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Comprehensive step by step instruction and recipe on how to braai perfect steak – by Jan Braai.
What is Chisa Nyama? What is Chesa Nyama? What is Shisa Nyama?
The National Braai Day initiative aims to position National Heritage Day as South Africa’s annual day of celebration. We call on all South Africans to unite around fires, share our heritage and wave our flag on 24 September every year.
- National Heritage Day is a public holiday in South Africa. Our government set this day aside for all South Africans to celebrate our rich heritage.
- Across race, language, region and religion, we all share one common heritage. It is called many things: Chisa Nyama, Braai and Ukosa to name few. Although the ingredients may differ, the one thing that never changes is that when we have something to celebrate we light fires, and prepare great feasts.
- We encourage all South Africans to unite around fires, share our heritage and wave our flag on 24 September every year.
- We liken this initiative to annual celebrations cherished by other leading nations of the world; Thanksgiving for Americans, St Patricks Day for the Irish, Bastille Day for the French and Australia Day for Australians.
- This is a noble cause, which will contribute to strengthening South Africa as a nation through this act of nation building and social cohesion.
The Irish have their own version of National Braai Day, called St Patrick’s Day – the day their country comes to a standstill and has one big party. I’ve been to some St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Dublin as part of my ongoing research and development of National Braai Day. Every single pub in Ireland serves a fantastic pie made with steak and stout. I’ve adapted their recipe to suit our local braai conditions. You make the pie filling in a potjie and you braai the pastry on a grid over the coals. Alternatively, just serve the awesome contents of your potjie on a bed of mash or with a piece of baguette bread!
WHAT YOU NEED (serves 6)
- 2 tots olive oil
- 1 kg steak (chuck is best, other- wise rump; cut into blocks of 2 cm × 2 cm)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tot cake flour
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 1 carrot (peeled and finely chopped)
- 2 sticks celery (finely chopped)
- 1 tot chopped mixed herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley; or use 1?2 tot dried mixed herbs)
- 1 can or bottle stout (about 400 ml)
- 250 g button mushrooms (halved)
- 1 packet puff pastry (400 g, completely thawed)
WHAT TO DO
- Heat the olive oil in a large flat-bottomed potjie over a hot fire. Add the steak cubes, salt and pepper and stir. Shake in the flour, and then stir well to distribute the flour evenly over everything. The bottom of the pot will seem a bit dry, but don’t worry too much about it. Fry for about 5 minutes until the pieces of flour-coated meat turn golden brown.
- Add the onion, carrot, celery and herbs, then fry for another 5 minutes.
- Now pour in the stout. Stir to loosen any sticky bits on the bottom of the pot, and then bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, cover the pot, and then simmer over low heat for 1 hour. It is very important to keep the heat low. ‘Low heat’ means a few coals, and no flames of any significance under the pot.
- When the pie filling in the potjie is nearly ready (after about 1 hour of total cooking time), unroll the puff pastry from the packet. Now you have two options: either cut the pastry into the shape of the bowls you’re going to serve the pies in, or cut it into squares that you will put on top of the filling on plates or in bowls. Braai the pastry shapes in an oiled, closed hinged grid for about 20 minutes over very mild coals. Turn the grid often until the pastry is golden brown and crispy. Don’t braai them too fast, as there is a good chance they will burn if you do. The pastry will look like it is starting to ‘melt’ at first; don’t worry, it will soon firm up and become easier to handle if you just carefully turn it quite often. This part is optional, you can also just serve the filling on a bed of mash potatoes or with pieces of baguette bread.
- When the filling is ready, take the potjie off the fire and stir well. The liquid should be thick and glossy. If not, cook uncovered for a few minutes to let it reduce and thicken. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.
- Serve by dishing up the filling into bowls or onto plates and then put the braaied pieces of pastry on top of each of them. You could also serve the pies with mashed potatoes if you like.
AND … Although Guinness is the internationally famous example of stout, it’s by no means the only one. You can make this recipe just as effectively with a local favourite like Castle Milk Stout.
This recipe is a adaption of my original malva pudding potjie recipe that appears in my 2nd book, Jan Braai – RedHot (Afrikaans edition called Jan Braai – Vuurwarm). The dough and baked part is identical to the original recipe but I’ve added some freshly squeezed satsuma juice (you can use satsuma, orange, naartjie or any of their family members) for a new take on the old classic.
WHAT YOU NEED (serves 6)
For the batter:
- 1 cup flour
- 1?2 tot bicarbonate of soda
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tot apricot jam
- 1 tot vinegar
- 1 tot melted butter
- 1 cup milk
For the sauce:
- 1?2 cup cream
- 1?2 cup milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1?2 cup freshly squeezed juice
- 1?2 cup butter
WHAT TO DO
- Light the fire. You need fewer coals than when braaing steak, but you’ll need a steady supply of coals once the pudding is baking. Now use butter to grease your no. 10 flat- bottomed baking potjie. You can see a picture of this kind of potjie in the photo collage above.
- Sift the flour and the bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and stir in the sugar (you don’t need to sift the sugar).
- In another mixing bowl, whisk the egg very well. Now add the jam, vinegar, butter and milk, whisking well after adding each ingredient.
- Add the wet ingredients of step 3 to the dry ingredients of step 2 and mix well.
- Pour the batter into the potjie, put on the lid and bake for 50 minutes by placing some coals underneath the potjie and some coals on top of the lid. Don’t add too much heat, as burning is a big danger. There is no particular risk in having too little heat and taking up to 1 hour to get the baking done, so rather go too slow than too fast. During this time, you can add a few fresh hot coals to the bottom and top of the potjie whenever you feel the pudding is losing steam.
- When the pudding has been baking for about 40 minutes (about 10 minutes before it’s done), heat all the sauce ingredients in a small potjie over medium coals. Keep stirring to ensure that the butter is melted and the sugar is completely dissolved, but don’t let it boil.
- After about 50 minutes of baking, insert a skewer into the middle of the pudding to test whether it’s done. If the skewer comes out clean, it’s ready.
- Take the pudding off the fire and pour the sauce evenly over it. Believe me, it will absorb all the sauce – you just need to leave it standing for a few minutes. Serve the malva pudding warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, a dollop of fresh cream or a puddle of vanilla custard. A good way to keep it hot is to put it near the fire, but not too close – after doing everything right, we don’t want it to burn now.
Marina Braai Salt, the original braai salt of South Africa will be the official braai salt of the National Braai Tour. The tour takes place from 13 – 20 September 2014 and will see participants travel through South Africa on a eight day celebration of South African heritage around camp fires, doing what we do best, braaing! With the iconic orange Marina Braai Salt bottle a regular face at many a braai throughout South Africa, it was decided to include Marina in the official line-up of associated brands for the tour. The tour is about celebrating heritage around a fire, and Marina is part of that braai heritage.
With South Africa’s premium supplier of high quality beef products (and most importantly steak!) Sparta Beef being the main sponsor of the tour, all participants will braai premium quality steak every day; and on some days more than once. Due to the fact that the natural taste of the steak is what we want the focus on, it was fitting to have a condiment sponsor for the tour that focuses on a natural product like salt. We do not want to mask the fantastic flavour of Sparta steaks with cheap sauces and artificial flavourings. Just add a bit of high quality salt, to bring out the flavour.
For more information and to enter the National Braai Tour 2014, click here.