A braai in Thailand
Being in Thailand for over a year now, eating and cooking has become an important part of my life. I love to cook, improvise and concoct meals from nothing. It’s always very satisfying when you get it right and if you don’t, there is always next time. Now, I love Thai food, the pad thais, tom yum goongs, keang daengs, I mean mostly everything on the menu is really tasty, but nothing beats a proper braai (barbeque for those of you that are not South African). In South Africa, we love to braai. I think it’s a big tradition back home, and if you can’t braai you are basically good for nothing. Beer, braais and rugby is what we like, T-bone steaks, ribs, chicken, garlic bread, potatoes, the list is endless. Food just tastes better on a braai (I mean compared to a stove top or even an oven). The aromatic aroma of wood smoke gives your food that distinctive flavor, nothing can surpass it. I used to braai a lot back home, nearly every weekend I would say. It’s more of a social thing though with friends coming over, beer flowing from all corners, music blarring to the neighbours chagrin, and then the feast. You eat and eat until your stomach begins to cramp because you just cant stop. The food is honestly that good. So anyway, we decided to have a small braai on Sunday in the back yard. We have a small half barrel that we got from our Canadian friend Glen. He has been good enough to leave it with us until he finds himself new accommodation. We had some leftover charcoal (goes for 30 baht a packet) from the Christmas bbq, so all we needed was something to braai. Since I don’t eat meat (I do eat fish and other seafood) anymore, we decided to skewer some prawns (1/2 kilo = 100baht), make some toebroodjies (toasted cheese, tomato and onion on the grill aka. braaibread) and get a taste of Angela’s special potato salad.
First things first we needed to make a marinade for the prawns. A nice simple recipe to use is fresh lime juice from the market, 5 chillis and 5 cloves of garlic with a little ground pepper and salt. Add everything into a mortar, mash it all up with the pestle and then pour over the prawns and refrigerate until needed.
Second we needed to get the fire going. I had charcoal already so I just needed to get it started. I rolled up a few balls of paper, added some dry sticks and fired the lighter up.
Next up was Angela’s potato salad.
Ingredients: We used 2 potatoes, 2 eggs, a bunch of spring onions, 3 cloves of garlic, a few sprinkles of turmeric, a sprig of dill, a teaspoon of mustard, 3 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
The final dish on the menu was toebroodjies. I like to call them braai sandwiches. All you need is some good cheese, a few tomatoes, onion, butter, salt and pepper.
And now the final step. The braaiing. My favorite part actually. Normally everyone is sitting around the braai, chatting and being social. Everyone seems to take turns at checking the food. It’s like a collective cooking session. Everyone has different ideas and recipes to share. The food seems to be shared openly everytime. If you only brought chops, you would probably be eating sausage, steak, chicken, garlic bread, salad, potato bake and who knows what else might have been around. It was only Ang and I this time, so this little braai was tame. I must say the food was delectable. The prawns melted in your mouth and the fusion of lime, chilli and garlic worked well together. The braai sandwiches were really tasty as the bread took on that smoked flavor from the coals. I just love potatoes, so the salad went down without a blink.