the fire (not too hot), then add butter and wait until it melts. Add the flour and stir for about 1 minute.
3. Now add the milk bit by bit, stirring continuously. You will notice how the butter and flour mixture first grows and absorbs all the milk you add, and how this thick paste then starts turning into a sauce as you add more and more milk. If you add the milk too quickly, lumps will form. If at any time you notice lumps forming, first stir them vigorously into the rest of the mixture before adding more milk.
4. When all the milk is in, bring the sauce to a slow simmer and add the cheese, mustard, salt and pepper (and nutmeg), and stir well.
5. Now add the cooked macaroni to the sauce, stir to coat the pasta well, then remove the potjie from the fire and cover with a lid until serving time. As the pot will keep its heat for a few minutes, you will be able to quickly braai some steak over very hot coals in this time. Just before serving the pasta, give it another quick toss.
6. If you have cheese left over, sprinkle the grated cheese on top of the meal in the potjie, close the lid and let the cheese melt by placing some coals on top of the lid.

AND …
For bonus points, you can braai strips of bacon on a grid over the coals (yes, this is possible) or in a pan. Chop them up when they are nice and crispy and mix into the potjie with the pasta during step 5.
The quality and taste of the cheese used will influence the end product. For a recipe like this, I would suggest using Cheddar that was aged for at least 3 months. Using more mature Cheddar or even a variety of mature cheeses like Cheddar, Parmesan, Pecorino, Gruyere and blue cheese will increase the depth of flavour.

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JAN BRAAI FAMILY MUSTARD

family mustard

This is a real family recipe, from my own family. My grandfather used to make this mustard, which we had with any and all braaied meat, but to my mind it goes best with steak and pork chops or pork ribs, be they spare ribs or baby back ribs. I have fond memories of summer holiday braaied ribs and putu pap for breakfast with a generous helping of this mustard. The other thing it goes very well with is any leftover braaied meat in a sandwich the next day. My grandfather taught the recipe to my father, who taught it to me. For some inexplicable reason, I’ve never included this recipe in any of my prior books but here it is now, probably fitting to sit in this book, which really is a collection of family recipes from all across South Africa.

WHAT YOU NEED (makes 1 jar)
1 cup smooth apricot jam
1 tin (50 g) or ¾ cup hot English mustard powder
1 tot oil
1 tot grape vinegar
1 tsp salt

WHAT TO DO
1. Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and mix everything well. The mustard powder, as well as the apricot jam, has a tendency to make small lumps. You need to stir and press on all the lumps till they are gone.

2. Put the mustard into a glass jar with a sealable lid and let it rest in a cool place for a few days. You can start using the mustard with braaied meat on the same day, but it’s better after a few days.

AND …
No one in my family has any idea how long the shelf life of this mustard is. In three generations, we’ve never made a batch that wasn’t finished before it went off.

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ROCKET SIRLOIN WITH BALSAMIC REDUCTION

Rocket sirloin with balsamic

Serving steak exactly like this was not my idea. It was during a ski holiday in Austria, with a snowstorm raging outside making the actual act of trying to ski completely impossible, that I took refuge in a wooden hut with a nice warm fireplace. It turned out that this hut had more than one fireplace, and the cook used one of them to prepare food or more accurately, to braai steak. This is how that steak was served.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)
4 sirloin steaks (about 300 g each)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine
2 tots honey
coarse sea salt
1 punnet fresh rocket leaves (80 g)

WHAT TO DO
1. Prepare the steaks: If they were in vacuum packs, remove, wash under cold running water and pat dry with kitchen towel. Now put them flat on a chopping board and use a sharp knife to trim the steaks of all excess fat and sinews. You just want the actual pieces of meat. Now taking extreme care, butterfly each steak. That means cut them open exactly as you would do with a hotdog roll, almost all the way without breaking through at the other side. Now open the steaks and press on their ‘spines’ so that they are stretched open on the cutting board. Effectively they should now be double their original size and half their original width. Use your meat mallet and give the steaks a once over. Be firm, but not too aggressive.

2. Make the sauce: In a small pot or pan, mix together the vinegar, wine and honey. Heat and bring to the boil. Now let this mixture boil and reduce until it starts to thicken. Do not leave the sauce unattended as it can burn easily, so you need to keep stirring and checking while it simmers. Remove from the heat when you are happy with the consistency. The more you reduce it, the thicker and more syrupy it will become but the less sauce you will have. Make the call and pull the plug around the halfway mark between starting the reduction and a dry burnt pan. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, try adding more honey next time.

3. Braai the steaks: Just before braaing them, toss some coarse sea salt on the steaks. Now braai over very hot coals for about 6 minutes in total. You only need to turn them once, so go 3 minutes on the ‘insides’ and 3 minutes on the ‘outsides’. Remove from the fire and let them relax and rest a bit. 4. Build the work of art: Pour some sauce on the ‘inside’ of each steak, pile on a generous helping of fresh rocket leaves, and then close them back to their original form. Drizzle with the remaining sauce on top

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MIELIEPAP WRAPS

Mieliepap wrapsThese mieliepap wraps are very easy to make and you can fill them up with anything you feel like straight from the braai. We stuffed them with braaied steak and a coleslaw.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1/2 cup maize meal
  • 1.5 cups cake flour
  • 1 tot olive
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water

WHAT TO DO

  1. Mix all the ingredients together with your wooden spoon and make sure all is combined.
  2. Make a long sausage type roll. Divide the roll into equal parts with a sharp knife.
  3. Make little balls, prepare a surface with flour and roll out the balls until round and flat like a pancake.
  4. Heat your pan on the fire, toast the wraps on each side for 10-15 seconds until lightly browned and cooked.
  5. Braai your steak to your preference and serve the steak topped with coleslaw inside the freshly baked wraps.
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MIELIEPAP CHICKEN SCHNITZEL

Mieliepap schnitzlesHere is a great idea to spice up your usual chicken braai, the mieliepap adds a great taste and texture to the chicken.

WHAT YOU NEED:
4 chicken breasts
Cling film
2 tots olive oil
2 tots Chicken spice of your choice
1 cup Maize meal
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1 cup french style mayonnaise

WHAT TO DO:
  1. Place the chicken breast fillets on a flat surface and cover with clingfilm. Use a heavy object like a rolling pin, bottle of wine or any heavy object to flatten the fillets and tenderise, so that they are the same all over.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over the fillets on both sides making sure they are covered all over.
  3. Season with chicken spice and then dust with maize meal all over to cover the fillets.
  4. Braai the chicken over medium hot coals for 10 – 15 minutes until cooked on the inside and crispy and golden brown on the outside.
  5. Mix the Dijon mustard, wholegrain mustard and mayonnaise together and serve with your mieliepap schnitzels.
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