Heritage Day previously known as Shaka Day (and having spent my childhood in the Kingdom of the Zulu, this is a name I still think of fondly), and famously christened Braai Day was not a day of leisure in this house. So while South Africans across the nation were oiling the braai-stands, or batting eyelids for an invite to a braai (or BBQ, for the three readers of this blog from the U.S), it was a normal working day for us, compounded by two interesting facts.
- Number 1: my parents were coming to visit, which meant last minute running around, stocking up, and donning the white glove in search of dust, and
- Number 2 we were (and still are) braai-standless. Which is an awful shame to admit, living in this country. So, do take this as my attempt at intimacy. I’m sure we’ll get to it someday soon.
The fake Weber we loaned a friend flew off his apartment balcony in Sea Point one especially blustery day. The mangled grill (on which, I believe he had been braaing pork spare-ribs), lay forlornly on the roof of the Jewish Chabad centre next door. It really is a funny world, isn’t it? For everyone with a braai-stand!
*That friend, who has not replaced the cheapo stand, to date, did take great pains to invite us to his own braai. He even called on Friday, taunting us with the sound of chops sizzling on the grill. Alas, duty called and we could not sacrifice the hours*
I donned my ‘can-do’ attitude on and prepared an alternative kitchen grilled, healthy Heritage Day feast of crumbed chicken, snoek, and gave the regular sides a delicious twist (I’m especially proud of the Rockstar Potato Salad). We enjoyed this meal together with my folks that evening.
Coriander, Mint and Cumin crumbed Chicken
(the prefect spicy, golden crumb)
photo property of foodandthefabulous.com
4 skinless chicken breasts
250 ml plain fat free yoghurt
1/4 tsp ground ginger and garlic
For the Crumb
4 slices wholewheat bread, baked in oven on low heat till golden and crisp. Use white bread, if you prefer. You can also pop the bread in a toaster, till golden.<
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp NoMu Moroccan rub
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or paprika
salt to taste (I used the old South African favourite, Aromat)
1 egg, beaten
few tablespoons plain white cake flour
Flatten chicken with a meat mallet, and leave to marinate in yoghurt and ginger and garlic. Mix well. I left mine in the staycool section of the fridge for almost 36 hours, to tenderise. If you can, let it sit overnight or for a few hours at least- this will contribute to the overall result of tender, succulent chicken, coated by a crisp crumb. Cut up the cooled toasts and process with other ingredients, except the egg and flour, to a fine crumb.
Set yourself up for the crummage. I find it best to lay the crumbs out on a large, flat tray, the beaten egg in a longish bowl or container that can accommodate the flattened chicken breast, and the flour on a plastic board that you don’t mind raw chicken touching.
First roll the chicken in the flour, dust excess and dip both sides in the egg quickly. Now roll in the crumbs. Lift and shake slightly for wayward crumbs to fall off. Roll in crumbs again and shake.
Bake in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius, for 15 minutes. Turn and bake for a further 10-15 minutes.
Serve with hummus or a yoghurt dip.
grilled snoek, property of foodandthefabulous.com
I used a slightly smoked fish, so the seasoning needed is minimal.
1 large fillet, cut down the centre and deboned
1/4 onion sliced finely into rings
1/2 punnet cherry or any baby tomatoes, sliced in half
freshly ground black pepper
Italian parsley (optional)
few tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Prepare a piece of heavy duty foil, large enough to fit the fish. First place the baby tomatoes on the foil.
Transfer to a baking tray.
Add the fish fillets over and arrange onions and parsley atop the fish. Grind pepper over and drizzle generously with olive oil.
Grill for 10-12 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.
Serve with the grilled baby tomatoes and onion rings.
* I have made this before, adding a larger quantity of seasoned chopped tomatoes (firm, not overly ripe variety), and more onion rings, under the fish. This gives you a perfect salsa to serve with the fish and it’s all done together. Fast and fabulous!
Rockstar Potato Salad
I am not a fan of mayonnaise (except when it is made by hand, in an attempt to fizzle out fury. Try pulling off anger, after 15 minutes of frantic whisking by hand). So this potato salad deviates from the standard braai staple, but packs a punch with wholegrain mustard and caramelised onions.
Serving bowl of baby potatoes, skins on and cut in half. (your bowl will determine how much you need)
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
2 tsp Oded’s Caramelised Onion Marmalade (adjust both, according to quantity of potatoes)
salt to taste
Steam potatoes in microwave till soft, but not completely done. This will depend on the wattage of your oven. 4.5 minutes was enough in mine
Oil a griddle pan and add potatoes, turning for 2 minutes or until done.
Add mustard and onions and toss to mix. There is a bit of spluttering that goes hand in hand with this. Do be careful! Season with salt, if you prefer.
The gungy three bean salad will remain a comforting regular at braais for a long time still. This is my lighter, sprightlier version- a single bean, with a zippy Asian dressing.<
250 g green beans steamed or boiled in salted water for 2-3 minutes and refreshed in iced water.
few red onion rings, very thinly sliced
1 radish, finely sliced
2 tsp sesame seeds, dry toasted in a pan on the stove
1 tbsp Ponzu (which is a citrus seasoned soy sauce)
2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar<
1/3 tsp wasabi sauce
1/4 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar
1/3 tsp sesame oil
Arrange green beans, onions and radish on a serving dish. Sprinkle with sesame seeds
Whisk together all dressing ingredients well, except the sesame oil. Dribble in the sesame oil, as you whisk to emulsify. Spoon dressing over.
Serve as soon as possible. The green beans tend to wilt and discolour fast, in my experience.
This was a substantially healthier version of the braai standards. Very morish and the left over chicken was piled with red pepper hummus, baby spinach and mozzarella onto wholewheat bread, and made a rather yummy toasted sandwich.
My Mum approved- waste not, want not being the motto of her generation.
Next Heritage day, I hope to regale you with tales from my very own braai-stand.
Love to hear your thoughts!