This must be one of the most sought after Traditional South African recipes, not that Stanley is a big fan, either to eat or to prepare. So I knocked on Helena’s ( my mom!) door for this one. And her door leads to Casa Bellena, a small B&B in De Kelders. Like most people know it is a traditional Malayan recipe. Made with mince meat (for the Germans hackfleisch) and not with mint leaves like my friend Bea thinks! The meat is flavoured with a mixture of spices; some sweetness added in the form of dried fruit and baked of in the oven with an egg custard topping. The sweetness in South African food still is for most visitors to our country a surprise. For me as a non red meat eater it is refreshing to find more modern versions of this traditional dish. For strict veggies there is the option of beans or lentils, a fish or mixed seafood for the ones who like it close to the coast or even as a filling for spring rolls served with a sweet Thai chilli dip for a eastern flavour.
It looks like quiet a long recipe and a lot of work but don’t be fooled. I broke it up into sections:40g butter or oil 2 onions, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, crushed 2tsp/10ml coriander seeds, grounded 2tsp/10ml curry powder 1tsp/5ml turmeric 1/2tsp/2,5ml cinnamon 3cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated Pinch of red chilli 2 bay leaves
Heat the oil in a cast iron pot or a deep frying pan and fry the onions slowly till tender and see-through, add the garlic and spices. Continue cooking for a few minutes.500g minced beef or lamb or ostrich (no fat, no cholesterol option) or cooked brown lentils (vegetarian option)
Add the meat and stir fry until loose, crumbly and brown.1tbsp/15ml apricot jam 1tbsp/15ml white wine vinegar 60ml raisins 60ml blanched almonds
Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the rest of the ingredients. When cooked remove from heat.2 slices of bread milk
Place the bread in a shallow dish and cover with milk. Let it stand for a couple of minutes, lightly squeezed the excess milk out. Crumble it into the cooked mince and mix well. Spoon mixture into an ovenproof dish and flatted the top.250ml buttermilk or sour cream or yoghurt 2 eggs extra bay leaves
Beat together and pour over the bobotie mixture and decorate with some bay leaves. Place in oven preheated to 180º C for about 40 min until the custard topping is set and golden brown.
Enjoy with yellow rice, pumpkin fritters, chutney and sambals.