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Pairing Food And Beer For Summer

9 December 2011

Johannesburg. 9 December 2011. For over 2,600 years beer has been brewed here on the tip of Africa and enjoyed as part of important religious and social rituals. It is a pivotal part of South Africa's culture and heritage and so many of our cultural practices revolve around food. Everyone knows that beer goes well with a summer braai or Shisa Nyama, but not many know that it works well with many other foods too.

With the sun-drenched, cheery glitter of the festive season just a few weeks away, the South African Breweries Limited (SAB) has partnered with local culinary expert, Chef Citrum Khumalo, to share a few local, home-grown recipes and how to pair them with different beers.

Before pairing beer with food, it is important to know that the processes that go into the making of each are, in fact, very similar. There is a natural tendency for certain types of beer to complement food that has been through similar processes. Much of beer's flavour is derived from the cooking process during the malting phase when barley is converted to malt.

Like wine, beer has a number of characteristic tastes that are likened to other tastes that we are familiar with. Some beers, for example, have a very fruity taste, with overtones of banana or citrus. Others have a malty taste, while some others are bitter.

Generally, when matching beer and food, it works to try to pick out the flavours in the beer that match or contrast with those in the dishes. As well as looking out for subtle flavours, the beer can also be assessed by how complex or ‘heavy' the flavours are on the palate. Light beers, such as Castle Lite, go well with dishes such as salad or light fish dishes, whereas complex beers, such as Pilsner Urquell, go well with heavier, intensely flavoured food such as hearty stews or sausages.

"There is an Egyptian proverb that has it that the mouth of a perfectly happy man is filled with beer - couple that with mouth-watering, South African dishes and you have a winning summer combination," commented Khumalo as he set to work creating a sizzling chicken sausage stuffed with mogodu and bacon.

According to Kate Jones, SAB Trade Brewer, "There are a few useful ground rules when pairing food with beer and for those bound to the wine pairing school of thought it is useful to think of ale as red wine and lager as white wine. To begin with, seek compatibility: beer and food combinations often work best when they have some flavour or aroma elements in common. The herby bitterness of hops in beer goes well with food that is slightly spiced, liked cooked meat or fish. Try to match beer strength with food strength. Put simply, delicate dishes work best with delicate beers, and it is equally true that strongly flavoured foods demand assertive beers."

The creation of food and the brewing of beer can be likened to a steamy alchemy of sensations and flavours. Whilst creating this potent mix it is important to remember that taste is very subjective and what works for one person may not work for another.

Jones continued, "Consider sweetness, bitterness, carbonation, heat and richness. Specific characteristics of food and beer interact with each other in predictable ways. Taking advantage of these interactions ensures that the food and beer will balance each other. The more hop bitterness the beer has, the heartier or livelier the meal needs to be to hold its own, whilst foods that is full of flavour can be paired with beers of a slightly higher alcohol content. And, key to the success of any meal, experiment with contrasting and complimentary pairings! Match foods with complimentary flavours, or contrast them to create a slew of unique results."

In a festive season food and beer pairing of epic proportions Chef Khumalo has created a feast of flair and flavour and shares six uniquely South African dishes paired with a few delightful SAB brews which can be concocted to enhance the coming Christmas revelry.

"For those scorching summer days around the braai I've created a menu that brings together a medley of South African tastes," said Khumalo. "We have prepared:

- Baby braai potato, rocket and Jalapeno salad paired with Castle Lite or Hansa Pilsner.
- Piquant and pepperoni beer bread that is deliciously complemented by the Hansa Marzen Gold.
- Chicken sausage with mogodu and bacon stuffing that works spectacularly well with Peroni.
- Chilli skop and beer terrine perfectly accompanied by Castle Lager.
- Baked oriental lemon, chive and dill yellow tail with mushrooms coupled with Grolsch.
- Striped chocolate cheesecake paired to perfection with the toasty, caramel flavours of Castle Milk Stout."

Beer is as versatile as it is diverse, providing both complementary and contrasting experiences when paired with meals so try the suggested pairings and recipes but don't be afraid to originate your own beer and food matches made in heaven.


For further information:

Robyn Chalmers
Head: Media and Communications, SAB
011 881 8679

Notes to editors: Chef Khumalo's full recipes

Baby Braai potato, rocket and Jalapeno salad

1 kg new potatoes
2 whole garlic cloves
150ml olive oil
200g jalapeno peppers
A bunch of rocket
1 zest of lemon
1 juice of lemon
3 tomatoes blanched, seeded and cut into wedges
30 ml Vinegar
I tsp. mustard
A pinch sugar
30g Pink peppercorns crushed
80g walnuts


Mix 15g peppercorns with 50ml olive oil, lemon zest and 1 juice of lemon. Cut potatoes in half and
toss them in the oil mixture. Leave them in the mixture for 30 minutes. Get your braai to medium hot. If your braai has big holes layer foil paper on top and throw potatoes and whole garlic cloves on top of the braai, turning them all the time to avoid burning until they are soft. Remove from heat and set aside, peel garlic and set aside. In a mixing bowl vigorously whisk 30ml vinegar, 90ml olive oil, mustard and a pinch of sugar to make the vinaigrette (salad dressing). Fix seasoning with salt. In a big bowl toss potatoes, ½ packet rocket, Jalapeno, garlic and tomato wedges. Moisten with vinaigrette. Arrange on a platter top with remaining rocket and sprinkle some walnuts on top.

Piquant and pepperoni beer bread

400g all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp dried coriander
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp crushed black pepper
1 ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup small dice pepperoni
½ cup piquant peppers cut in small dice with all water drained
¼ cup chopped sundried tomatoes
2 large eggs
¾ cup beer
¼ cup olive oil + for coating pan


Heat the oven to 180°c and arrange a rack in the middle. Generously coat a metal 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with olive oil. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and coat the paper with oil as well; set aside. Whisk the flour, baking powder, oregano, salt, baking soda, and pepper together in a large bowl until aerated and any large lumps are broken up. Add the cheese, pepperoni, piquant peppers and tomatoes and toss in the flour mixture until the pieces are separated and evenly coated; set aside. Place the eggs, beer, and measured olive oil in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the flour is just incorporated, being careful not to over mix (a few streaks of flour are OK). The batter will be very thick. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan, pushing it into the corners and smoothing the top. Bake until the bread is golden brown all over and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (test several spots because you may hit a pocket of cheese), about 40 to 45 minutes.

Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of the bread and turn it out onto the rack. Remove and discard the parchment paper. Let the bread cool for at least 30 minutes more before slicing.

Chicken sausage with a traditional stuffing

1 whole chicken
200g-lamb mogodu cooked to soft and roughly chopped
4 slices of fresh breadcrumbs
2 hand full of fresh oregano
4 rashers of bacon grilled and cut into small pieces
Chicken bones
1 stack of celery
50g carrots
100g onions
4 cups beer
100g butter
Kitchen string/ twine


Debone chicken and flatten it. Season with salt, pepper and lemon. In a bowl mix chopped mogodu, breadcrumbs, bacon and 1 hand full oregano. Spread mixture over the flattened chicken and roll to a sausage, tie with a kitchen twine. Roll chicken over oregano and lemon mixture and place on medium coals. Cook on coals for about an hour basting with the oregano mixture. If chicken browns too quickly wrap in foil and continue cooking. In a pot roast chickens bones until brown, add Miripoix vegetables and continue cooking. Add beer and let reduce until starts to thicken. Strain and put back onto the stove. Season with salt and pepper and whisk in butter, serve with dumpling or rice.

Chilli, Skop & Beer terrine

1 whole cow skop
300g shallots
I packet of mild chillies
1 bunch celery
3 cans of castle light
½ bunch parsley
1 cup red wine
3 Roasted red peppers and peel
200g deseeded red chilled
Sponge/ bloom 120g gelatine/ or Aspic with
1lt stock from the skop or broth
Warm it up until it dissolves
Line a terrine mold with plastic


Cook the skop with celery, whole chillies, and parsley, castle and red wine until soft. Take off the heat and cool. Once cool flake the meat into small pieces. Press meat into terrine mold followed by chillies and red peppers. Pour a ladle full with broth and gelatine. Refrigerate until almost set, follow with another layer of meat and continue with layers as you desire. Place in the fridge until completely set.

Baked oriental lemon, chive and dill yellow tail with mushrooms

1 whole fillet tail
2 fresh lemons
1 bunch of chives
80 ml olive oil
5 parsley springs
2 tsp. wasabi
2tsp fish sauce
I tsp. Oyster sauce
To taste salt and pepper
1kg button mushrooms
Lemon salt
Kebab skewers soaked in water for half an hour
Foil pepper
100g salted butter, 2 tbsp. Chives & juice of lemon cooked together


Get braai ready to medium hot. Make a paste using wasabi, fish sauce, and oyster sauce, season with salt and pepper. Cut lemons in wedges. In a bowl combine wedges of lemons, chives with the paste. Smear it over the fish and let rest for 10 minutes. Wrap fish with foil and cook over medium coals for about 12 minutes. Season mushrooms with lemon salt and pepper, push mushrooms onto the skewers and grill them on high heat coals. Remove fish from the foil and cut to desired portions. Remove mushrooms from the skewers and serve drizzled with lemon chive butter.

Striped chocolate cheesecake

Biscuit base:

20 pieces crackers any type of biscuits
1/3 cup melted butter
¼ cup caster sugar


125g butter softened
4 cups yoghurt hanged for 2 hours in a cheese cloth
1 1/2 cup castor sugar
2tsp lemon juice
3tbsp gelatine
60 g dark chocolate


Crush crackers or biscuits into crumbs then mix in butter and sugar with your fingertips. Press into base of 8" loose bottom cake tin, bake in a preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Beat butter till smooth and add hanged yoghurt and sugar. Beat well. Sponge gelatine in a ¼ cup of water and 2 tsp. Of lemon juice and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Dissolve this in the microwave. Add 5 tbsp. Yoghurt mix to the gelatine then slowly add the gelatine to the remaining yoghurt mix - mix well. Divide mixture into 2 parts. Cut the chocolate into small pieces. Add a cup of water and keep it in a heavy pan over very low heat. Stir until melted properly and then add half of the melted chocolate to half the mixture. Pour the chocolate curd mixture on the cracker base in the tin. Chill in the freezer for half an hour, pour the remaining mixture on top of the chocolate and chill in the fridge. When chilled properly pour the remaining chocolate and chill time it's time to serve.

This is a SABMiller subsidiary news release, it was first published in its local market on 09/12/2011.

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