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THE BRAAI CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA

JanBraai Chicken TikkaChicken tikka masala is one of the most famous meals to come from a tandoori oven, which is a cylindrical clay oven heated by a fire, almost like a braai. Tikka means ‘pieces’ but chicken tikka refers to a specific meal of chicken pieces marinated in a masala spice and yoghurt, skewered and cooked in a tandoori (or, in this case, braaied). Chicken tikka masala is one of my all-time favourite curries – and sure to be one of your’s once you’ve nailed this recipe.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

The chicken:

  • 600 g deboned, skinless chicken meat (a pack of 4 chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 2 tots chicken tikka masala spice (or tandoori masala or any good masala mix that is red in colour that you can find at your local spice market)
  • 1 tot lemon juice
  • about 6 skewers

The sauce:

  • 1 tot garlic
  • 1 tot ginger
  • oil or butter
  • 400 g can tomato purée (or chopped tomatoes)
  • 2–3 tots tomato paste
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1 tsp garam masala (This tastes different from and is slightly hotter than normal masala as it contains different ingredients and ratios of ingredients. You need to trust me that this is the masala you need for the dish so go find it at a spice market.)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional, can be less or more)
  • 2 tots ground almonds
  • salt
  • honey
  • 2 tots chopped coriander leaves (dhania)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Cut the chicken into bite-size chunks and mix in a marinating bowl with the yoghurt, masala spice and lemon juice. Cover and leave in the fridge to marinate for a few hours or overnight.
  2. Skewer the chicken pieces (make sosaties) and braai over hot coals until done. Don’t worry about the odd black spot of caramelised chicken appearing.
  3. In a cast-iron pot or fireproof pan lightly fry the garlic and ginger in a bit of oil or butter. If there is any leftover marinade, also add this.
  4. After 2 minutes add all the other ingredients except for the salt, honey and coriander leaves. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes. While it is simmering, look at the sauce and taste it. If you want to, make the following adjustments:
    • Add salt if it needs more.
    • Make the sauce hotter by adding more chilli powder and/or sweeter by adding honey.
    • To make the colour of the sauce redder add extra paprika or to make it more yellow or orange add extra turmeric.
  5. When the sauce is to your liking, starts to thicken, and the chicken is braaied, remove the skewers and add the sauce to the chicken pieces. Stir in the dhania or coriander leaves and serve with basmati rice.

AND

If you reckon you can multitask then you can obviously braai the chicken and cook the sauce concurrently.

STEAK AU POIVRE

@janbraai Steak au PoivreIn the recent past France has taken a lot of our best rugby players who play for the French teams on French fields. Here we are simply returning the favour by taking their favourite way of preparing steak and using the recipe in a braai way, around the braai fire! To braai steaks medium rare over very hot coals should take you about 8 minutes and to make this sauce should also take you about the same time, so if you have a big enough fire with flames and coals, the two acts can be performed simultaneously. Alternatively, make the sauce, keep it warm and then braai the steaks. I know the name of this recipe is unpronounceably difficult so you are welcome to just call it a ‘French-style pepper steak’.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

  • 4 sirloin or porterhouse steaks (off the bone, about 350 g each)
  • 2 tots black peppercorns (or rainbow peppercorns)
  • coarse sea salt (in a grinder)
  • 2 tots butter
  • ½ cup brandy
  • 1 onion (grated or very finely chopped)
  • ½ cup beef stock (or any other stock or water)
  • 2 tots Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup crème fraîche (or sour cream)
  • fresh parsley or chives (finely chopped, to serve)

WHAT TO DO

BRAAI THE STEAKS

  1. Make a proper big fire.
  2. Crush all the peppercorns by placing them on a cutting board and using a bottle of wine to roll over and press them a few times.
  3. Take the steaks out of their packaging, wash them under cold running water, pat them dry with kitchen towel and use a sharp knife to trim away all excess sinew and fat.
  4. Just before the braai, grind salt onto both sides of each steak. Aim to get salt on the edges of the steaks instead of the centres. This way you will still hit the centres, but the sides will be properly salted as well.
  5. Now spread the crushed pepper out on the cutting board and press both sides of each steak into the pepper. If you run out of pepper before you’re done with all the steaks don’t panic, simply crush additional pepper.
  6. Braai the steaks over very hot coals for about 4 minutes on each side until medium rare. When the steaks are ready remove from the fire.

MAKE THE SAUCE

  1. Prepare the sauce by starting to melt the butter in a pan over flames.
  2. Now for the step that has an element of actual danger so be a bit prudent here and get kids to stand well back. Add the brandy to the pan. If it does not spontaneously catch fire from the fire, set it alight. Half a cup of brandy does not explode in the way petrol explodes, but for a few seconds there will be quite a bit of flame so keep your eyebrows out of the way and make sure you have space to retreat and stand back once you have set it alight. Let the alcohol burn off, and as soon as the flames die down, proceed to the next step.
  3. Add the onion to the pan and sauté for a minute or three until it starts to change colour. Now stir in the beef stock, mustard and crème fraîche.
  4. Taste the sauce and add a bit of salt if you feel so inclined but remember that there is also salt on the steaks.

SERVE

Let the steaks rest for a few minutes and then carve all of them into slices using your favourite, biggest and sharpest knife. Put all the meat and sauce on a platter, sprinkle with fresh parsley or chives, and place this awesome feast on the table with pride.

Monkeygland Boerewors Rolls

JBT_3072The world has a few famous sauces to serve with braaied meat and monkeygland sauce is one of them. What makes monkeygland sauce special is that it’s a South African invention. As is boerewors. For special-occasion boerewors rolls, I suggest you skip the normal options of chutney or tomato sauce and go for a home-made monkeygland sauce. You will not look back and neither will your guests.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 6)

  • about 1.2 kg high-quality boerewors
  • 6 hotdog rolls

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tot butter
  • 1 tot olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chutney
  • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tot brown sugar
  • 1 tot vinegar
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • water (have some on standby in case your potjie runs dry)

WHAT TO DO

  1. In a fireproof pot or pan on the fire, fry the onion in the butter and oil for a few minutes until you like the look of it.
  2. Add all the other ingredients for the sauce, except for the water, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring fairly often to make sure it doesn’t burn. If the pot runs dry and the sauce is too thick for your liking or starts to burn, add a little bit of water.
  3. After 15 minutes of simmering, the sauce is ready to serve. You can now keep it warm or on a very gentle simmer until the boerewors is braaied and ready.
  4. Now it’s time to braai the wors. The aim is to break or pierce it as little as you can and have as juicy an end-product as possible.
    • Do not pre-cut the wors as its juices will get lost. Keep it long and coil it, or position it on the grid running back and forth like people in an airport queue.
    • The easiest method is to braai the boerewors in a hinged grid so that it can be turned without breaking. Failing that, coil it and, while it is on a flat surface, press two skewers all the way through the wors at a 90° angle to each other, effectively putting the boerewors in a little skewer cross. In this way, you can braai and turn the boerewors easily on an open grid without it breaking apart and losing juices.
    • Boerewors can be braaied on any type of heat – the braai times will just differ. I prefer fairly hot coals so the skin is crisp and snaps under your teeth while the insides are still nice and juicy. Depending on heat and wors thickness, braai time should be somewhere around 8 minutes, and you should turn it between one and five times. On pathetic third-round coals (when you are last in line at the bring-and-braai), braai time can be 20 minutes and the boerewors will still taste fine, but this should be the exception and not the norm.
    • Do not ‘pop’ the wors and let those bubbles of juice escape. If you feel that your boerewors is too fatty, then buy better boerewors in future. At the time of writing this post, the best boerewors on the market is Jan Braai Boerewors!
    • Do not overbraai it – 71 °C is perfect. If you braai it too long, it will become dry and you will kill some of the flavour. I have never been served boerewors that I thought would have benefited from being braaied longer. More often than not, people overbraai boerewors.
  5. When the boerewors is ready, the skin will be brown in most parts and grey in some.
  6. Place a piece or two of boerewors in each hotdog roll and top with a few spoons of monkeygland sauce.

Namibian Chimichurri Steak

Namibian ChimichurriDuring a braai excursion to our neighbouring country, Namibia, we spent a night at Op My Stoep Lodge in Oranjemund. The owner, Fanie is originally from Argentina and gave me his chimichurri sauce recipe after my very nice meal. According to him, this sauce gets better with a day or two in the fridge for the flavours to marry properly, and this is true. But truth be told, I have never waited that long.

WHAT YOU NEED

(feeds 4)
rump steak for 4 people
salt and pepper

FOR THE SAUCE

4 long red chillies (deseeded and chopped)
4 long green chillies (deseeded and chopped)
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
½ tot dried oregano
½ tot course salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tot white wine vinegar
2 tots olive oil
½ cup flat leaf parsley

WHAT TO DO

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together and place in a food processor or blender. Blend until everything is smooth and has a good, even consistency. In theory, you should put the sauce in a closed container and let it rest in a fridge for at least 2 days. In reality, you might consume it on the same day.
  2. Light a massive wood fire and season the rump steak with salt and pepper on both sides just before the braai.
  3. Braai over very hot coals for about 8 minutes in total until medium rare.
  4. Let the steak rest for a few minutes then cut into strips, hitting the steak with the knife blade at a 45° angle.
  5. \Drizzle the chimichurri sauce over the steak strips and serve.

Marmite and Cheese Steak

JBVES7_Ep04_01With some combinations in life, you can never go wrong. Chalk and cheese is not a good example – they don’t fit together at all. Marmite and cheese, on the other hand, work very well together. A classic combination for a sandwich. Another food group that fits both Marmite and cheese is of course mushrooms. And all three of these schoolground playmates, Marmite, mushroom and cheese, go very well with steak. So, we have ourselves a winner! My prediction is that this recipe will be one of the most made and most popular in this book. And eating it will make you a happier and, consequently, better person.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

  • 4 sirloin steaks
  • 1 tot olive oil
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 1 punnet (250 g) mushrooms (sliced)
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 tot Marmite
  • 200 g cheese (something like Cheddar, grated)

WHAT TO DO

Place the of olive oil and onion in your fireproof pan on the fire and fry the onion until soft and translucent.
Add the mushrooms and fry until soft. Once the mushrooms are soft and cooked, add the wine and Marmite. Stir well and now let it simmer while you braai.
Braai the steaks over hot coals for 4 minutes each side until medium rare. Remove from the fire and let the steaks rest for a few minutes while you finish the sauce.
Increase the heat under the pan. Add the cheese to the sauce and stir continuously so the ingredients can mix. Continue this until all the cheese has melted.
Serve the sauce immediately, hot off the fire, from the pan onto the steak.

Bushveld Steak Rösti

S7_Ep01_008The whole is more than the sum of its parts. This is not only true for the ingredients of this recipe, but also the role players in its creation: Ivor, Bernice, Ansu and Edrich. Although the end result of this recipe is very impressive, both visually and taste-wise, when you break it down to individual steps, every step is actually pretty straightforward. This recipe is as magnificent as a sunrise in the bushveld and equally photogenic. Braai it early in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee brewed on the fire before facing another tough day in Africa.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

1 rump steak (about 800 g)
1 onion (peeled)
4 potatoes
salt and pepper
1 tot olive oil
1 tot butter
200 g baby spinach
4 eggs
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

WHAT TO DO

  1. Light a big fire and start preparing the röstis. Grate the onion and potatoes with the coarse side of your grater and toss them into a mixing bowl. Add the salt and pepper and mix well.
  2. Use your recently washed hands to form the rösti mixture into four equally sized ‘patties’.
  3. In a flat-bottomed cast-iron pot or flameproof pan over a medium-hot fire, heat the oil and butter together. Then put the rösti’s into the pan, using a spatula to flatten each rösti by putting some pressure on it. Each rösti should be about 1–2 cm thick. Fry until golden brown on one side, then flip and fry until golden brown on the other side. This should take about 4 minutes a side over medium-hot heat but naturally, this time may vary. Your cue is a golden brown colour. You only need to turn them once as turning them often increases the risk of them falling apart. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
  4. Season the steak with salt and pepper and then braai the steak over very hot coals for about 8 minutes in total until medium rare. Once the steak is done, let it rest for a few minutes before you carve it into thin slices.
  5. While the steak is resting, place the spinach in the pan. We’re looking to wilt the spinach. Do not overcook the spinach – stir-fry and then remove from the heat and pan as soon as the leaves start to wilt.
  6. Heat oil in your pan again and fry the eggs until they are cooked to your liking. I suggest you go sunny side up with this recipe.
  7. Build your bushveld rösti by starting with the rösti, then topping it with spinach, the steak slices, and finally the egg.

Mustard Ice Cream and T-Bone Steak

S7_Ep01_001In life, ice cream always make things better. In the case of mustard-flavoured ice cream, it even improves braaied steak! This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, it sounds cool and it looks amazing in photos. But then there are also the fundamental reasons: the core ingredients of mustard ice cream all go well with steak; namely, eggs, cream and mustard. We’ve all had those with steak hundreds of times – here they’re just converted into ice cream format.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

4 T-bone steaks
salt and pepper

FOR THE ICE CREAM

4 egg yolks
½ cup white sugar
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
2 vanilla pods
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs wholegrain mustard
1 tsp salt
digital instant-read food thermometer
ice cream machine

WHAT TO DO

  1. If still in its natural state inside the eggshells, separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. For this recipe, we only need the yolks.
  2. Now mix the egg yolks and sugar together until smooth.
  3. Mix the cream, milk and vanilla together in a pot and heat over medium heat. You want this mixture to be warm but don’t let it boil.
  4. Now add a little bit of the warm cream and milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture and mix well. Add more of the warm mixture, bit by bit, not all at once, stirring all the time. If you add all of the warm milk and cream mixture to the egg mixture at the same time, the eggs will cook and you don’t want that.
  5. Once all the milk and cream is added to the eggs and sugar, and everything is mixed thoroughly, place the entire mixture back into the pot again and heat over medium heat while stirring all the time until the mixture reaches a point of 80 °C. Use a digital instant-read food thermometer to get this part right.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mustard and the salt. Mix well and now let the pot stand somewhere safe until it cools down to room temperature.
  7. Once at room temperature, place the mixture in a fridge until it is as cold as everything else in your fridge.
  8. Once the mixture is completely cooled down in your fridge, pour it into your ice cream machine and let it churn for 1 hour until it’s frozen and become ice cream.
  9. Spice the steaks with salt and pepper and braai them over very hot coals for 8 minutes in total.
  10. Serve each steak warm from the fire with a ball of mustard ice cream on top.

Coffee-Spiced Steak

Jan Braai Coffee SteakWhen exposed to the searing heat of a braai fire, ground coffee beans develop a flavour that complements braaied steak really well. Curiously, it actually makes a beef steak taste even more like a beef steak. The ingredients list of the spice mix in this recipe also contains sugar, which helps the spice mix as a whole to caramelise properly. The downside is that sugar burns quite easily on the fire when it is exposed for too long to the high-heat coals you want to braai steak on. You want the sugar to just caramelise and not to over-caramelise, which is a diplomatic phrase for burn! Therefore, braai the steaks until almost done, take them off the fire and toss with the spice mix and then it’s back to the fire for just a few final minutes to finish it off.

WHAT YOU NEED
(feeds 6)

6 sirloin steaks
olive oil or melted butter (for dressing)

FOR THE SPICE MIX

1 tot good-quality ground coffee
1 tot dark-brown sugar
½ tot salt
½ tot ground pepper
½ tot paprika
½ tot ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp dried oregano

WHAT TO DO

  1. Light a massive wood fire.
  2. Now mix all the spice ingredients together. That means everything in the ingredients list of this recipe, except the steak and the olive oil.
  3. Keep the spice mix on the side. This rub will go onto the meat just before the steaks are finished braaing – not yet.
  4. Braai the steaks over hot coals for 5 minutes in total, turning only once. Remove from the braai and generously spice the steaks all over with the spice mix. You can use your clean hands or a spoon to pat and rub the spice into and onto the steaks.
  5. Return the steaks to the fire and braai for no more than 4 minutes, 2 minutes per side until the spices and specifically the sugar start to caramelise.
  6. Remove the steaks from the fire and drizzle with melted butter or olive oil. This gives it a nice shine and adds flavour.
  7. Let the steaks rest for a few minutes. Then carve them into thin strips and serve to your guests.

MASSAMAN BEEF CURRY POTJIE

Massaman Curry

The massaman flavour combination has been around for centuries and has truly stood the test of time. It’s traditionally and best made in a potjie on the fire, and it’s made with beef, as opposed to chicken, lamb or pork. Think of it as a combination of a Thai and Indian style of curry. Characteristically you first make the massaman paste, then fry that in coconut cream, and then you add the meat and potatoes. This is the most complex curry potjie recipe in this book but well worth the effort. The results are quite phenomenal. I like to use a cut like chuck steak for this meal as it has a lot of flavour, can stand up to cooking for a while, and the intramuscular fat means the meat does not dry out too much. For me a cut like rump becomes too dry and something like oxtail takes prohibitively long to become tender.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

  • 1 punnet fresh coriander (30 g)
  • ½ cup salted cashew nuts
  • 4 cardamom pods (whole)
  • 4 cloves (whole)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 4 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • ginger, equal in volume to garlic (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tin coconut cream
  • 1 kg chuck steak meat (deboned and cut into cubes)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 lime (juice and zest)
  • 1 tot brown sugar
  • 2–3 medium potatoes (500 g, cut into wedges for looks not taste)
  • 2 red onions (cut into wedges for looks not taste)

WHAT TO DO

1.  Wash the coriander and, without thinking about it too much or being too exact, cut it in half with a single stroke of a knife. Keep one half separate for later and finely chop the other half.
2.  Put your potjie over the flames and dry-roast the cashew nuts for a minute or two. Nuts burn easily so focus solely on this task when performing it. Remove and set aside for later reintroduction to the meal.
3.  In the now empty potjie, dry-roast the cardamom pods, cloves, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Again, don’t multitask. Remove from the potjie. From a practical point of view, you might need to use your leather welding or braai gloves to tip the potjie and scrape the spices out as they are too small to simply get out with your wooden spoon.
4.  Crush open and peel the cardamom pods from step 3. Discard the shells and add the insides of the cardamom pods and the rest of the dryroasted spices to your pestle and mortar or food processor. Start working them over, also adding the nutmeg, turmeric, chilli powder, garlic, ginger, salt, oil and the chopped coriander from step 1. Continue grinding away until you have a thickish paste. Give yourself a pat on the back – you have now made your very own ‘massaman curry potjie paste’ (MCPP).
5.  Please note that you can perform steps 1 to 4 even a day ahead of time, should you wish.
6.  Get the potjie back on the flames and add about 2 tots coconut cream (not an exact science) to the potjie. Now fry the MCPP from step 4 in it for a minute or three.
7.  Add all of the beef cubes and toss around, stir-frying for a few minutes to get bits of them seared. Don’t overthink this step; get some searing done and move on to the next step. We’re looking at roughly 5 minutes.
8.  Now add the rest of the coconut cream and the chicken stock and stir well. Use the juices to loosen anything that might be stuck to the bottom of the potjie.
9.  At this point add the bay leaves, star anise and cinnamon sticks. Bring the potjie to a gentle simmer and put the lid on. Leave it to simmer very gently for 1 hour. You want a few coals under the potjie and a few coals on the lid as well. 10.  Lift the potjie lid, stir in the roasted cashew nuts from step 2, the fish sauce, lime juice and zest, and sugar. Also add the potatoes and onion and close the lid. Simmer until the potato wedges are soft, which will take about 20 minutes.
11.  Remove the lid and now let the potjie simmer uncovered until you are happy with the consistency of the sauce.
12.  Serve with basmati rice, naan bread, tomato&onion salad and yogurt with cucumber

SMOG BURGER

smog2Pizza fans will appreciate that this burger is quite clearly inspired by the SMOG pizza; Salami, Mushroom, Onion and Green Pepper. It’s a globally popular flavour combination for wood-fired pizzas and here we’re adapting it for the South African braai fire. Combine the four with some braaied chicken breasts and fresh fire-toasted rolls and you have yourself a winner!

WHAT YOU NEED: (feeds 4)

  • 4 chicken breast fillets
  • 4 hamburger rolls
  • 1 tot olive oil
  • 1 tot butter
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 2 green peppers (sliced)
  • 1 punnet mushrooms (250g, sliced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed and chopped)
  • salt and pepper (freshly ground)
  • 8–12 slices of your favourite salami
  • 1 cup cheese (aged Cheddar, sliced or grated
WHAT TO DO:
  1. Make the sauce by heating the oil and butter in a potjie or fireproof pan, then add the onion and green pepper. Sauté for a few minutes until it starts to get a nice colour and then add the mushrooms and garlic. Now toss and fry the whole lot until you like the look of it. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Place each chicken breast fillet flat on a chopping board and lightly pound the thick side with a meat mallet, wine bottle, rolling pin, side of a meat cleaver or any other item of sufficient weight and size. You want the whole fillet to be uniform in thickness and this step will make the meat easier to braai, better looking on your burger and softer to bite. Season each chicken fillet with salt and pepper or your favourite braai salt. Either brush each one with oil or simply pour a bit of oil into a bowl and toss the fillets around in it until all are coated. Braai the meat for about 8 minutes over hot coals until it is done. The nice thing about chicken breast fillets is that you can actually see the meat colour changing from raw to ready on the braai.
  3. Cut the rolls in half and toast on the braai, watching them carefully so they don’t burn.
  4. Assemble the burger in this order: Toasted roll, slices of salami, braaied chicken fillets, cheese topped with a generous helping of the onion, peppers and mushroom sauce. Positioning the cheese between the warm chicken breast and sauce will cause it to melt, which is exactly what we want.
  5. Place the lid on the burger and eat with both of your recently washed hands.
AND…
This flavour combination also works very well when you replace the chicken
breast fillets with homemade 100% beef patties.

CURRY MINCE JAFFLES

jaffelThis is a great recipe to prepare a day before when you are going on a road trip. Remember to pack your jaffle maker, extra fire wood and your tongs on top so you have easy access to it, to stop next to the road at a picnic area and braai your jaffles.

WHAT YOU NEED: (makes 6 jaffles)

  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 500 g lean beef mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tot ground coriander
  • 1 tot ground cumin
  • 2 tots medium curry powder
  • 1 tot turmeric
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tot tomato paste
  • 1 bread (you will need 12 slices)
  • butter to spread on the bread slices

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Use your potjie, place it on the fire, add the olive oil and onions to the pot and fry for a few minutes. Add the beef mince and garlic, season with salt and pepper and fry until cooked and golden brown.
  2. Add the coriander, cumin, curry powder, and turmeric and fry for a few minutes to release all the flavours.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and let the potjie simmer for about 30 minutes until most of the liquid has cooked off and you are happy with the consistency.
  4. Remove the potjie from the heat and let it cool down before you pack it into your travelling dish. Keep it in the fridge until you hit the road.
  5. Light your fire and while you wait for the coals to be ready, spread the slices of bread with butter on the outside and fill with the curry mince mixture. Cover with another slice of buttered bread, place the mince sandwich into you jaffle maker and place the jaffle maker directly onto the coals for optimum heat.
  6. Toast the bread on both sides for about 8 – 10 minutes, checking in between your progress to make sure the bread does not burn, but gets a nice toasted colour and serve as is.

AND…
You can add grated cheddar cheese to the jaffles for extra points.

 

REVOLUTION CHICKEN

revolution-chicken2During a day-long braai session with members of the Swartland Revolution, I was introduced to this style of chicken wing eating. Although their cause is actually about wine, you will agree that this is a revolutionary way of preparing and eating chicken wings. Some caution though: this is a hot and spicy meal. We make the chicken super spicy and serve it with a sauce that both complements and cools down that spiciness. So the spice and the sauce are both essential to the meal; you can’t have one without the other. If you don’t like a bit of burn, rather leave out the cayenne pepper.

WHAT YOU NEED: (feeds about 12 as a starter snack)
  • 36 chicken wings
    FOR THE SAUCE
  • 2 cups buttermilk (1 bottle)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 tots chives (freshly chopped)
  • 1 tot Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
FOR THE SPICE RUB
  • 1 tot dry garlic powder
  • 1 tot paprika
  • 1 tot mustard powder
  • 1 tot cumin
  • 1 tot salt
  • 1 tot dried thyme
  • 1 tot brown sugar
  • ½ tot cinnamon
  • ½ tot ground black pepper
  • ½ tot chilli powder or cayenne pepper
WHAT TO DO:
  1. Shake the bottle of buttermilk before opening. Pour it into a bowl and throw in all the other sauce ingredients. Mix well, cover the bowl and put it in your fridge.
  2. Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a glass jar and shake well.
  3. Braai the chicken wings for about 20 minutes over medium-hot coals, turning often until cooked through. Do not add any spice or sauce to the chicken wings before the braai. Just braai them as is. The spice mixture of this meal turns brown and looks burnt very quickly so we can’t have it on the chicken the whole time it is braaing otherwise it will burn way before the chicken is cooked.
  4. Take the chicken off the grid and place in a braai bowl. Dust the chicken wings generously with half the spice mixture, making sure everything is properly covered. Please note, you need to use only half of the spice mixture to accomplish this so keep the other half of the mix for next time Use a wooden spoon to toss the wings around and make sure there is spice in all the corners and crevices of all the chicken wings.
  5. Once done, get the wings back onto the grid and braai them for a few more minutes until the spice gets a nice colour on both sides. Although the spices will not actually burn, be vigilant as they will very easily get the appearance of having been burnt. Don’t overbraai: remember, the meat is already cooked through; we just want to toast the spices at this point. As soon as the spices are all toasted and looking good on the chicken, proceed to the next step.
  6. Move the chicken wings from the grid onto a platter and artfully pour some of the dressing over them. You might prefer to also have extra sauce on the side so that guests may help themselves to some addition

LAMB SHANK CURRY POTJIE

lamskenkelWhen you find yourself travelling through the Karoo, make sure to stock up on the local Karoo lamb meat.  Lamb shanks need time on the fire, the longer you leave the shanks on the fire to simmer over low coals, the more tender the meat will be and all the flavours can develop intensely. Remember this is not a race, it is a journey.

WHAT YOU NEED: (serves 4)

  • 4 Karoo lamb shanks
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tots curry powder
  • 1 tot fresh ginger, grated or ginger powder
  • 1 tot  ground turmeric
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 stick whole cinnamon
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • water
  • 1 tot tomato paste

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Braai the lamb shanks in the potjie with olive oil over the flames of your fire for a minute or three to burn away some of the fat and brown the meat.
  2. Add a bit more oil to the potjie and sauté the onion for a few minutes and season the shanks with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the garlic, sauté for another couple of minutes and then add the curry powder, ginger, turmeric, cloves and whole cinnamon. Toss these around for about a minute to release their flavours.
  4. Add the tin of tomatoes and tomato paste to the pot. Use the empty tin, fill it with water and add to the pot.
  5. Put the lid on the potjie. Now you want the lamb shanks to cook very gently like this for 2 – 3 hours. You want some coals under the potjie and you also want some coals on the lid of the potjie. This is not a race, it’s a journey.
  6. Every so often you can lift the lid, taking care not to get any coals or ash from the lid into the potjie, and check on progress. There should be a gentle bubble and the potjie must not run dry. If it’s not making any noise it’s either dry and you need to add a bit more water, if there is no sound, it’s simply not cooking at all and you need to add more coals under the pot and onto the lid.
  7. After 3 hours, check that the meat will come loose from the bone when encouraged to do so by a utensil. If this is the case, the potjie is ready. If not, let it carry on simmering for a while.
  8. At this stage you want to have built a big fire with good flames, called an atmosfire, around which you and your guests will enjoy the meal.
  9. Serve the lamb shanks with rice. If the sauce is too runny and watery, put the potjie without the shanks back onto the flames of the atmosfire without the lid and let it reduce and thicken for a few minutes while all your guests fill their wine glasses, switch off their phones and prepare for the meal. Now finish off each meal by topping the lamb shank with some sauce from the pot, and garnish with chopped fresh herbs.

BOLOGNESE


sb2My family started making spaghetti bolognese on the fire during camping trips in Botswana and Namibia when I was a teenager. As much as I like braaied steak and boerewors, you can’t eat that every day. The secret to a great bolognese sauce is to simmer it over low coals for a few hours. The problem with cooking something that smells this good for 3 hours when camping in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is that a pride of lions might smell it as well and pay your camp a visit, as happened to us one evening. We ate in the car that night.

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 4–6)

  • 2 tots olive oil
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 carrot (grated)
  • 1 celery stick (finely chopped)
  • 500 g lean beef mince
  • 200–250 g smoked streaky bacon (diced)
  • ½ tot mixed dried herbs (or 1 tot finely chopped fresh herbs like basil, thyme and parsley)
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tots tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tot lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • To serve: 500 g pasta like tagliatelle or spaghetti
  • Parmesan cheese (grated or shaved)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Heat oil in a potjie over a medium-hot fire. Add the onion, carrot and celery and gently fry for 5–10 minutes until the onions are soft and shiny but not brown.
  2. Add the mince, bacon and herbs to the pot and fry for 10 minutes until the meat starts to brown. Stir often and break up any lumps in the mince. You want the bottom of the pot to become slightly brown and sticky here and there, as this adds flavour to the meal, but you don’t want it to actually burn.
  3. Pour in the wine and stir well. Use your spoon to scrape and loosen any bits of meat or other matter stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cook until the wine is almost completely reduced.
  4. Now add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir well and bring to a simmer over low heat. Put the lid on the pot and simmer for 2 hours, stirring every 20–30 minutes to ensure that the sauce doesn’t cook dry and burn. You need very low and gentle heat, exactly the opposite of braaing steak. (If the pot runs dry, add a bit of water.)
  5. After 2 hours, take off the lid and simmer uncovered for another 20-odd minutes. While you enjoy the aroma, keep a close eye on the pot – you want the sauce to reduce and thicken but not burn. During this time, cook the pasta in salted water in a separate pot.
  6. When you’re happy with the bolognese sauce, serve the sauce with the pasta and a handful of grated Parmesan.

SEARED TUNA WITH SESAME SEEDS

seared-tunaAs with any fish you want to braai, the most important thing is to make sure the tuna is fresh. The only way to do that is to buy it from a trusted, reputable fishmonger who can tell you exactly where he or she got the tuna from, and when it was caught. If you’re unsure about the freshness of the tuna, don’t buy it. Needless to say, the other sure-fire way to get fresh tuna is to catch it yourself.

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 4)

  • 4 tuna steaks of about 200 g each (very fresh or ‘sashimi grade’)
  • 1 tot vegetable oil
  • salt and black pepper about
  • ½ cup sesame seeds (bonus points for a mixture of black and white if you can find it)
  • ½ cup good-quality soy sauce
  • 1 tot ginger (grated or crushed)
  • 1 spring onion (finely sliced)
  • ½ tot sugar
  • ½ tot white vinegar

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Lie the tuna steaks in a dish, then brush them lightly with oil, and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Leave them in a cool place but out of the fridge for 10 minutes so they reach room temperature. Don’t leave them too long before cooking, as fish can go off quickly.
  2. Put the sesame seeds in another dish or on a plate and then dip the steaks on all sides into the sesame seeds to coat them evenly.
  3. Carefully (so that the sesame seeds don’t fall off) put the tuna steaks in a clean hinged grid, then braai them over very hot coals for about 1 minute each on both sides. If you’re wondering whether your coals are hot enough, then they aren’t! Take the steaks off the fire and put them on a wooden board to cool for 5–10 minutes before you slice them.
  4. While the tuna is resting, mix the soy sauce, ginger, spring onion, sugar and vinegar together in a bowl or jug, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Use a very sharp knife and cut the tuna steaks into slices. If you don’t have a very sharp knife, buy a new knife, use a knife sharpener, or both. As you will notice from the photo, the fish is still raw in the middle. This is supposed to be the case with seared tuna. After all, that same piece of fish could be served as completely raw sashimi in a restaurant.
  6. Drizzle the sauce over the fish, or serve the sauce in small dipping bowls on each plate.
    AND …
    Only braai sustainably sourced fish – so stay away from anything on the SASSI red list.

PORK SCHNITZEL

JANBRAAI PORKSCHNITZELThe great thing about the braai is that you can make any food on the fire. This schnitzel recipe is based on the original from Germany where it was made on a stove but as always, everything is better around a fire!

WHAT YOU NEED: (feeds 4)

  • 4 pork loin steaks of about 1 cm thick
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 250 ml breadcrumbs, fresh or toasted
  • 250 ml flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Combination of olive oil and butter for frying
  • Mustard and fresh lemon slices for serving

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Place the pork steaks on a flat surface, get a rolling pin, wine bottle or anything with enough weight. Use cling wrap and place a layer on top of the meat to protect them and keep them intact while you hit them with your rolling pin, flattening the steaks and making them even all over.
  2. Now construct your work station. Season the flour with salt and pepper and place in a flat bowl. Place the beaten egg in another bowl and the breadcrumbs in a bowl. Start to coat your steaks by first rolling them around in the seasoned flour, then dip them in the egg and lastly cover the steaks with breadcrumbs making sure everything is covered.
  3. Heat a combination of oil and butter in your pan and fry the steaks for 2 to 3 minutes turning often making sure it does not burn. The steaks are thin hence they will be done very quickly.
  4. Remove from the heat and serve this work of art dish with mustard, fresh lemons and a side dish of potato salad.

CHICKEN CAESAR BURGER

chicken-ceaserFor many years, the Caesar has been one of the world’s classic salads. But as a chicken burger on the braai, we are giving this flavour combination the chance to reach its full potential. First, a braaied chicken breast fillet is superior to any other version of that meat, and secondly, a roll toasted on the coals of a wood fire is clearly going to trump any crouton prepared in a kitchen. The sauce is very easy to make but to do it properly you need a pestle and mortar. If you still don’t have this piece of essential culinary equipment, buy it now. You will use it to work the garlic, capers and anchovy fillets into a smooth paste which forms the cornerstone of flavours for the sauce.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

  • 4 chicken breast fillets
  • 4 crisp hamburger rolls
  • 3 tots olive oil (for coating the chicken and spreading on the rolls)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 1 tsp capers (drained)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise (I prefer French-style)
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 head romaine lettuce (also known as cos lettuce – torn apart and washed; if you can’t find one, use normal lettuce)
  • 3 tots Parmesan cheese (grated or shaved)

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Make the sauce: Put the garlic, anchovies and capers in your pestle and mortar and grind into a smooth paste. Now add the mayonnaise, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well until everything is properly combined.
  2. Prepare and braai the chicken breast fillets: Place each chicken breast fillet flat on a chopping board and lightly pound the thick side with a meat mallet, wine bottle, rolling pin, side of a meat cleaver or any other item of sufficient weight and size. You want the whole fillet more uniform in thickness and this step will make the meat easier to braai, better looking on your burger and softer to bite. Spice each chicken fillet with salt and pepper or your favourite braai salt. Either brush each one with oil or simply pour a bit of oil onto them and toss the fillets around until all are coated. Now braai the meat for about 6 to 10 minutes until it is done. The nice thing about chicken breast fillets is that you can actually see the meat colour changing from raw to ready on the braai.
  3. Prepare and braai the rolls: Neatly slice each roll in half with a bread knife and paint or spread or drip all 8 insides with olive oil. During the final few minutes of the chicken braai, toast the insides of the rolls on your grid over the coals. The attentive braaier will correctly guess that these rolls are taking the place of croutons in the version of Caesar salad served by restaurant-type establishments.
  4. Assemble the burgers: Bottom half of fire-toasted roll, lettuce, braaied chicken breast, sauce, Parmesan shavings, top half of fire-toasted roll.

Rump Steak Shawarma

JanBraai Steak ShawarmaDöner also known elsewhere in the world as shawarma, kebab or pita bread is the most popular street food in the German capital city Berlin. It consists of a flat pita bread filled with various trimmings but the main and star ingredient is meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The seasoned meat stacked in the shape of an inverted cone is turned slowly on the rotisserie, next to a vertical cooking element. The outer layer is sliced vertically into thin shavings as it cooks. Well, that is how they generally do it in Berlin anyhow. BUT: There is an easier way to make your own, that will  be quicker, look cooler and also taste better. And that my friends is of course is that we braai the rump steak instead of it dancing on a pole all day. You still get the same flavours but only more, because have have the additional world class flavour of the braai!

WHAT YOU NEED: (Feeds 4)

  • 2 carrots
  • 2 small baby cabbages or 2 quarters from big ones (Use 1 green and 1 red)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tot brown sugar
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • ½ cucumber
  • 2 sweet red pepper, red and yellow, thinly sliced,
  • Hummus
  • Full cream yogurt
  • Pita Bread
  • Rump Steak

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Use your grater to grate the cabbage and carrots together in a bowl. Add the thinly sliced onion. Pour the sugar, salt, vinegar, cumin seeds and thyme into the bowl and mix well. Let this mixture sit aside and start to pickle as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Slice the red pepper, yellow pepper, radishes and cucumber into thin slices and keep them aside, ready to use when you assemble the pita.
  3. Prepare your steak by salting your steaks with coarse sea salt. Do not panic that this will be too salty, most of the salt will fall off during the braai.
  4. Braai your steak over hot coals for 8 minutes until medium rare. Feel free to add some extra spice to your steak, when the craving speaks to me I just use a bottle of peri peri sauce that’s in the kitchen. Let the steak rest for a few minutes and then carve it into very thin slivers at a 45° angle.
  5. Give the pitas some time on the coals and toast them lightly before you start to assemble your meal.
  6. Now build your shawarma: Halve the toasted pitas and spread with a layer of hummus on the inside. Add a bit of the pickled salad and the rest of the salad ingredients. Top it off with slices of rump steak and finish it with some yogurt on top.

SCHWEINSHAXE (BRAAIED PORK KNUCKlES)

eisbeinSchweinshaxe is a German dish, famous the world over. You start off by cooking pork hocks or eisbein until they are very tender. Then you braai them over hot coals to give them a great flavour and make them crispy. This tastes far superior to the classic German version where you just grill them in an oven to finish them off. If your butcher or supermarket only has smoked pork hocks or smoked eisbein, don’t worry; it works just as well and obviously your meal will have an even deeper smoky flavour.

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 4)

  • 4 small pork hocks or eisbeins (regular or smoked)
  • 2 bottles apple cider (like Hunters or Savanna)
  • 2 cups water
  • salt

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Put everything into a large potjie. The liquid should just cover the pork, so add extra water if necessary.
  2. Put the potjie over a hot fire, then cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Simmer (it mustn’t boil rapidly) for 2½–3 hours, then take it off the fire. You want the meat nice and soft but not falling off the bone. You should check on the meat during this time as it might be ready sooner; this is not an exact science.
  3. Use braai tongs to lift the cooked pork hocks out of the potjie, shake off the liquid and then generously salt them (smoked hocks will generally be very salty already, and will not need any extra salt).
  4. Now for the braai: You’ll need an open grid as a hinged grid won’t close over the hocks. Braai for about 20 minutes in total over hot coals until they are nicely browned on all sides. Remember, the meat is already cooked so you just want to give it some crunch, colour and flavour.
  5. Serve immediately with mashed potatoes that you flavour with cream, wholegrain mustard, salt and pepper.AND …
    If your pork is cooked before you’re ready to braai, take the potjie off the coals and let the hocks rest in the water – an hour or two of resting in lukewarm water will just result in more tender pork.

BRAAIED GARLIC AND CREAM MUSHROOMS

creamy-garlic-mushrooms-on-toastI’m a big fan of mushrooms, onions, garlic and cream as individuals. Together they create an exquisite taste, or as Aristotle used to say, ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. It’s a nice starter or side dish and is also known to be very popular around the late-night ‘atmosfire’, as a second braai of the evening.

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 4–6 as a snack)

  • 2 tots butter
  • 1 tot olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (crushed or chopped)
  • 500 g whole mushrooms (brown, button or any mixture of these or others sold commercially for culinary consumption)
  • 1 sprig thyme (stalk removed)
  • 1 tsp salt ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup cream (250 ml tub)
  • slices of bread (toasted on the fire – to serve)
  • 1 tot finely chopped parsley (optional – to serve)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a potjie or flameproof pan over a hot fire, add the chopped onion and fry until they become very soft and begin to turn light brown on the edges. Depending on your heat, this will take about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, mushrooms and thyme, then fry until the mushrooms soften and start to brown (your pan needs to be very hot so don’t be shy about having a few flames under it). Initially, the mushrooms might struggle to fit into the pan, but they will shrink as they cook.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, then pour over the cream and bring to the boil. Simmer the cream for a few minutes, stirring often, until it reduces and forms a thick sauce (it’ll darken slightly and turn a shade of grey, like the mushrooms). Timing is pretty important. You need to remove the potjie or pan from the fire when the sauce is thick, but before it has reduced too much and all the sauce is gone. If you don’t have time to reduce the whole cup of cream, just use half a cup, but be aware that the meal won’t taste quite as awesome.
  4. Use a large spoon to scoop the creamy mushrooms onto the toasted bread and serve immediately, topped with finely chopped parsley.

AND …

The quality of bread used has a direct impact on the end result and your enjoyment of the meal. These days we have a wide variety of great breads available in South Africa and, compared with meat, special breads are relatively cheap so buy the best available. When you walk into an artisan bakery and you feel a bit unsure of yourself, just ask for a sourdough bread. When serving braaied food with a slice of bread, you want to butter the bread on one side and toast it over medium coals for the final few minutes of your braai until golden brown. The idea is to have it ready with the rest of the meal. For any braaied meal that I suggest you serve with bread, you get bonus points if you serve it with freshly braaied roosterkoek.

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