Match-winning Mexican braai: cooler and dessert

2010-06-05 18:02

The original idea was inspired by soccer fever – and the idea that

cannibals used to eat their opponents to absorb their power.

Of course that would be frowned upon as we are hosting the soccer

World Cup, instead we decided to ask a South African chef to create a

Mexican-inspired meal that fans could eat, in the hopes of a similar result.

So on a sunny winter’s afternoon photographer Lucky Nxumalo and I

headed for Rand Merchant Bank’s swish Sandton address to cook al fresco with the

bank’s executive chef, Dereck Nair.

Below are the recipes for Nair’s deliciously bitter-sweet cooler.

You can get the Hibiscus flowers in syrup at most speciality shops. Though most

come from Australia these days, Nair says, they are indigenous to Mexico.

As for Nair’s dessert, it’s so easy that it feels like a cheat.

Under-ripe bananas are placed skin and all on the fire till the skin blackens

then, voila, they are ready to be presented in their warm orange caramel sauce

and minty sour cream dressing.

For those who aren’t that good at dessert – or have lost interest

by the time they have poured their creative cooking souls into the main course –

this one’s the business.

Hibiscus &

Naartjie Cooler

Says the chef: “This Agua Fresca is a little twist of a Mexican,

Jamiaca (say Huh-MY-ih-kuh) hibiscus flower drink where I have added naartjie to

give it a SA flavour. The color and flavour is similar to tart cranberry with a subtle

tea flavour in the background. When it is served ice cold, the tea flavour is

almost imperceptible. It is also loaded with Vitamin C, so it’s good for you


Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes


Preserved Hibiscus flower in syrup

Juice of 3 naartjies

6 cups drinking water

3/4 cup sugar

1-2 cups ice (if you need to serve it immediately)

Bunch of fresh mint

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 pinch cloves


Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add spices and squeezed naartjies.

Allow flavours to infuse for a few minutes and remove from heat. Pour the liquid

over the preserved flowers through a strainer into a large pitcher. Add in the

sugar and naartjie juice and stir for 1-2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.

Pour in remaining water and taste for sweetness. Add more sugar or water if


To serve immediately, only add in 5 cups of water and stir in the

1-2 cups of ice and stir until it is ice cold.


Orange-flavoured ‘braaied’ ‘Green’ Bananas


4 semi-ripe bananas

Bunch of mint

1 cup dark sugar

4 tablespoons butter

Juice of 2 oranges

½ cup powdered sugar

½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon grated orange rind

½ tablespoon Grand Marnier (optional)


Make a slit on the top of the banana halfway through the banana


Place on braai and allow to cook for 10 mins until tender. Remove

to a plate and remove one part of the skin.

Heat the butter in a frying pan, mix the rind, juice, Gran Marnier

if you are using it and sugar together and simmer for 10 minutes over medium


Pour this mixture over the bananas.

Combine the powdered sugar and sour cream and mint and serve on the


Serve at once, allowing eaters to scoop the inside out teaspoons.

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