Friday, 24 August 2012

BOBOTIE - A traditional South African savory mince dish of Cape Malay origin.

Lately I’ve been cooking up a storm out of my Italian and French cookbooks. After reading a distasteful article on how cheap and unimpressive South African cuisine is I decided to bring my cooking a bit back home. I was determined to see if traditional South African dishes have really been going backwards and if it is actually as bad as the article said it was. I personally think anyone who insults our local cuisine should be taken to kwaMatiwane Hill and clubbed over the head with stale roti.

After looking long and hard I found a very old South African original, Bobotie. Bobotie is very similar to meatloaf except that it consists of ground beef flavoured with curry powders, ginger, marjoram, and dried fruit like raisin or apricots. The dish is then finished with a milk and egg custard on top and then baked. Traditionally it is served with yellow rice and chutney. Except for eating braaivleis, drinking beer and watching rugby what is more local than bobotie?  

I grew up with bobotie so I was familiar with the dish, but the bobotie that was served at my home was nothing like the bobotie I made last night or bobotie in general. I always thought bobotie should be pale, anaemic and 1 cm thick. Imagine my shock when I realised that it should be spicy, flavourful, hearty and definitely bigger than 1 cm. Folks from the old world seemed to have suffered from acid winds, hence the blandness of their food and recipes. Today the most flavourless food you find in Cape Town is probably at Mcdonalds.

Tested and tried! This bobotie recipe will definitely knock your socks off! It’s easy, fast and awesome! Cheap and unimpressive my ass! A fast food joint in South Africa like Mcdonalds doesn’t count as serving ‘local’ cuisine! 

Cooks: 4-6 Servings

500g mutton or steak mince
1 thick slice of bread
1 ½ cup milk
1 large onion chopped
1 tsp crushed garlic
½ tsp grated ginger root
Butter or oil for frying
2 eggs
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup sultanas or raisins
1/3 cup slivered almonds (optional)
1/3 cup chutney
3 tsp crushed coriander seeds
5 small Bay leaves
½ tsp nutmeg
2 tsp yellow curry powder 

1. Soak bread in half the milk. Squeeze out and retain excess milk. Crumble bread and mix with mince together with the yellow curry powder.

2. Saute onion, garlic and ginger in butter with crushed coriander seeds. Set aside when golden. 

3. Braise mean until color changes. Remove from heat then add fried onion, 1 egg, lemon juice, salt, half the remaining milk, sultanas and chutney. Mix well.

4. Pour mixture into greased oven dish. Beat together 1 egg and remaining milk and pour over meat mixture.

5. Press the bay leaves or fresh lemon leaves into bobotie then sprinkle the nutmeg over the meat mixture. 

6. Bake at 180°until golden brown (30min).
Serve with yellow rice, fruit chutney and cooked vegetables. 

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