A true South African braais come rain or shine – and oh boy, today was testament of that! My French family arrived about a week ago and have been speaking about having a good old braai ever since. Despite the heavens opening mid meal, and a swift relocation to the boma, the afternoon was filled with laughter and fabulous SA wine!
For those who don’t quite know what a ‘Braai’ is, it is a far more festive version of an American barbeque!! A gathering where South African families cook meat over the fire and enjoy traditional side dishes such as creamy potato bake, pasta salad, garlicy bread, mielie pap (savoury corn porridge)…the list goes on. My family has built so many memories around the trusty braai; lazy Saturday afternoons in front of the rugby on the tele, sandy summer vacations, birthday parties and school gatherings. The smell of the burning wood is still just sublime.
As a foodie, I’m always trying to experiment with side dishes that are different to the usual. As we had one too many dieters around the table, my mum and I opted for a warm mielie and vine tomato salad, herbed baby potatoes and tossed green salad. The men were in charge of sizzling the organic venison fillets (from my Grandpa’s farm), BRM ribs, and plenty pork and lamb sausages. Lunch was served with breads and finished off with a cheese platter and berry pavlova!
The dishes were really easy to pull together, but for those who prefer a little more direction, here are the recipes!
Chargrilled mielie and vine tomato warm salad
8 sweetcorn on the cob, broken into quarters
5 vines of small, red and yellow tomatoes (roughly about 40 baby tomatoes)
2 tsp sugar
Handful fresh coriander, chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons shop bought greek vinaigrette
- In a pan, heat a generous splash of olive and fry sweetcorn until slightly charred. Turn occasionally to prevent burning. Transfer the sweetcorn to an oven dish and bake for 10 min at 180°C or until cooked. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a separate pan, repeat the above frying process for the vine tomatoes. Be careful not to over cook them, as they tend to turn mushy and unpleasant. Once the skins are partially charred and blistered (and that they’ve released some of their juices), remove from the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Do not discard pan juices.
- Add the sugar and greek vinaigrette to the pan juices. Whisk to form an emulsion.
- Arrange sweetcorn and tomatoes on a serving platter. Drizzle over the above homemade dressing and top with red onions and coriander.
Best served warm.
Green tossed salad
Handful chopped spring onions
Handful mange tout
2 ripe avocados, sliced
Half red onion, finely sliced
Tip: Top with shaved parmesan.
- Arrange leaves in a bowl and top with the rest. Add lime juice to avocados before adding to the leaves, as this will prevent them from going brown.
Serve with South African olive oil and smoked salt.
Herbed baby potatoes
2 kg baby potatoes, rinsed
100g butter, melted
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup fresh parsley
2 sprigs rosemary
- Chop herbs finely (I use a Magimix) and add to melted butter and olive oil.
- Boil potatoes until just cooked. Drain and add herbed butter.
- Season and serve.
No rocket science needed!
Serve salads with fresh crusty bread and salted butter. Leave the meat up to the men, sit back and enjoy the afternoon.
If you try my healthy braai sides at home, don’t forget to snap and share with #galoobrious