Progressive Dinner- Serving Table 2

Progressive Dinner- Serving Table 2

Every February our street hosts a progressive dinner and we volunteered to be one of the hosts this year.   The theme was international, so we picked South Africa for our country.  We went to Disney last fall and loved the pulled beef sandwich we had at the Tamu Tamu Cafe at Animal Kingdom and thought we would try to make it ourselves.  We paired that with durban spiced chicken skewers and yellow rice with currants and parsley.  For drinks we had South African wine and homemade ginger beer.

I found a bunch of pulled beef recipes online that tried to copy the the sandwich from Tamu Tamu cafe.  Here is the one we mostly followed-  I knew it would be time consuming to make all of the pitas for the sandwhiches, so I asked Standard Market to make a special order of their pitas.  They made them about half the size of their normal pitas since we were serving heavy appetizers. We added cinnamon to the spice rub and used more cumin and cayenne than the original recipe.  The durban spiced chicken skewer recipe is from   The rice is our own recipe.  We love the couscous at Roti and made a version of it with rice.

The ginger beer was really easy to make.  The only thing that’s time consuming is grating all of the ginger.  I found a recipe on  I made 3 two liters of it 48 hours before the party.  It was really good on it’s own, but we also had some rum and lime slices to add to it.

The complete recipes are at the bottom of the post.

African Spiced Pulled Beef

For the pulled beef, place a 4-5 pound roast in a large dutch oven.   Rub the roast with 1 tablespoon of cumin, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of all spice, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt.

Crush and mince 5 cloves of garlic.  Spread garlic on top of the roast.  Chop 1 onion and 1 jalapeno pepper and add that to the pot.

Pour one 15oz. can of diced tomatoes over the roast.  Cover and cook on medium low heat for 7-8 hours.  The roast is done when a fork twists easily in the center of the roast.  Pull the roast on a cutting board and place back in the dutch oven.  Stir to combine the meat with the cooking juices, tomatoes and onions.

Cucumber Mint Yogurt Sauce

Place 1 1/2 cups of greek yogurt in a mixing bowl.  Peel and chop 1 english cucumber into small pieces.  Add the cucumber to the yogurt.

Chop 1 tablespoon of fresh mint and mix into the yogurt.  Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and salt & pepper to taste.  Stir until combined and place in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. (I quadrupled this recipe because we had so many people attending the dinner.)

To serve, heat pitas and cut in half.  Put pulled beef into pita and top with the yogurt sauce.

Yellow Rice with Currants and Parsley

Place 2 cups of white rice into a rice steamer.  Put a pinch of saffron threads in a small bowl and smash them into a powder.   I use the bottom of a cocktail muddler to smash them.  Pour some water into the bowl and stir.  Pour the mixture over the rice and add the remaining water needed into the rice steamer. Cook until rice is tender.

Place cooked rice into bowl.  Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of allspice and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl.  Finely chop 2 teaspoons of parsley and 1/4 cup of currants.   Pour the oil mixture over the rice and top with the currants and parsley.  Mix together with a fork until rice is coated.

Durban Chicken Skewers

For the chicken skewers, combine 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, 3/4 teaspoon cayenne, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl.   Place skewers in water for at least thirty minutes to help prevent burning on the grill.  Slice chicken into strips and put on the skewers.

Season the chicken with spice rub and grill on medium heat until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°.

To make the sauce for the chicken, grate 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger and put it into a small saucepan.  Add 1/2 cup of teriyaki sauce, 4 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of ground chipotle pepper, 1 tablespoon of dry mustard and 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard to the saucepan.  Heat over medium low heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Ginger Beer

To make the ginger beer, peel and grate about a 1/4 pound of fresh ginger.  Put in in a fine mesh sieve over a bowl to collect the juices.  Press on the grated ginger to get all of the juice.  You need 3 1/3 tablespoons of juice.  Place a funnel in the neck of a plastic two liter bottle and pour ginger juice, 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 cup of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast, a pinch of salt, and 2 quarts of water.  There should be about 1 1/2 inches of space at the top of the bottle.  Screw the top on tightly and shake gently to help sugar dissolve.

Leave out at room temperature for 36 hours, then chill in the fridge.  I didn’t think people would love to serve themselves out of old two liter bottles, so I funneled the beer into glass bottles.

African Spiced Pulled Beef Sandwich with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce and Yellow Rice

  • 4-5 pound pot roast
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 6-8 pitas, halved
Yogurt Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups greek yogurt
  • 1 english cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Yellow Rice
  • 2 cups white rice
  • 3 cups water
  • pinch saffron threads
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 2 tsp. parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried currants, chopped
  • salt & pepper
Preparation Instructions
  1. Place pot roast in large dutch oven.  Rub with cumin, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, salt and pepper
  2. Top with garlic, jalapeno, onion, and tomatoes.
  3. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 7-8 hours until a fork twist easily in the center of the roast.
  4. Pull the meat on a cutting board and then place back in pan and combine with juices from cooking.
  5. Combine yogurt, cucumber, mint, lemon, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  6. Pour rice into steamer.  Crush saffron threads and mix with a little bit of the water.  Pour over rice.
  7. Add remaining water and cook until rice is tender.
  8. Combine olive oil, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  9. Place cooked rice in large bowl and mix in oil mixture, parsley and currants.
  10. Place pitas in a 250° oven until warm.  Use pizza cutter to slice in half.
  11. To serve, put beef in to the pita half and top with yogurt sauce.

Durban Spiced Chicken Skewers

  • 2-3 chicken breasts, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cardomom
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 30-40 wood skewers
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 teriyaki sauce
  • 4 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. ground chipotle pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. dry mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
Preparation Instructions
  1. Put sliced chicken on skewer and place on sheet pan.
  2. Combine paprika, cardomom, coriander, cumin, cayenne, salt and black pepper.
  3. Season chicken with spice mixture and grill over medium heat until internal temperature of the chicken reaches. 165°.
  4. Combine ginger, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, chipotle pepper, dry mustard and dijon mustard in small saucepan and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes until warmed through.

Ginger Beer

  • 1/4 pound ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. dry active yeast
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 quarts water
Preparation Instructions
  • Place grated ginger in a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and press until you get 3 1/2 tablespoons of juice.
  •  Place a funnel in the neck of a plastic 2 liter bottle and pour ginger juice, lemon juice, sugar, yeast, salt and water in to the bottle.  There should be 1 1/2 inches of space at the top of the bottle.
  • Screw the top on tight and shake gently to dissolve the sugar.
  • Leave out at room temperature for 36 hours.
  • Chill before serving.

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