The one word prompt for this week’s Stream of Consciousness is Grill.
All over Southern Africa if one wants to grill meat it’s over a braai that one will do it. Barbecue is what it is called in most other countries. But just to be clear – Braai is really not the same as barbecue – we do NOT grill hamburgers or hot dogs on a Braai! Wood is key – it must be hard and dry so that it burns hot and long. The whole process of sitting by the fire for an hour or so while having sun-downers is all part of the ritual. In the Western Cape we have the alien invader, Rooikrans (red-eye wattle) which is excellent to use as braai wood.
The word braai is shortened from the Afrikaans word, braaivleis, loosely translated to grilled meat.
The word can be used as a noun or a verb.
We are having a (n) braai where braai means a meal that includes meat cooked over the fire.
We will cook on the (n) braai where the word means a construction in which one makes a fire and meat is placed on a braai grid and cooked over this fire.
Dad will (v) braai the meat where the word means grill.
South Africans are so crazy about braaing that many have both an indoor and outdoor braai at their homes. The die-hards will braai no matter what the weather
– we have even been known to braai in the falling snow.
It’s also not only meat that we will braai. Fish is a very popular choice and every fisherman I know has his own unique way of doing a snoek or yellowtail over the coals. The Earl’s specialty is Yellow-tail basted with what was once his secret sauce. He recently shared the recipe, much to the horror of his children, in an article in Ski-Boat Magazine!
Not only is meat, fish or chicken grilled over the braai, other foods can be cooked in the braai coals too. Sweet potatoes wrapped in tinfoil are absolutely delicious cooked this way. Constantia sandwiches are another winner. Place cheese, onion and tomato sandwiches on the grid and toast on both sides. Delicious. A favourite way to cook butternut squash – stuff it with a mixture of chutney and tomato and onion mix, wrap in tinfoil and cook in the hot coals. I could go on with many more delicious ways to braai your veggies.
The Braai is traditionally the domain of the Man of the House but no braai is complete without the salads – usually made by Mom. Potato salad, rice salad, pasta salad, Greek salad – any salad will do.
From it’s humble beginnings as a method of cooking while out in the bush, The South African Braai has become an elaborate way of entertaining and is an integral part of South African Social Life. Don’t mess with the Braai Master -His braai is sacred and his woman let’s him think so – It’s one way of not having to cook the whole meal herself!