Aweh, it’s time to blitz, braai, bring out the dopentjop with My Chef and celebrate Heritage Month
With Heritage Day around the corner, South Africans are gearing up to celebrate with good old fashioned braais, friends and family.
For those who enjoy a good braai; here are some tips to take your braaing skills to a whole new level: which our celebrities are endorsing courtesy of My Chef
Tip 1: How to make the perfect fire:
When cooking on a weber be sure to let in the air, prepare firelighters, and then make a pyramid out of charcoal briquettes, then light the firelighters, arrange coals. After 25 minutes or so, the coals should have turned grey, spread the briquettes. Warm up the grid and then get cooking. Another little tip, when cooking on an indirect heat, put the lid on and let it cook.
Tip 2: How to make the perfect marinade:
Season your marinade and do a taste test to check, so that it is not too bland or too salty. Use fresh herbs instead of dried. Be careful with adding ingredients like honey, as this can burn quickly and leave your meat bitter and burnt on the outside, yet undercooked in the center.
Add an acid to your marinade, such as, vinegar or any type of citrus lemon juice being the most popular. This helps add flavour and tenderise your meat, so be sure to leave your protein submerged in the marinade for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Fat content in the marinade is also important. Infuse oils with chilli, herbs or spices by heating them up slightly, then adding your flavouring, letting them cool and storing them. The flavour will intensify day by day. It’s important to add your fat, olive oil, sunflower oil, butter etc, to the acid to help the marinade form an even coating to the meat as well as to help with the heat distribution.
Tip 3: How to cook various types of meat:
Boerewors: twist and cut your wors into sausages. This will make it easier to turn on the braai and prevent it from breaking during the flip. It also sets out even portions to ensure no one goes without.
Chicken on the bone: Season or marinade the pieces overnight, microwave in a closed dish for 5-8
Minutes before braaing, this will ensure the inside is cooked after it’s been flashed on the coals.
Steaks: Turn as little as possible, season well just before placing on the coals, during and after braaing, let them rest for 5-10minutes before slicing, don’t overcook or poke.
Be sure to own a decent pair of tongs, and never try turn the meat with a fork, as you will poke it!
Tip 4: How to cook fish on the braai in tinfoil – dressing fish.
Firstly, some prefer to fillet the fish to remove bones. Fish can be one of the best proteins cooked on the braai if done correctly.However, when selecting a fish be sure to have a decent sized fish to start off with; something like Snoek, Yellowtail, Tuna, or a good size Shad, make sure they are in season and SASSI friendly.
Ensure that the fire is really hot – so look out for white coals.
With some fish, try and keep the skin on, as it protects the flesh from overcooking, but be sure to score the skin, as this will help prevent the fish from curling up.
Have something to baste the fish, whether it is marinade, flavoured butter, mayonnaise, or some sort of dried rub sprinkled over. The best combination is something simple like freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil, seasoned well and basted over the fish last minute, as this helps bring out the true flavour.
Brush a little oil or spray on a large piece of heavy duty tinfoil large enough to handle your fish, making sure the shiniest side is facing up. Place the foil flat on the braai, place the fish in the center, skin side down, press it down flat with a spatula for a minute, you will see the protein starting to cook from the bottom up turning a pale colour.
Baste and season at this point and keep an eye on the colour as it will continue to change through the meat. Then when ready, flip it over with a spatula. Cook it for a mere 30 seconds on this side before removing it – it doesn’t take long to cook at all.
When ready, sprinkle some freshly chopped parsley or coriander; give a squeeze of citrus such as lime orange or lemon juice.
Tip 5: Ideas for vegetarian braai meals
Black mushrooms stuffed with pesto and cheese, wrapped in foil and flashed on the braai.
Sliced Brinjal, cooked over hot coals then dressed with some olive oil, wholegrain mustard and herbs. Halve then hollow out a butternut with the skin on, stuff it with ricotta, spinach and mushrooms.
Anything vegetarian, wrap it in foil and leave it to bake on the side of the coals, turning regularly.
Remember. Don’t shop! Just order the braaiicious items you need, off the My Chef menu this month, like the 3 Cheese and Herb Ciabatta, Italian salad for 6, Ruby Coleslaw for 6, Barbecued marinated pork spare ribs, Chicken Flatti Party Pack for 6, Farm style boerewors, Sweet and sticky marinated Chicken thighs – there is an entire range to choose from.
To find out more or to order some braai essentials, visit www.mychef.co.za
This edition by Fred Felton