Braai is an integral part of being a South African. Just like Castle, it brings us together. No matter where in the world you are. When there’s a Weber, there’s a way.
A traditional South African braai uses wood or charcoal. But it is the vibe that maketh the braai. A braai just isn’t a braai without the smell, the people, the drinks AND the braai side dishes.
Let’s start with Potato – The star(ch) of the show…
Braaied potato halves
A braaied potato half is essential to any braai. You can alternatively braai a spud. The golden rule here is butter. You can butter up your potato half and watch how the golden butter gloriously slides off your potato. Cream cheese is also a popular choice when it comes to topping up your potato half or spud.
Braaied baby potatoes
The smaller twin of the potato half and spud. Braaied baby potatoes are usually kept simple. It may be mixed with a butter-garlic combination and a bit of parsley to give it that “fresh” appearance.
Braai -baked sweet potato
The healthy twin. Just add a bit of salt, oil, and lemon juice, or just wrap it in foil, and bob’s your uncle.
This does count as salad, right? Potato salad is one of the ‘lekkerste’ braai side dishes. The coolness from the salad complements the warm meat perfectly. Every family has their own way of making this master side.
There are many ways to skin a potato. Potato Bake is a childhood favourite for most South Africans. Remember the Knorr Potato Bake sachets? That’s the good stuff that makes this dish an all-round champion.
Roasted baby potatoes
The latest craze for a braai side is this very easy to make, flavour-filled, one-pan roasted potato dish. All you need is baby potatoes (cut in half), rosa or cherry tomatoes and rosemary. Add a bit of olive oil, salt & pepper, and Voila!
Braai salads our mothers believed in (and still do).
Traditional Greek salad
Let us talk about lettuce. If you like to add some lettuce to that Greek salad, you must do just that. The rest is quite simple. Tomatoes, cucumber, feta, olives, and onion. Season with Greek salad dressing.
The Chakalaka and pasta salad takes the lead here but is closely followed by the Tangy Curry pasta salad. If you are not into either of these, there are many more pasta salad recipes you can try.
Curried bean salad
If you prefer your curry with your beans instead of your pasta, you will love the curried bean salad. This sweet and savoury flavour complements your braai meat like you won’t believe.
The humble coleslaw recipe has come a long way. This was either a hit or a miss in most households. Cabbage and carrots, vinegar and sugar… The chief factor of success, however, is the mayonnaise.
Carrot & Pineapple
To add raisins, or not to add raisins… The choice is yours. Other than that, the name says it all. Carrot and Pineapple salad.
Bacon Pea salad
If you didn’t eat your peas with mash and fish, your mom made sure you got these round little green veggies in at braai time. Mix anything with bacon and the world is a better place. Add cheese? An even better place!
Normally we just had plain beetroot accompanying our braaivleis, but these days there have been amazing beetroot salads we all love to experiment with, such as butternut and beetroot, beetroot and feta cheese, beetroot and goats’ cheese, beetroot and aubergine. The list goes on.
PS: Don’t forget about the infamous ‘mengelmoesslaai’, where anything goes…
Healthy braai side dishes:
In a world with banting, keto, and paleo diets, we have all become more health-conscious. See some quick, easy and healthy sides below.
Literally roast your mielie on top of the fire. Remember to turn it every now and then. You can eat as is or add a bit of salt and butter for extra flavour.
Roasted Veggie Skewers
Onion, peppers, mushroom, baby marrow, yellow squash. You can get creative here and build yourself a beautiful skewered rainbow.
If you do not like your mushroom stuffed with cheese, opt for the big roasted brown mushroom with a basil pesto filling.
Time to Carbo load.
Make sure you have enough charcoal and wood to cover the sides around your cast-iron pot to ensure that your potbrood is cooked thoroughly. You can make plain or sweet potbrood and add whatever your heart desires afterwards.
Paptert or Mielietert, both are great braai side dishes. There are many ingredients to these dishes, and you can choose to add or subtract as you wish from any recipe you come across.
Pap & Chakalaka
This goes perfectly well with wors. We all know pap and wors (must be eaten with your hands!). You dip or scoop up the chakalaka sauce with your handful of pap and if you like, dip your wors in the sauce as well.
A favourite in many homes. Whether the garlic bread is store-bought or home-made, this is an easy side that everybody loves.
Let’s end off on a high note. BRAAIBROODJIES! Classic. Tomato, Cheese, Onion, and Mrs. Balls Chutney if you’re feeling adventurous. Also, don’t forget to butter the outsides so that your braaibroodjie doesn’t stick to the grill.
With so many braai salads and side dishes to choose from, you’ll be sure to impress your family and friends for days!
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