In South Africa, September 24th is no ordinary day - it’s our Heritage Day!
A day to celebrate our culture and recognise the diversity of our nation, as well as a day where we get together with close friends and family for a day of fun.
Since 2000, Braai Day has become a part of the traditional celebrations.
And with the variety of flavours and meals we have to offer, it not only makes this day unique to true South Africans, but it also ranks us tops in braaing.
With the recent cold spells we have been experiencing, who doesn’t love a good flavoursome bunny chow or a Durban curry, packed with spices, to keep the chill at bay.
Bobotie has also been termed one of our national dishes, which was brought to South Africa by Asian settlers, and is still cooked in many homes and restaurants today. It is made up of minced meat which is simmered with spices, usually curry powder, herbs and dried fruit, then topped with a mixture of egg and milk and baked until set.
Another favourite is Ujeqe (steamed bread), which is steamed in a pot of boiling water that uses yeast dough and is fantastic with most meals that have a sauce. Don’t confuse Ujeqe with Amadombolo (dumplings) where you insert the dough into a pot of stew!
Biltong is a fast favourite for any road trip. It’s a dried, cured meat that originated right here at home, as well as in our neighbouring countries. Various types of meat are used to produce it, ranging from beef to game, such as ostrich or kudu. The cut may also vary; either fillets of meat cut into strips following the grain of the muscle, or flat pieces sliced across the grain.
The word Vetkoek literally means "fat cake" in Afrikaans. It is similar in shape to a doughnut without a hole, and is a deep fried yeast bun that can be served as a snack, for breakfast or lunch. It is usually paired with apricot jam, cheese or with minced curry.
Amarula, our home grown cream liqueur, hails from South Africa and is produced with a base spirit that is distilled from carefully selected and hand-picked fruits off the African marula tree, also fondly known as the elephant tree. The base is aged and then combined with sugar and cream to create a rich liqueur that is characterised by its slight caramel flavor and underlying notes of vanilla and spices. Since marula fruit is a treat for elephants, the brand has turned them into a trademark. Amarula is best served well-chilled, preferably over ice, but it also blends well into cocktails, especially those based on whiskey or vodka.
Other favourites that are constants on our heritage table include milk tart, dry wors, pap or Isidudu (morning pap), waterblommetjie bredie, pumpkin fritters, madumbes, chakalaka, Cape Malay curries, potjie kos, peri peri chicken, sosaties (veg, meat or both), malva pudding, koeksisters, peppermint crisp tart, and various game meats with ostrich being a very healthy meat option.
Now that the Granny Mouse Country House & Spa culinary artists have given you something to reminisce about, let’s bring out those “good old favourite” recipes, make contact with old friends (have a zoom meeting while braaing) and lets enjoy being proudly South African!