Food,  Recipes,  Travel,  Yuri and Ciel (Bangkok only)

Bobotie, an unknown dish with a story

There was a colleague of mine who eventually became my boss and then a friend. We worked together seamlessly, and I believe that if he hadn’t moved to another company, we would have achieved even more at my current workplace, previous to be honest as I also quit. To cut the story short, we used to have lunch meetups with another close friend who had relocated to the UK. However, I often arrived late, which became a running joke “Why are you so French“. To make up for my tardiness, my friend challenged me to cook a dish of his choice. He requested Bobotie, a South African national dish, claiming it was unavailable in Bangkok.

Despite never having been to South Africa or tasted Bobotie, I accepted the challenge out of my competitive spirit and love for culinary challenges.

 

When my friends tried the Bobotie I made, they couldn’t believe that I could actually prepare such a dish. Their initial skepticism quickly turned into astonishment as they savored the flavors. The rich blend of spices, the perfectly cooked minced meat, and the creamy, golden egg topping left them in awe.

 

 

 

 

Bobotie is a classic South African dish that combines curried minced meat with a creamy egg-based topping, resulting in a savory and slightly sweet casserole. Here’s a traditional recipe for Bobotie:

Ingredients:

For the Meat Mixture:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 kg (2.2 lbs) ground beef or lamb
  • 2 slices white bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chutney (apricot is traditional)
  • 2 tablespoons fruit jam (apricot or peach works well)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (white or malt)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup raisins or sultanas
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds (optional)
  • 3 eggs

For the Egg Topping:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Bay leaves or lemon leaves for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Bread and Milk:
    • Soak the bread slices in the 1 cup of milk until soft. Squeeze out the excess milk and set the milk aside for later. Crumble the bread.
  2. Cook the Meat Mixture:
    • Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and garlic, cooking until soft and translucent.
    • Add the ground beef or lamb to the pan and cook until browned. Break up the meat as it cooks.
    • Stir in the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, salt, and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until the spices are fragrant.
    • Add the chutney, jam, vinegar, lemon juice, raisins, and almonds. Mix well.
    • Stir in the crumbled bread and cook for a few more minutes.
    • Beat the 3 eggs and add them to the mixture, stirring well to combine.
    • Remove the pan from heat and preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  3. Assemble the Bobotie:
    • Transfer the meat mixture to a greased baking dish, spreading it out evenly.
  4. Prepare the Egg Topping:
    • In a bowl, beat the remaining 2 eggs with the reserved milk (adding extra milk if needed to make up 1/2 cup). Season with a little salt and pepper.
    • Pour the egg mixture over the meat mixture in the baking dish.
    • Place a few bay leaves or lemon leaves on top for garnish.
  5. Bake:
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the topping is set and lightly golden.
  6. Serve:
    • Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving. Bobotie is traditionally served with yellow rice and chutney on the side.

Enjoy your Bobotie with friends and family for a truly comforting and flavorful meal!