WE´RE in the final stretch of Heritage Month and, having had our appetites whetted by “National Braai Day’ this week, I´ve decided to try three fireside recipes from recently released cookery books that are currently on the shelves.
Starter: Chicken-mayo “braaibroodjies’
This recipes is from Vuurwarm, the new book by Jan Braai that was released just in time for Braai Day. It is also available in English although I tested (and translated) the recipe from the Afrikaans edition. Both are published by Human & Rousseau.
Jan Braai writes that this recipe combines two of his favourite things to eat – the chicken-mayo sarmie and the traditional “braaibroodjie’. He suggests “blue label’ (French-style) mayo with this, rather than the more tangy “green label’ mayo; I just made my own.
It´s a great way to use up leftover braaied chicken, or you can just buy some rotisserie chicken instead. For six “braaibroodjies’ you will need:
1 large cooked chicken
¾ cup mayonnaise
½ onion, finely chopped
3 medium-sized gherkins, finely chopped
1 dash of chutney
1 dash of mild mustard
Parsley, finely chopped
A little milk for thinning
1 tsp salt (unless chicken is already seasoned)
½ tsp black pepper
12 slices white bread
Remove the meat from the bones; discard the skin and bones.
Cut or tear the deboned chicken into smaller pieces. Mix all the ingredients except for the bread and butter together in a large bowl. Butter each slice of bread on one side. Pack half of the slices, buttered side facing down, onto a clean surface. Divide the chicken filling equally among the six slices.
Place the remaining slices on top, buttered side facing up. Place the sarmies inside a grid and braai over medium heat, with the grid placed quite high over the coals. Turn regularly so the bread doesn´t burn.
The sarmies are ready when golden and crisp on the outside.
Jan Braai quips that if you want the dish to be even grander, for instance to serve it as the main course for your wedding(!), you can also add cooked bacon and cheese slices before braaiing the sarmies.
Mains: Braai prawns
If you´re feeling saturated after eating too much meat on Braai Day then try this recipe for braai prawns by Hein Scholtz, as taken from his book Munch.
“Yes, it feels weird to braai seafood – especially considering the abundance of red meat in our country,’ Hein writes. He suggests we do as the Aussies do and use the coals to bring out the best in seafood.
He serves his prawns as a starter but I did them as a main course this week and they were great.
For a starter you could serve four to six but for mains I would suggest a generous 12 prawns per person; in this case, this recipe would do for two.
Munch is published by Struik Lifestyle and retails for R170.
24 de-veined prawns, defrosted if frozen
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
1 whole lemon, halved
8 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
Place the prawns in a large mixing bowl and drizzle over the oil, paprika, salt, pepper, rosemary and juice of half a lemon. Mix gently.
Marinate the prawns for at least 30 minutes before braaiing.
Make sure the coals or flames are at a medium-high heat. Thread three prawns onto each skewer.
Braai the prawns for no more than two minutes per side, squeezing over the remaining lemon juice before turning them. Use a hinged grill so you don´t have to worry about turning each skewer individually.
If using an open grid, take it off the heat so you don´t burn yourself.
Serve with guacamole, harissa-flavoured hummus or homemade tartar sauce (Hein has recipes for these elsewhere in the book).
He says you can also use the marinade with calamari or baby squid. For extra bite, he likes to add some cayenne pepper or chilli flakes.
Dessert: Chocolate cake in oranges
This recipe, which serves six, is from Bundu Food for the African Bush, by Rita van Dyk. It is published by Struik Lifestyle and retails for R180.
“This recipe may sound like a gimmick (who has heard of an orange being used as a cake pan?), but it tastes first-class,’ writes Rita.
“The orange halves lend a special flavour to the chocolate cake. Moreover, it´s a ‘piece of cake´ to make.’
1 x 510g packet Pillsbury Rich Chocolate Cake mix
1¼ cup water
1/3 cup oil
Foil (enough for 6 parcels)
Cut the upper part of the orange, big enough so that you can insert a knife and a spoon into the hole to remove the flesh. Using a sharp knife, loosen the flesh in a circular motion, then scoop it out with a spoon without damaging the peel. (Keep the orange segments for a salad). Mix the cake mixture, eggs, water and oil together and spoon the mixture into the orange cups. Only half-fill the oranges with the cake mixture.
Place the orange lids on top of the oranges and wrap up each orange firmly in a double layer of foil.
Place the parcels upright on the grid over low to medium-hot coals for 30 minutes.
Open one orange to test whether the cake has cooked before removing all of them from the grid (push a sharp knife into the centre of the cake; it should come out clean).
Leave the cake to cool slightly, then sprinkle with icing sugar. You can put a cherry on top to round it off.