There’s Southern cooking, and then there’s really, really Southern cooking – as in food from the Southern Hemisphere. This week, as we gear up for our annual exploration of wines from below the equator, we’re also thinking about the great cuisines that accompany them.
For South Africa, that’s braai. “Braai” in the Afrikaans language means “barbeque” or “grilled meats,” but it also encompasses the idea of a social gathering, like American backyard cookouts.
Key elements of the Braai are meat … and more meat. Steaks and chops and other cuts go on the grill, along with boerevors – the traditional beef sausages originally made by colonial South African farmers (and their Dutch ancestors before them). No cole slaw and potato salad at the braai – there’s pap, a porridge made from cornmeal, and chakalaka, which sounds like a party all by itself.
Chakalaka is in fact a spicy vegetable affair served alongside the griiled meats. “I don’t even have a recipe from the braais at my home because the chakalaka always changed depending on the person making it,” says Total Wine & More’s own Siyanda M., a native of South Africa. “That’s pretty common, but the base ingredients are tomatoes, onions, carrots and beans.”
Here’s a recipe Siyanda says sounds like home (recipe via www.whats4eats.com):
- Oil — 3 tablespoons
- Onions, chopped — 2
- Bell peppers — 2
- Hot chile peppers, minced — 2 or 3
- Garlic, minced — 2 or 3 cloves
- Curry powder — 2 teaspoons
- Tomatoes, chopped — 3
- Baked beans in tomato sauce — 1 (15-ounce) can
- Salt and pepper — to taste
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium flame. Add the onions, bell peppers, chile peppers, garlic and curry powder. Saute, stirring frequently, until the onions and peppers are cooked down and wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the baked beans, salt and pepper and stir to heat through. Serve hot or cold.
With the chakalaka simmering on the stove, and the meats grilling up on the braai – that’s the word for the grill, as well as the gathering – let’s talk about what to pour. It’s customary for those participating in the braai to sip on wine, so we think it’s the perfect chance to try some exceptional values from South Africa. Our Discover the Southern Hemisphere event, with tastings going on all weekend (August 18-21), is featuring a few South African wines perfect to sip around the braai:
- Neethlingshof The Caracal is a red Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Full-bodied with notes of dark fruits and oak, it’s perfect to accompany rich and charred red meats off the grill.
- Spier Chenin Blanc is a classic, elegant white wine blancing tropical fruit and mineral flavors, ideal to sip with appetizers or grilled chicken.
- Spier Rosé is a delightfully refreshing rosé of Pinot Noir, crisp and fruity, versatile enough to enjoy throughout the braai.
Discover the Southern Hemisphere at your local Total Wine & More through this Sunday, Aug. 21.