South Africa has a rich heritage of cooking meat over an open flame, and an equally rich mix of sides to serve alongside. Here are seven of the most popular dishes to have at a South African braai.
1. Potato salad
Of all the salads at a braai, none is as important as the potato salad. Everyone has their own way of making it, using different sauces, ingredients and spices to make the dish unique. A touch of condensed milk is a common ingredient in Afrikaans recipes. If you’d like to give it a whirl, Michelin-starred chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen has a decadent version for you to try, featuring condensed milk, bacon and truffle oil.
2. Garlic bread
Bread in some form or another is mandatory at a braai, whether it be rolls for the boerewors, braaibroodjies, stokbrood or roosterkoek (more on that later!). With garlic-infused butter melting into soft baguette, garlic bread is one of our favourites. The basic garlic bread recipe is easily adjusted to make for some interesting variations. Try mixing up the butter – we’re talking corn-and-Parmesan butter, garlicky green butter and paprika butter.
3. Five-bean salad
Beans are on many braai menus, most often in the form of a salad. This five-bean salad has a wonderful sweet and tangy dressing and is super-easy to make. If you want to go a little old school, you can add green peppers and baked beans into the mix.
It may take a little bit of effort, but home-made roosterkoek or amarostile straight off the braai is definitely worth it. And with all the bread-making skills you acquired during lockdown, making roosterkoek will be a breeze. Celebrity chef Siba Mtongana’s easy recipe includes a delicious chipotle butter.
Whether it’s used in a salad, with pap, as a condiment or eaten on its own, chakalaka is one of the most iconic South African braai sides. Its spicy-sweet flavour works beautifully with savoury dishes. If you make it from scratch, you can control how spicy it is.
6. Braaied mielies
Mielies on the side or as a main (if you are doing a vegetarian braai) are always a winner, especially when they are smothered in butter. We have three innovative butters to add to your mielies, including curry butter and chakalaka butter.
If you are having a proper shisa nyama, you need to have pap. If you want to try something a little different with pap, try actress-turned chef Lucia Mthiyane’s cheesy pap balls. They’re sure to be a crowd-pleaser.