Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Coconut & Coriander Grilled Chicken

So... it's that time of year again. We celebrate our past, embrace our fellow countrymen and have a good time around the braai*! Yes, my fellow South Africans, Heritage Day, aka National Braai day is almost upon us and the excitement in the air is palpable especially after the 30 hour braai record-breaking effort by our own Jan Braai last week.

Of course with all this talk about Heritage Day I have started to ponder my own heritage as well. And not only the genealogical facts, but the people and the stories behind those facts. Having never had the chance to meet my granddads, I've always been fascinated by any mention of these two men. 

So whenever anyone tells a story about them, I listen attentively, trying to cram it all into that special place in my head labelled "granddad". These stories are often told around the dinner table with all the extended family gathered around. They start to reminisce and my ears start to perk up. I had the privilege of hearing my aunt tell another one of these stories on Sunday, and thought it'd be fitting to share it with you in this post celebrating Heritage Day.

My mom's dad was one of quite a few kids, as was the norm in those days (I'm talking early 20th century here). Family gatherings then, especially when the extended family was also involved, tended to be rather large, elaborate affairs. Obviously no-one's house was ever big enough to house everyone and so a plan had to be made, or as we like to say in Afrikaans: " 'n boer maak 'n plan!" 

The kids and teenagers were relegated to mattresses on the floor, and due to lack of space everyone was crammed into the same room. Now this must've been a rather large room (possibly a lounge of some sorts I would imagine), as, my aunt tells us, they used to hang up a sheet in the middle of the room to divide the room into boys only and girls only sections. Back in the day modesty was a pretty big deal. But, of course, boys being boys, they weren't content for too long with the state of affairs. After all, how is a guy supposed to sleep with the knowledge that there is a whole bevy of beauties in the very same room?

They had to peruse the goods (so to speak!) for themselves and with the help of my granddad (who was in his teens at this stage), formed a human tower to facilitate peeping over the sheet and into the forbidden land. But, again, boys being boys, the poor sods at the bottom certainly wasn't going to let anyone catch a peek if they couldn't catch a peek themselves. And so, unceremoniously, they pulled one of the guys in the human tower's pants down, causing him to let go of the guy on top of him. The guy on top had no choice but to try and grasp for the nearest thing which would prevent him from falling. Unfortunately, that thing was the sheet and, sheets being sheets, the whole thing came tumbling down. Resulting in some very flustered boys and some rather bemused looking girls.

So, Oupa Japie, this one is for you.
BTBL logo
I am submitting this to Cook Sister's Braai the Beloved Country blogging event. Deadline for submissions is tomorrow, the 23rd of September and the round-up of all the delicious braai recipes will be posted on Heritage Day/National Braai Day (the 24th of September), so pop on over for some great braai ideas!

*Braai is a South African word meaning barbeque and is pronounced to rhyme with fry. Even though it's an Afrikaans word, it has been adopted by people of all languages in South Africa and the act of braai-ing has become synonymous with having a good time and being truly South African.

Coconut & Coriander Grilled Chicken 
Adapted from The British Larder
Serves 4 - 6

1.5 kg (roughly 3 lbs) chicken pieces, skin & bones intact
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp medium curry powder
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp fish sauce
2 lemons, zest and juice of
1/4 cup sesame, peanut or macadamia nut oil
1/4 cup fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
20g (1/4 cup) desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
10g (3 tbsp) almond nibs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Mix everything except the chicken pieces together to form a marinade. Using your hands, work the marinade into the chicken and under the skin. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
2. Transfer to a casserole dish large enough to fit all the pieces in, pouring any remaining marinade over evenly. Place in the oven at 180C (350F) and bake for around 30 minutes, turning pieces once.
3. Meanwhile, get your braai (or bbq) ready for the chicken. When the coals are ready (they should not be too hot, or the marinade will burn), place chicken on the grid and cook, turning frequently until completely cooked through with a beautifully crisp skin. 

Serve hot off the coals with a side salad. Braaied chicken is of course best eaten with your hands and with oil dripping down your chin.

If there are any leftovers (and that's a very big if), I would recommend shredding the chicken and making chicken mayo sandwiches with punch. Add a bit of chutney to the mayo and you've got yourself a terrific lunch.


Joanne on September 22, 2010 3:08 am said...

I guess men have not changed very much throughout the years. Although I'm not really sure that was the point of your story :P

Thanks for sharing this with us! Both the stunning chicken dish and the super cute story!

Nina said...

Marisa, jou ou doring. This is stunning. I totally am with you on this story telling thing. We have a 6 seater table on Hermanus' stoep and I force my children to sit and liste.......precious man!!

Arnold on September 22, 2010 5:55 am said...

A great story well told. The chicken looks delicious. Who would have thought of coconut and coriander all together, it looks great. Thanks for this. Enjoy your Heritage Day.

Claudz on September 22, 2010 6:14 am said...

Thanks for sharing the story!
Once again, you've blown away my taste buds. We have chicken on the weber once a week and this recipe is being stored for next week. You're turning me into a fab little chef I tell you!!

Marisa on September 22, 2010 7:05 am said...

Nope, they clearly haven't! I love stories like this where people are REAL - awesome and mindblowingly to think of your granddad as a naughty teen. :-)

Marisa on September 22, 2010 7:05 am said...

I feel like I'm running out of time on catching up with all the stories! Trying to preserve those ones that I do still remember or get to hear.

Gaby866 said...

Nothing better than big extended families ! as for the way you did this chicken.. so different ! will definitely try this out. thanks so much

Tara on September 22, 2010 11:00 am said...

This looks delicious! And I'm not even that big a fan of coconut! Would it would as a plain oven-baked dish do you think? Or is it better suited to a braai?

Marisa on September 22, 2010 11:10 am said...

If braai-ing is not an option, I think it would work splendidly in the oven. Just place it under the grill for the last 10 minutes or so to crispen up nicely.

Faith on September 22, 2010 1:53 pm said...

What a great story and a beautiful dish! I love the bright flavors in it. I hope you have a lovely Heritage Day!

The Squashed Tomato on September 22, 2010 2:33 pm said...

Lemme at it!!! That looks droolicious! Definitely going to be popping that on the braai this weekend

Marla said...

This chicken is gorgeous- I bet the flavors are wonderful.Love the idea of braai-ing :)

Carlyjcais on September 23, 2010 8:30 am said...

Oooh, that looks so delicious! Your food photos are mesmerizing...will def. have to try this recipe!
Thnx for your sweet comment on my blog..good luck with resizing hubby's

Juno on September 23, 2010 4:34 pm said...

Delicious. And mouthwatering photographs Marisa. Think I'll go and fire up the braai. x

Rabbittrick on September 24, 2010 12:01 pm said...

this looks very yummy. i don't do grilling much, though, but this is totally worth the effort. south africa's a beautiful place, and you're a beautiful people! can't wait to uncover more traditional recipes to try from my corner of the world =)

Soma said...

I am relishing just by looking at the marinade. mint, coconut, coriander and almonds.. wow.. bountiful flavors here.

Eliana on September 24, 2010 6:49 pm said...

Talk about a fun dish. This chicken looks amazing and would certainly spice up any dinner. It even looks pretty raw! Great photos.

Jeanne @ Cooksister! said...

I only knew one of my grandfathers and because neither of my parents were particularly close to their own parents, I know precious little about them. I do know that my maternal grandfather was a professor of entomology in Pretoria and travelled through Africa researching malaria mosquitos and had to drink water that had gathered in dry elephant tracks when they were really thirsty and had nothing else! I wish I could have known him as he sounds wonderful...

LOVE the flavours you have going here - thanks so much for joining in with the braai fun!

Karen on September 26, 2010 9:44 pm said...

Wow...this one looks fantastic, too! Really like the coconut and almonds in this. Great posts!

Sharon said...

Dit lyk heerlik!!! Dit maak my sommer van voor af lus om te braai - ons het 2 keer gebraai, Vrydag Vleis en Sat was dit Vis... dalk moet ons nou 'n hoederjie opsit!!
Lekker gelees aan jou Oupa se manewales!! hehe :)

ann said...

How is it that I'm Indian (by birthright and via Botswana =)), but you have all the yum Indian recipes. I so need to try this at the next barbie!

Marisa on October 02, 2010 9:37 am said...

Hehehe, I dunno! Perhaps I've got some Indian blood way back in the family tree? Although it'd be nice if at least a little bit of that filtered through to eradicate my translucent skin...

Marisa on October 02, 2010 9:38 am said...

Your maternal grandfather sounds like a very interesting man - bet he had some great stories!

Marisa on October 02, 2010 9:39 am said...

Why thank you! To be fair though, this isn't exactly a traditional South African recipe, it just gets a South African flavour from being done on the braai. I intend to focus on some traditional South African dishes in the near future, so watch this space.

arcadia said...

Dit lyk fantasties.

Lingbo Li on October 06, 2010 6:26 pm said...

Oh yum! I also stumbled across this which sounds like something i want to make tonight! Great job presenting it too, love your plates. :)

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