An Educational Post: The South African Braai

On Monday we celebrated Cuan’s brother’s Birthday with a classic South African Braai. Now, I am aware that the majority of my readers are probably not South African and as such are asking, “What is this braai you speak of? What does it mean?” A braai (pronounced, like the first syllable of the name Brian, NOT “bray”) is essentially a South African Barbeque. But there are a few fundamental differences between the barbeque and the braai:


  • A braai is not weather dependent – if the South African male can find a square meter of shelter outside, he shall cook meat on grid in monsoon conditions if necessary
  • A braai almost always comprises a large, real, man-made fire and very rarely a gas-run machine, and never one of those self-contained kits of coal and firelighters in a foil pie dish that UK-folk like to take camping.
  • The quantity of meat cooked on a braai vastly outweighs that of a barbeque. At any given braai, there will always be at least three times the necessary serving of meat per person. As such, a braai either leaves one feeling nauseatingly full, or with a fridge full of cooked flesh.


"Woman! You are delegated to salads!"


Interesting fact:

The Afrikaans for “meat” is vleis, which directly translates as “flesh”. Appetising, ja?


To the braai, I took the following salad (which  I forgot to take a photo of, so you will just have to take my word for it that it was beautiful and delicious!):


Butternut, Black-Eyed Bean and Kasha Salad with a Spiced Honey Dressing

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • Ground cinnamon, mixed spice, coriander and cumin
  • 1 cup black-eyed beans, cooked, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup kasha (buckwheat groats)
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds

1. Steam, roast or microwave the butternut until tender. Drain if necessary, sprinkle liberally with the cinnamon, mixed spice, cumin and coriander and set aside to cool.

2. Bring the kasha to the boil in salted water, lower heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.

3. Boil the frozen peas in salted water for about 4 minutes until cooked. Drain and cool.

4. Once all ingredients have cooled, combine in a large bowl and pour over dressing. Season to taste.


Spiced Honey Dressing

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp soya milk
  • 2 tbsp hot peri-peri sauce or other hot sauce of choice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Stir together the soy milk and the lemon juice and leave for a few minutes to thicken.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together till thoroughly combined and emulsified.
  3. Pour over the salad before serving.


I hope you have enjoyed today’s cultural education!




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