YOU WILL NEED:
750g minced beef
1 large onion, chopped
30ml olive oil
2 TBS medium curry powder
2TBS brown sugar
2 tps chili flakes (or to taste)
1 Tps tamarind. (Or 1 tps sumac for a slightly sour note)
½ cup vinegar (or lemon juice)
Handful cranberries ( and or raisins)
A couple of kieffer lime leaves (that’s what they are called, folks!) or lemon leaves
2 slices brown bread soaked in ½ cup milk (I don’t remove the crusts and I don’t squeeze the milk out of the bread, but beat it all together into a ‘porridge. This makes for a very smooth, moist texture in the bobotie)
2 eggs beaten together with 1 cup milk to make a custard mix.
- Add 30 ml oil to a pan and gently fry the onions till transparent. Add the curry powder, stir into the onions, add brown sugar caramelise slightly, add the vinegar.
- Break up the mince and stir into the onion sauce, cook until soft.
- Add the bread ‘porridge’ and stir in.
- Add the cranberries, stir in the chilli flakes and the tamarind.
Grease an oven proof casserole dish or 6 large ramekins, place a leaf in each ramekin ( or just 1 or 2 in the larger dish) and spoon meat mixture to about 1 ½ cms from the top. Pour custard mixture over and bake until done. Make sure you don’t over-cook, if you are using the ramekins. It must be a bit brown and crispy on the edges and the custard must have set.
Serve with rice and sambals and especially Mrs Balls Chutney. Traditionally the rice would be coloured with a tablespoon of turmeric and have a handful of raisins added.
A bit about the history of Bobotie – from Wikipedia
It is a dish of some antiquity: it has certainly been known in the Cape of Good Hope since the 17th century, when it was made with a mixture of mutton and pork. Today it is much more likely to be made with beef or lamb, although pork lends the dish extra moistness. Early recipes incorporated ginger, marjoram and lemon rind; the introduction of curry powder has simplified the recipe somewhat but the basic concept remains the same. Some recipes also call for chopped onions to be added to the mixture. Traditionally, bobotie incorporates dried fruit like raisins or sultanas, but the sweetness that they lend is not to everybody’s taste. It is often garnished with walnuts, chutney and bananas.
Although not particularly spicy, the dish incorporates a variety of flavours that can add complexity. For example, the dried fruit (usually apricots and raisins/sultanas) contrasts the curry flavouring very nicely. The texture of the dish is also complex, with the baked egg mixture topping complementing the milk-soaked bread which adds moisture to the dish.
The Bobotie recipe was transported by South African settlers to colonies all over Africa. Today, recipes for it can be found that originated in white settler communities in Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. There is a variation that was popular among the 7,000 Boer settlers who settled in the Chubut River Valley in Argentina in the early 20th century, in which the bobotie mixture is packed inside a large pumpkin, which is then baked until tender. A dish in a Bobotie style has been made with haggis in Scotland, but this is not true bobotie.