Wednesday, July 20, 2011

South African food, Part 1

Well, today I'm going to do something a bit out of the ordinary. One of my blogging friends asked me to write a guest post about South African food. Unfortunately, I doubt I'll ever be invited to post about food, so I promised him that I'll post about it on TCoML.

So here I am. Unfortunately, South African heritage comes from a variety of cultures, so I can't really do a single catch-all post about it. 

Instead, I might end up doing a series. Not a long one, but one that I can say is a summary of our food. I might even ask some of my South African friends for help. 

Anyway the first point of departure when it comes to our cuisine: Meat is the foundation. As such, I will give you an introduction to one food tradition that actually has a day of its own in my country: 

The Braai. 

If you think I'm crazy, click on the picture. 

Alright then. The above picture pretty much shows what braai-ing looks like. Basically a barbecue, except that we NEVER braai burgers. The only refined sort of meat to feature on a braai is the sausage in the picture above. 

This, however, is NEVER referred to as sausage. 

It is called boerewors. (Directly translated: Farmers Sausage, but it doesn't go by another name.) Recipes for boerewors vary, but usually it's made out of (hopefully) coarsely minced beef with spices. The spices vary. Because of this, we actually have competitions to see who can make the best boerewors, because the difference in spices and amounts can change the taste. 

Then we have the meat: chops, steaks, ribs etc. One can also braai snoek (which is a fish). The picture will take you to a recipe. 

And then we have sosaties, kebabs of Malayan origin. See? I told you we have a varied food culture. Anyway, there are many recipes. The meat can be beef, mutton, chicken or a combination of the three. With or without onions, bay leaves etc. The marinade varies into infinity, but the picture links to a recipe for Cape Malay Curried Lamb sosaties. 

In the midst of all these proteins, we do make allowance for carbohydrates. We have mixed and potato salads, but  most importantly, we have braaied sandwiches (involving cheese in some way) or breads with preserves, or pap. 

Pap comes from the dutch word for porridge or gruel, and comes in various consistencies. My favorite pap is krummelpap (crumble porridge, also never referred to as such). We don't actually add corn to our pap, but this picture leads to a handy recipe - if you ignore their efforts to Anglicize the name. 

In the picture above, the red stuff is tamatiesmoor (apparently also called sheba sauce, this I am willing to accept), a home made tomato sauce with onions and sometimes sugar. The site the picture above links to, also links to the sauce, which I suggest you try with pap at least once in your life. Anyway, the smoor is mixed with the pap and eaten with the meat. 

And there you have it. Our braai main course. If you guys are interested, I'll go into dessert on Friday. 


AllMyPosts said...

The salads look delicious!! Awesome post!!

with warm regards
Another Author

Theresa said...

Eish, now I am hungry. Why did you have to go do that?! Love the post!

C. N. Nevets said...

My second favorite introduction to culture, beyond language, is food, so I love this post!

Do you brai over charcoal, wood, propane, or what sort of fuel is most common / most traditional / most popular?

Oh, and I cannot decide of the boerswors or the bacon in that first picture look the most delicious.

Michael Offutt said...

This looks absolutely delicious. I want to try it all. Your food looks so much more sophisticated than an American BBQ and much healthier I think than potato chips and potato salad, etc.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wonderful post, Misha! For some reason I still can't get on your other blog? But I'm enjoying this one a lot. I love learning about other cultures. South Africa was one of my grandparents favorite countries to visit. :)

alberta ross said...

as I hadn't had luch and breakfast had been a whisp of an idea before I had to go out - this was not a blog I should have contemplated reading!! so hungry now - protein is my thing - when a child or younger anyway my friends would warn people not to be shipwrecked with me as I would be the first to eat them - and, they would add, were not sure I wouldn't arrange the death to do so!!!!!
thats looks so much better than trad BBques going to try that thanks for post will be watching with great interest

Margo Kelly said...

And ... now I'm hungry. thanks.


Looks and sounds DELICIOUS!! :0)

MISH said...

Great post Misha ~ can't wait for summer when we start braaing again ! And if you need any help with the food posts , just give me a shout !

Laurie said...

What a fabulous, interesting post!! Thanks so much...I just learned lots of new words for foods I am unfamiliar with and the pics were awesome!

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and checking out my review on Laurie London's new book. I'm a new follower now.
Laurie's Thoughts & Reviews

Raising Marshmallows said...

Mmmm...all of that meat looks delicious! Great pictures they made my mouth water!

Caitlin said...

Looks yummy! And you should definitely do a dessert post! This couldn't have been timed better, my daughter's birthday party is in a couple of weeks. We're doing a giraffe theme so I wanted to try some kind of African food to serve. Only problem, we don't own a grill :( Can't wait to see what the dessert is.

Theresa Milstein said...

I didn't know much about South African cuisine. It would make sense that there would be influences from other cultures. Those sausages look good!

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Oh wow, now I'm starving LOL!!! Good post:)

Geoff Maritz said...

Hello Misha. Nice post. I must admit that the idea of adding sweet corn to pap is quite a good one.
There are going to have to be some other sorts of South African foods mentioned when you next return to this subject like baboetie (not sure how you spell that) and vetkoek and mince and possible some of the african dishes like pap en njama or samp and beans. Of course if you are going to write about pudding you absolutely have to mention melktert and koeksisters.
You could write about so many dishes from here that it could turn into a blog of it's own.
God bless, Geoff.