Saturday, 30 August 2014

Braai, BBQ the South African Way

lamb sosaties, lamb kebab with apricots

Braai, BBQ the South African Way

I find barbecue planning an enjoyable progress of organising an outdoor party with the goal of bringing together your beloved family and friends. Different variations of the BBQ have been introduced in recent years in order to appeal to a variety of preferences and customs. Aside from the diversity of the ingredients used, there are also different ways of cooking meat over coal. Because of the innovations introduced in the past, there are now electric grills available to make the preparation a snap. Nonetheless, there are still many who prefer the traditional way of barbecuing, which will generally require more effort and time.

The Popularity of BBQ

One of the reasons for the popularity of grilling as part of outdoor eating is its ability of bringing socialisation to a level that is fun and relaxed. It  allows guests to choose what ingredients they want, such as the type of meat and vegetables to be grilled as well as side dishes. It can fuel long-lasting conversations and can lead into a better relationship with neighbours and friends. It can also be healthy, as long as you opt to choose the right ingredients to use.

Braai and the African Culture

In case you are not familiar, Braai is simply an African term for BBQ or roasted meat. This is part of the South African culture slowly gaining popularity all over the globe.  A proof of its popularity in the African region is having a day dubbed as the National Braai Day, which is celebrated during the Heritage Day. This year it will be celebrated on the 24th September. 
According to historical accounts, braai was discovered when an ancient African accidentally dropped a slab of meat into an open fire. From there, they discovered that the meat tasted better and was easier to chew when roasted. The rest, as they say, is history. Variations have been introduced, but its purpose remains to be gathering people over a sumptuous BBQ meal. It became the signal of African brotherhood and celebrations.

Generally speaking, braai involves grilling South African beef sausage, lamb chops, fish, and chicken, among others. The meal is usually eaten along with stews, soups and delicious side dishes.  It has been commercialised through the years, which is proven by its abundance in many restaurants with speciality in serving South African cuisine.

If you ever find yourself in South Africa or have a South African mate, make sure to not refuse any invitation for a meal involving braai. It will surely be a good way to experience their culture and to discover an authentic way of grilling meat into perfection.

Last month I was invited by my South African blogger mate, Cooksister, for a Braai feast at her house.  We brought over meat and drinks, she provided a massive banquette of lovely salads and a deliciously icy dessert. Andrew, brought bubbles too!
 a vibrant  and luscious South African bubble

 The lovely hosts and guests at Braai 2014

good friends
Of course we had South African wine:
 Houdamond South African red Pinotage  - was actually quite nice, a medium-bodied fresh red with a vibrant purple colour. It is packed with lively cassis and black cherry fruit flavours and there's a hint of spice.

Braai, what a feast!

Braai - South African gathering around the fire, celebrating its cuisine, Nick's barbecued the meats to perfection
 Meat galore, hurray for braai!
Salads:  seven layered; green, feta and pinenuts  and a fabulous rice and black bean salad
We had a lovely lamb sosaties, lamb kebab with apricots, courtesy of lovely Cecil, who I met  at a previous occasion.

oxtail potjie: as fantastic gutsy oxtail, mushroom and red wine stew cooked over open coals, deep layers of flavours and texture. Recipe by Jeanne at Cooksister

 Dessert time! cake, ice cream and a luxurious chocolate sauce

One is not impressed with the Braai gathering taking over one's playground!
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