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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.

THE GARLIC BURGER CHARTER

knoffelburgerWith this burger we are not going to beat about the garlic plantation. It is our explicit intention to have the recognisable flavour of garlic ever present. Let’s clear something up – there is no such thing as ‘breath that stinks of garlic’. What these counter-garlic revolutionaries are actually trying to say is ‘you carry the pleasant smell of garlic, I am jealous of the great meal you had’. Garlic is very healthy for you and has been used by humans to flavour food for over 7 000 years. If you have friends who frown upon the abundant culinary use of garlic, my suggestion is that you simply cut them from your circle of trust. Alternatively, give them a fair warning not to attend your garlic burger braai!

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)
FOR THE BURGERS

  • 1 kg beef mince
  • 4 hamburger rolls
  • 1 roll or slab of garlic and herb butter
  • 1 tot olive oil
  • salt and pepper (freshly ground)
  • salad leaves
  • 2 tomatoes (sliced)

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 1 tot butter
  • 6 garlic cloves (crushed and finely chopped – this is enough if the cloves are a decent size; otherwise use more because you want the sauce to have a strong taste of garlic)
  • 1 tot flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup cheese (aged white Cheddar, grated)
  • 1 tsp salt

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Make the patties: Cut four disks of about 1 cm thick from the roll or slab of garlic butter. Use your wet hands, recently washed with soap and then rinsed with cold water, to divide the mince into 4 evenly sized balls and then form the patties around the disks of butter. The idea is to have firm patties with the butter disks at the centre. In practice you put a disk of butter on a ball of mince, push it right to the middle of the mince with one of your thumbs and then form the patty around it. To flatten and neaten them I like to put them on a flat surface, press down on the patty with the palm of one hand and pat them all around the side with the other hand. Put the patties on a plate and refrigerate until you’re ready to braai them.
  2. Make the creamy garlic sauce: Melt the butter in a pot and add the garlic. Let the garlic fry for about 30 seconds and then add the flour and mix well. Add a little bit of milk at a time and stir continuously. Keep on adding the milk and once it is all in, gradually add the cream and stir until all of that is in as well. Now let the mixture simmer for a few minutes. Add the cheese, stir that in and season to taste with salt. You could theoretically perform this step while you braai the patties but I like to do it beforehand and then to reheat and wake up the sauce just as it’s about to be served.
  3. Braai the patties: The biggest challenge is keeping the patties in one piece by ensuring that they don’t stick to the grid. Put the patties down very gently, do not press on them, do not handle them any more than is necessary, and when you turn them do it with extreme care. Start on very high heat to seal them quickly, hopefully before they have the chance to ‘sink’ into the grid and get stuck. Braai the patty for about 8 to 10 minutes in total. Once on each side will do the trick so you will need to turn them only once. Don’t fiddle with the patties to check whether they are sticking. As the meat starts to cook, it releases fat and juices and usually loosens itself from the grid. If you always have a big problem with patties sticking to the grid then brush them with oil on both sides before the braai.
  4. For bonus points: If you have the time and enough space on your braai grid, toast the insides of the rolls after you’ve buttered them during the final stages of your braai.
  5. Assemble your burgers: Place lettuce and tomato at the bottom of the bun, followed by your braaied garlic-stuffed patty and a generous helping of the creamy garlic and cheese sauce. Finish with salt and pepper.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-1-53-37-pmPeppadew is a proudly South African product and a great option to stuff chicken breasts with for a braai. Naturally this tripartite alliance isn’t complete without some feta cheese. The flavours of this recipe work well together and the braai part of it is also pretty straightforward. The tricky part is making the incision in the chicken breasts to stuff them. Use a very sharp knife and please be careful. To wrap them up you use normal white string. Don’t attempt to close them with toothpicks – that’s for kitchen cooking, not for the braai. This recipe is much easier than it might sound so if you’ve never stuffed and braaied chicken breasts, give it a go!

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

  • 4 chicken breast fillets
  • 8 peppadews (mild sweet piquante peppers, chopped)
  • 2 wheels feta cheese (about 150 g, crumbled)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tot olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • honey (optional)
  • normal white string

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Cut at least 20 pieces of string, each one long enough to go around a chicken breast fillet and also to then make a knot with.
  2. Use a heavy object like a meat mallet or bottle of wine and gently whack the thick bulky part of each chicken breast once so that they drop their attitude.
  3. Use a very sharp knife (the sharper the safer) and open the chicken breasts one by one. Start by making an incision from the side, right in the middle of the thickest part and work your way in from there. Take care not to cut through either of the sides or the back ‘spine’ of the meat. You want to create a pocket that can be filled, and the bigger the pocket the more filling! Realistically you might knick and breach a side wall of a piece of meat here and there. This is not a crisis and can be fixed when you wrap them up with the string.
  4. Mix the chopped peppadews and feta together and stuff the chicken breasts with the mixture.
  5. Secure the breasts with string to keep it all together. I find that 5 pieces of string per chicken breast do the trick and ensure a hassle-free braai process. Wherever you knicked an outside wall of the chicken and the stuffing wants to escape, simply pull some adjacent meat over the hole and tie string tightly around it at that point. Once done, use scissors to cut off any long excess pieces of string from the knots.
  6. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over each piece of meat, drizzle with olive oil so that it does not stick to the grid, and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Braai over medium heat for about 20 minutes until cooked through. The braai process of a stuffed chicken breast is more like braaing chicken drumsticks and thighs than like braaing flat chicken breast fillets. In other words use moderate heat, go slowly and turn often.
  8. During the final minutes of the braai you can paint the chicken breasts with honey as this will cause a nice caramelisation on their surface and make them look cool on your photos.

CHOCOLATE FONDANT POTJIE PUDDING

janbraai-chocolate-fondant-potjieThere is a medical reason why you should eat chocolate. The scent of the chocolate increases theta brain waves, which induces relaxation. We all know how vitally important it is to destress, relax and feel good about your life. And this is why you and your loved ones should consume the baked chocolate potjie as often as possible. It will make you a better person.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 8)

FOR THE BATTER

  • 1 egg
  • 3 tots butter (melted)
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ tot vanilla essence
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 tot cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 small slabs dark chocolate (80 g each, broken into blocks)

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • 2 tots cocoa powder
  • 1½ cups boiling water

TO SERVE

  • fresh cream or ice cream

WHAT TO DO

  1. Make the batter, part 1: In your no. 10 flat-bottomed baking potjie, whisk the egg and then use your wooden spoon and mix the butter, milk and vanilla with the whisked egg.
  2. Make the batter, part 2: Now mix the flour, cocoa, salt, sugar and chopped chocolate pieces into the wet mixture of step 1. Just use the sugar and cocoa specified as ingredients for the batter, not the sugar and cocoa for the sauce, which only comes in the next step. Everything needs to be mixed properly so use a wooden spoon and put in some effort. If you’re unfit get one of your friends or family members to help you, or buy yourself a cordless stick blender (it changed my life).
  3. Make the sauce: Stir the sugar, cocoa powder and boiling water together until all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Slowly pour this hot cocoa-sugar-water mixture over the dough mixture that is already in the pot.
  4. Bake: Put the lid on the potjie and bake for 25 minutes by placing coals under the pot and a lot of coals on the lid of the pot. Your work of art is ready when the top is firm to the touch.
  5. Serve with fresh cream or ice cream.

Braaied Tomato Soup

Jan Braai Tomato SoupYour serve your Braaied Tomato Soup with a Three Cheese Braaibroodjie.

What you need for the soup:

  • 3 tots olive oil
  • 2 red onions, chopped roughly
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled. (no need to chop)
  • 1kg of tomatoes , halved or quartered (you can use different types tomatoes for colours and extra taste)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 250 ml white wine
  • 250 ml good quality chicken stock
  • 2 tots balsamic vinegar
  • Few sprigs of fresh herbs like basil, oregano and parsley

What you need for the 3 cheese braaibroodjie:

  • Sliced white bread
  • Butter
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Grated mozzarella cheese
  • Grated parmesan/pecorino cheese

Make the soup:

  1. Place the olive oil, onion, garlic and tomatoes in your potjie or fire proof pan and season with salt and pepper. Place the pan onto the fire on very high heat and let the tomatoes start to cook and roast.
  2. As soon as the ingredients start to stick to the bottom of the pan add the white wine, stock and balsamic vinegar. Let this simmer for a few minutes and remove from the heat.
  3. Add your fresh herbs, and blend the soup with a blender or hand mixer until smooth. Taste the soup and season with extra salt, pepper and a little bit of sugar if needed.

Make the cheese braaibroodjie:

  1. Spread butter on the outside of the sliced bread and place a mixture of all three cheeses on the bread.
  2. Braai the braaibroodjies in a closed hinged grid over medium hot coals.
  3. Remember, a braaibroodjie is a draaibroodjie, so turn often until all the cheese is melted and the outsides are golden brown.

Peri-Peri Chicken Livers

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-12-01-15-pmServed with toasted bread to mop up the sauce, peri-peri chicken livers can be enjoyed as a meal on their own for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Alternatively, serve them with rice in starter portions as part of a more expansive braaied meal. The peri-peri sauce recipe as given below can also be used with prawns, steak, fish or chicken.

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 4 people as a starter or light meal)

For the chicken livers:

  • 1 tot oil
  • 1 tot butter
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 500 g chicken livers
  • 1 tot brandy
  • peri-peri sauce (see below)
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tot parsley (finely chopped)

For the peri-peri sauce:

  • 1 tot oil
  • 1 tot vinegar
  • 1 tot lemon juice
  • 1 tot water
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli or peri-peri powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed or finely chopped)
  • 1 red chilli (finely chopped)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Using a fireproof pan or cast-iron pot, heat the oil and butter.
  2. Add the chopped onion and fry until soft. This takes about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken livers, then fry over high heat for about 5–7 minutes until they start to brown on all sides.
  4. Next add the brandy and cook for another minute or two.
  5. Add the peri-peri sauce and then cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce starts to reduce and becomes slightly sticky.
  6. Now add the cream, stir, and heat through until it just starts to boil again. Take off the fire and top with chopped parsley. Serve straight from the pot, preferably with bread toasted over the coals.

Make the peri-peri sauce:

Mix together all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Use all of this sauce in the chicken liver recipe. If the chicken livers don’t taste hot enough for you, throw in some more chilli powder or chopped chillies.

AND …

You can buy chicken livers in any supermarket, usually frozen but sometimes fresh. Check the label and go for ‘cleaned and trimmed’ livers where you can. If you buy them frozen, first thaw them completely. Next you should clean them, if necessary, by cutting away any sinew. Lastly you should rinse them thoroughly and then drain off the excess water. But infinitely easier is to buy them fresh!

Breakfast Braaibroodjies

Jan Braai Breakfast BraaibroodjieThe braaibroodjie (braaied toasted sandwich) is the highlight of many a braai. Those not yet emancipated by the fact that you don’t need meat at every braai, frequently braai meat as a pretext when all they actually want is braaibroodjies. Top your work of art with a sunny side up egg or two for the ultimate in breakfast braai. This is the superior South African braai fire version of the classic French croque-madame.

WHAT YOU NEED (makes 9 braaibroodjies)

  • 1 pre-sliced loaf white bread (usually contains at least 18 useable slices)
  • 300 g cheddar cheese (sliced – grate if you want to, but it falls out easier)
  • 1 large onion (sliced into rings)
  • 4 tomatoes, sliced (you need 2 slices per braaibroodjie and there are on average 5 useable slices per tomato)
  • chutney
  • butter
  • salt and pepper
  • one or two eggs per person

WHAT TO DO TO ASSEMBLE

  1. Butter all the slices of bread on one side. Slice the cheese, onion and tomatoes.
  2. Place half the bread slices butter side down, spread chutney on them and evenly distribute all the cheese, tomato and onion on top. Grind salt and pepper over that.
  3. Cover with the remaining bread slices, butter side facing up. Some people try and make an issue out of whether to butter the braaibroodjie on the outside or inside. There is no debate; you butter it on the outside. This makes a golden-brown finished product, and also keeps the braaibroodjie from sticking to the grid.

WHAT TO DO TO BRAAI

  1. Braaibroodjies are always braaied in a toeklaprooster (hinged grid). Using an open grid for this is silly to the point of stupid. You want very gentle heat and you need to turn them often. They are ready when the outsides are golden brown, the cheese has melted and all the other ingredients are properly heated all the way through. If the outsides are burnt before the cheese is melted you’ve failed.
  2. Many people braai the broodjies right at the end, after the meat. The advantage is that the coals are then quite gentle but the disadvantage is that your meat then rests until it is cold.
  3. An alternative trick is to have two identical braai grids. Braai your meat in the bottom one and your braaibroodjies in the other, resting right on top of the meat grid. When you want to turn the meat, first remove the top grid with the braaibroodjies in it. Turn both grids and then replace, meat grid below, bread grid on top. The heat will reach the bread and start to melt the cheese but the meat will protect the bread from the direct heat and getting burnt. Right at the end, when you remove the meat, give the bread solid direct heat for about a minute on each side to get some colour.
  4. Top each braaibroodjie with one or two baked sunny side up eggs.

BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS

Jan Braai Breakfast of ChampionsThis recipe is pretty self-explanatory and I trust that even the casual observer will clearly see how great it is by simply reading through it. You make a very high-quality relish in your potjie on the fire and then you bake or poach some eggs in hollows in the relish. Simple as that. The only ingredient that could be mildly challenging is cabanossi, which is similar to droëwors and can be found at butcheries throughout South Africa. Failing that, just use salami or chorizo.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4–6)

  • 2 tots olive oil
  • 200 g cabanossi (or chorizo or salami, sliced into small pieces)
  • 1 red onion (sliced)
  • 1 red pepper (sliced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (or chilli powder)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes (halved, 250 g)
  • 1 tub feta cheese (200 g, Danish style works best for this one)
  • 6 jumbo eggs (the biggest eggs you can find)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • a handful of basil leaves (chopped or torn into smaller pieces)
  • slices of bread (toasted on the fire, to serve)

WHAT TO DO

  1. In your no. 10 flat-bottomed potjie, heat the oil and fry the cabanossi, onion and pepper for a few minutes. You want the cabanossi to sweat and release a good aroma, and the onion to soften.
  2. Add the garlic, cayenne pepper and paprika and fry for another minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes and mix it all together. Let it simmer covered with the lid, for about 10 minutes so that all the flavours can socialise and get to know each other.
  4. Crumble all of the feta evenly into the potjie on top of the tomato mixture.
  5. Now use your wooden spoon and make six dents or hollows in the relish, big enough for an egg. Break an egg into each hole, taking care not to break the egg yolks.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and close the lid. Leave to cook for about 6 minutes on flames or coals. The relish needs to bubble as that will cook the eggs. The meal is ready when the egg whites are mostly cooked and the yellow still mostly soft.
  7. There is no harm in lifting the lid and peeking inside the potjie to see when this is done.
  8. Sprinkle with the basil leaves and serve immediately; this is not a meal that needs to rest before serving.

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