One of our favourite snacks for the road or for a movie night is authentic South African biltong.
It’s downright scrumptious, convenient in most situations because its easily packed into lunches or picnic packs and healthy (in moderation, of course)!
The problem is, it can also be quite pricey. Depending on the place where you purchase it, it can retail anywhere from R290 – R500 per kilo, if not more. Suffice to say, maintaining it as a healthy snack would not be the only reason that you choose to go slowly on the merchandise.
But fear not, because here at Accidental Ambrosia, we have discovered the secret to making your very own dried meat treat. All you will need is a dehydrator (we bought ours from Takealot here). This nifty gadget will come in handy when making dried fruit and vegetables as well – dried tomatoes for your pastas or dried banana, apple or mango for more healthy roadtrip snacks.
I personally also love to dehydrate/dry garlic slices or onion strips to grind into spices for cooking.
But back to the biltong… here are the instructions:
2 TBSP Beef stock powder (or an equivalent beefy spice, such as barbecue, steak and chops or mince spice).
3 TBSP Onion powder (you can buy or make your own in the dehydrator)
2 TBSP Garlic powder (again, buy or make your own)
1 tsp Cumin powder
5 TBSP Whole Coriander Seeds
1 – 2 tsp Dried Chilli seeds, if you are feeling brave.
Place the beef into a big bowl and submerge in the vinegar. Allow the beef to stand for about 30 minutes in the vinegar, while you prepare the spice rub.
Place all the spices EXCEPT 4 of the 5 TBSP of coriander seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Just to be clear, let me explain that again so that you have the correct mix. You have five tablespoons or coriander seeds. Place one in the spice grinder or mortar and pestle with the other spices and keep 4 tablespoons of WHOLE seeds aside for later.
Got it? Ok good! Next…
Grind the spices into a fine powder and place in a flat bowl, spread out evenly along the bottom. Pour the remainder of the whole coriander seeds evenly over the top of the spices.
Remove one steak at a time from the vinegar. Dry the piece of meat off with a roller towel or a dishcloth (that you may need to throw away afterwards because it will be covered in vinegar and blood which may just ruin the cloth entirely – just saying – paper towel may be better!)
After the piece of meat is dried off, press it into the spice bowl so that the spices evenly coat each piece of meat. Make sure that there are sufficient coriander seeds stuck to the piece of meat (this gives that traditional biltong flavour, so you may want to keep adding more whole coriander seeds to ensure good coverage).
Hook each piece of meat onto one of the dehydrator hooks and hang it inside the dehydrator.
Allow the biltong to hang inside the dehydrator (with the light and fan on continuously) for about 3 days. Depending on how juicy or dry you like you biltong, you can alter the duration of dehydration accordingly.
Delish South African biltong at a fraction of the price. Once you have the basics down, get creative with your flavours and try new spice and flavour combinations – but not too creative, don’t get weird. You may just discover a new flavour combination – and if you do, share it in the comments below so we can all try it. 😊
Bon Appetit, Ambrosiacs!
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