Heritage Day aka Braai Day is tomorrow (24 September) and it couldn’t come at a better time for South Africa. The meaning of Heritage Day should have deeper meaning for the country’s people this year. What is Heritage Day all about? Well, it’s about symbolism. It’s about coming together as one and realizing that South Africa is for all of its people and not just one or a few particular groups of people. It’s a day to celebrate what sets South Africans apart from the rest of the world and to honour our unique culture, diversity, and traditions. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are on the 24th of September; join the rest of the country in celebrating Heritage Day the good old South African way; with a braai!
History of Heritage Day in South Africa
You might wonder why South Africa Heritage Day is called Braai Day and why so many South Africans celebrate the day with a somewhat extravagant braai. If you take a look at the history of Heritage Day in South Africa, you will notice that it was actually celebrated as “Shaka Day” by the Zulus in KZN.
In 2005 there was a nationwide desire to make Heritage Day all inclusive of every South African and that’s why Jan Braai, in association with the Braai4Heritage Association, created “National Braai Day”. In 2007, Archbishop Desmond Tutu became the official spokesperson for National Braai Day.
You might still be wondering “but why the braai?” Well, the reality is that every single South African, regardless of age, race, or gender, participates in the backyard braai. It’s our common culture. It’s what ties us all together. What better way to celebrate our heritage than to do the one thing we have (and love) in common, together as a nation?! And so National Braai Day was born.
Braai Day South Africa:
South African Side Dishes
As Heritage Day rolls around, South Africans all around the world drag out their braai goodies and prepare for a cook-up of note. South Africans back home take the day off to enjoy the sun, a beer, and either a boerie roll or a braai feast. If you’re in another country, you can invite your friends and colleagues over to experience this special day (and get a taste of a traditional South African braai).
While we are sure you know what you’re doing with the main event, we would like to share two of our favourite braai sides with you. Give them a try – you won’t be disappointed!
Loaded Garlic Bread
Nothing quite beats the delectable melt-in-your-mouth taste of garlic bread on the braai. It’s the ultimate braai side dish! Most South Africans grab premade and foiled garlic bread at the local grocery store and stick it on the braai to toast, but what if this time you did things a little differently? Loaded garlic bread is one way you can spruce up your braai sides and absolutely wow your guests.
What you need:
- 1 long baguette or French loaf
- 4 cloves of fresh garlic (grate or crush it)
- 1 handful of fresh basil and rocket mixed
- 1 tin of braai relish (tomato, onion, green pepper mix works well)
- 1 handful of button mushrooms
- 2 handfuls of cheddar cheese (grated)
What to do:
- Cut the baguette or French loaf open and slather generously with margarine. Now is not the time to worry about your weight or counting calories.
- Smear the grated or crushed garlic into both sides of the loaf, really mixing it into the margarine.
- Slice the mushrooms and layer them onto of the margarine and garlic.
- Spoon the braai relish on top – don’t get too carried away or the loaf will turn out soggy.
- Throw some basic and rocket on top and then sprinkle the grated cheese on top of that.
- Wrap the garlic bread in tinfoil and place it on the braai as normal.
The result is the type of garlic bread that has people talking for weeks!
Nothing completes a lekker braai like a juicy veggie kebab! If you want to make the type of veggie kebab that people keep asking for more of, follow this simple recipe.
What you need:
- Kebab skewers (metal or wooden)
- Onion (red onion is the juiciest on a braai)
- Bell peppers or thickly chopped red, green, yellow peppers
- Small garlic cloves
- Zucchini chopped into rounds
- Small button mushrooms
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
What to do:
- Thread the onion, bell peppers, garlic cloves, zucchini rounds, and button mushrooms onto the skewers in the same sequence.
- Brush the threaded veggie skewers with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
- Splash with a little balsamic vinegar just before placing them on the braai.
- Braai until the peppers are soft and the garlic cloves are no longer hard.
These skewers can be dipped in a homemade garlic sauce or good old fashioned Nando’s garlic sauce. Yum!
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