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.
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.