Love them or hate them (but we know you love them, don’t worry!), braaibroodjies are an important and delicious part of any South African braai. Whether you prefer a simple cheese broodjie, or a mix of cheese, onion and tomato, the braaibroodjie is one of the most versatile South African Foods.
But just what do you put in one? Can you have too many ingredients? The answer is no! You can put whatever you like into a braaibroodjie, and as much of it as you like too – we’re extravagant like that, after all! The only limitation is your own imagination! You can come up with the best braaibroodjies recipes yourself!
How did braaibroodjies come to be?
To understand how they came to be, it is important to understand that a braai is the Saffas version of a barbeque. There are many versions of a braaibroodjie; one is basic dough wrapped on a stick and baked over a fire. The other is a simple sandwich, toasted over a fire. A typical braaibroodjie you might see is a cheese and tomato broodjie, which is done until the desired browning of the bread is achieved – and of course, the cheese is all oozy and melty, as it’s meant to be!
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to define where and when the original concept for this came about. Or who developed the concept first. What is clear, however, is that it has revolutionised camping and braaing the way we know it forever.
Can you find them anywhere other than South Africa?
Braaibroodjies are a truly unique South African food. Around the world, people enjoy many different types of grilled cheese sandwiches, but none are prepared the same way as ours. That said, we don’t hold it against them; people worldwide can still enjoy a classic South African braaibroodjie!
What are the most popular braaibroodjie fillings?
Many fillings are known to be popular in braaibroodjies, as they are also roasted sandwiches.
- Chicken and mayonnaise
- Tuna and mayonnaise
- Egg and mayonnaise
- Avocado with bacon and cheese
- Burger patties (think everything you would usually find on your favourite burger)
- Ham and cheese
- Sauerkraut with pastrami and cheese (Also known affectionately as a Reuben, which is my favourite)
- Salmon with cream cheese and dill
- Prego steak
- Peanut butter and Jam
- Ham and pineapple
- Slices of tomatoes
The ingredients you can use on a braaibroodjie are limitless. However, if you really wanted to, you could make a dessert version of a braaibroodjie by filling the sandwich with pieces of chocolate and marshmallow or make an apple pie braaibroodjie by making a filling of caramelized apples and cinnamon.
How are they cooked?
As all of us Saffas know, there is only one true way to cook a braaibroodjie: over a fire. By using a closed steel braai grid, not only will you be able to turn your braaibroodjies with ease, but you’ll also keep your sandwich in one piece.
That said, you can still enjoy braaibroodjies even if you don’t have a braai by either cooking it on the stovetop with a bit of butter in a pan or the oven if you want to make more than one at a time, perhaps for a party. These methods, however, mean you’ll lose out on the smoky taste associated with a braaibroodjie, but it will no doubt be just as delicious!
The moment we’ve all been waiting for: The braaibroodjie recipe
The best braaibroodjies recipes are those born out of love; there’s no doubt about it. All of us have our own way we like them, and although we are quite certain that no saffa needs a recipe for a braaibroodjie, we’d still like to share our favourite one with you!
What you need:
- 8 to 10 slices of bread (any bread will work)
- 1 cup grated Cheddar or Gouda cheese
- 1 cup grated Mozzarella
- 1 to 2 sliced Roma tomatoes (or as many as you’d like)
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- Black or white pepper
- Onion salt (garlic salt will also work, but this is optional)
- 6 tablespoons of oftened butter (salted or unsalted, the choice is yours)
- 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise (any brand will be fine)
What to do:
Step 1: Butter your bread on both sides. This will prevent sticking later on when you head to the braai. Then arrange your bread into pairs (every two slices will be one sandwich) and spread one slice with mayonnaise.
Step 2: Combine the cheeses in a bowl and add an equal amount to each sandwich. Next, layer a few slices of onion and tomato, seasoning well with salt, black pepper and garlic salt.
Step 3: Close the sandwiches and place them in a braai grid, ensuring you secure them tightly. Then head on over to your ready and waiting for a braai and cook the sandwiches until both sides are browned to your liking. Depending on how hot your braai is, this will take between 2 and 5 minutes.
- Ensure your braai is not too hot as this can lead to a burnt taste rather than a smoky taste. This depends on your personal preference, though.
- Butter can be substituted for margarine or mayo; just be sure to spread it generously to avoid any sticking.
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