We know that it is actually Heritage Day and that this is the day when we celebrate our diversity. But for those who love to cook outdoors, 24 September is also Braai Day.
On Heritage Day all South Africans are encouraged to celebrate their cultural traditions. It is true that because of South Africa’s history one person’s culture is often another person’s trauma, so we need to practice sensitivity while we celebrate our 11 official languages and the diverse cultures. And wave our flag.
Braai Day is called many things, Shisa Nyama, Braai and Ukosa, even barbeque. This is the day when people across the land light their fires, prepare their meat and gather for friendship, company and a great meal.
Family Picnic on Heritage Day
People also often combine a picnic with a braai, or just a picnic on the beach or by the river or in a park with the family. This is a great occasion for kids to run around and adults to relax away from the hustle and bustle of life. Make a commitment this year that this is also an opportunity to switch off your phones.
Many will stress about how they are going to manage putting on a Braai Day bash with the skyrocketing prices of groceries. It isn’t that hard – you just need to make good choices; be strategic about what you cook and remember, you don’t have to overfeed everybody.
Budget Braai Meat
If you are on a budget, try cooking spicy chicken wings – they don’t require much cooking and you can serve them as snacks or as a main course.
What is a braai without Boerewors? Boerie rolls are as South African as the hadeda . All you need is a selection of condiments to make this a success and of course rolls of your choice. Just don’t overcook the boerewors, it must still be juicy. Also don’t prick holes in it, all the lekkerness runs out.
Salads for Braai Day
Old school salads work great, are popular and not expensive. You can prepare much of this the night before, pack it all in good storage containers and put it in the fridge.
- Potato and mayonnaise salad – you can fancy it up with egg, herbs, onions, capers or gherkins if you like
- Grated or sliced Beetroot in vinegar with onion
- Carrot Salad – grated with pineapple or apple, and a squeeze of orange or lemon juice
- Cabbage or slaw salad – with mayo
Bread Element for Braai Day
Garlic rolls are always popular. You can make it them home, ready to eat or wrap the rolls or loaf with garlic butter and parsley in tin foil and pop them on the fire.
Braaibroodjies – this is a dish that originated in the Cape. (a braaibroodjie is a grilled sandwich cooked on an open fire). This is really easy to make. You can pick your ingredients – just use regular white loaf bread and use the best three ingredients – cheese, onion and tomato. Butter the outside of the bread and toast slow on burning wood coals.
Side Dishes for the Perfect Braai
What do you like most to put on the coals – baked potatoes in foil? A quick tip – par cook the potatoes a bit so that you don’t end up with spuds that are charred out the outside and rock hard on the inside.
Mealies on the fire? Reuben Riffel tells us how to do this right with an excerpt from his book Reuben on Fire.
Or do you prefer a seafood braai?
Cooking on a Fire
Every family has their own way of cooking on a fire. I know that this Heritage Day will be a day of plenty of discussions about the best marinade, the tenderest chicken, the greatest potato salad and the juiciest boerewors. But don’t forget that the real reason we are celebrating is because of the diversity of the people in our country and because we can always talk and ague and share because we know that what we have in common is so much greater than our differences.
Have you tried making Jaffels on the braai? Or cooked with our handy Braai Mat?