We’re Celebrating South Africa’s National Braai Day

September 24th, 2013

Here is a recipe from Reuben Riffel’s new cookbook to help celebrate National Braai Day.

United National Lamb, braaied leg of lamb with Cape Malay salad, peri-peri sauce, gremolata, chermoula, mustard, and grilled vegetables.

Serves 6-8

“With Cape Malay influence, peri-peri (Portuguese/Mozambican), gremolata (Italian), chermoula (North African) and various other flavor elements, this is a larger-than-life multi-cultural giant of a dish. Think of it more as a table feast where you can place a great hunk of meat in the middle of your clan and watch it disappear quickly. It’s how I grew up eating (the sharing bit, not so much the speed eating), but it wasn’t all about the meat. The sides were almost equally as important. Even if you had good meat, the beetroot and mustard were as vital to the roast as sambals are to a curry. On Sundays, my mum used to make the roast with cabbage, tomato salad and sweet and sour onions. Your plate would be laden with lots of small elements where the juices flow into the meat and potatoes.

The lamb in this recipe is kept really simple in terms of spicing but gets brushed with brown butter for some nuttiness. The other flavors are there to make it less one-dimensional. I like that you can choose what your next mouthful combo will be. It’s like a “choose your own ending” approach to a meal. You are the author of your own appetite.”


For the Lamb

1 leg of lamb

1 handful thyme

15 garlic cloves

8 anchovy fillets

20 olives

4 tbsp black pepper

4 tbsp salt

2 handfuls lemon leaves

2 handfuls rosemary

½ cup melted butter

Cassis mustard, to serve

For the Cape Malay salad

2 plum tomatoes, cut into wedges

½ cucumber, peeled and sliced

½ red onion, sliced

½ tsp ground cumin, toasted

1 avocado, cubed

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

½ tsp sea salt

For the peri-peri sauce

1 onion, sliced

15 red chilies, deseeded and chopped

4 red peppers

½ cup red wine vinegar

2 tbsp smoked paprika

For the gremolata

Zest of 2 lemons, grated

Zest of 2 oranges, grated

½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2 garlic cloves

For the chermoula

1 red onion

2 garlic cloves

¾ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

¾ cup coriander, chopped

1 tbsp ground ginger

1 tbsp sweet paprika

Sea salt

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

For the grilled vegetables

2 red peppers

¾ lb zucchini

1 bunch asparagus

¼ cup crushed almonds


1. To make the Cape Malay salad, mix together all the ingredients and keep chilled.

2. To make the peri-peri sauce, sweat the onion, chili, and red peppers for 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat. Deglaze with the red wine vinegar, then add the smoked paprika. Simmer for 20 minutes. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

3. To make the gremolata, mix together all the ingredients. Set aside.

4. To make the chermoula, blend all the ingredients roughly in a blender. Set aside.

5. Put the peppers, zucchini, and asparagus directly on the braai (grill) over medium-high heat. When they’re nicely chargrilled, chop into chunks and top with crushed almonds.

6. Make six cuts in the meat about 1/3 of an inch wide and 1/3 of an inch deep. In each hole, stick a sprig of thyme, a garlic clove, anchovy fillets, or an olive. Rub the meat evenly with pepper, place in a large dish and wrap with plastic wrap. Leave to absorb the flavors overnight.

7. Rub the meat evenly with half the salt. Season the lamb occasionally with the rest of the salt throughout the cooking process.

8. Cook the meat one foot above medium coals for an hour to hour and 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Put the lemon leaves and rosemary on the grid and sprinkle lightly with water.

9. Place the meat back on the grill and cook for another hour to hour and 10 minutes, basting with the butter. Remove from the heat and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

10. Slice and serve family-style with the mustard and sides.

Beer paring: Porcupine Quill Brewery Dam Wolf Yellow Eyes

Wine pairing: Lynx Grenache

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