The inspiration for this post comes all the way from South Africa, courtesy of dear Jeanne. Jeanne blogs at Cook Sister , an award winning South African blog. I had the good fortune of meeting her last November during the Food Blogger Connect in London. She is a charming and talented lady in her own right.
Shortly after we moved house towards the end of last year, I received a parcel from Jeanne. Few days earlier, she had asked for my address, but little did I know that such a treat was in store for us. It was packed with goodies that she had brought back during her recent trip to South Africa. Even before I opened the parcel, I could ’smell’ the contents. The postman must have loved delivering such an aromatic parcel, aromas wafting from the spices in it- spiced tea, a spice rub and and an assortment of spices and instructions for preparing bobotie ( pronounced ba-boor-tea). And yes, there was a fruit roll, which we ( Dinesh and the kids even fought for the last piece) absolutely adored along with the rest of the goodies. All of this was accompanied with a lovely letter. Thanks Jeanne.
Up to now, I had never heard of bobotie and was really intrigued. Once again, I was learning something new through blogging. A different culture, a different cuisine! How exciting, and I couldn’t wait to try it out.
”Bobotie is a South African dish consisting of spiced minced baked with an egg-based topping.The recipe probably originates from the Dutch East India Company colonies in Batavia, with the name derived from the Indonesian Bobotok. It is also made with curry powder leaving it with a slight “tang”. 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 fruits like raisins or sultanas, but the sweetness that they lend is not to everybody’s taste. It is often garnished with walnuts, chutney and banana.
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.” (source)
The assortment of spices that Jeane sent me to make bobotie also had instructions on the back for making the dish. However, I did consult Jeanne’s recipe on her blog too. In fact, I mostly followed her recipe. The result was a dish, which I must admit, like most ‘homey’ foods, did not look great from an aesthetic point of view. But, then , this was a hearty dish, and the taste was delightful. A few of the steps did make me hesitate a bit, but then, I proceeded on the adventure to tingle the taste buds with new flavours. We were not disappointed. Jeanne suggested some turmeric rice to go with it. She usually added raisins to hers. I added raisins and almonds to the bobotie and so left out the raisins in the rice . I just made a simple turmeric rice by adding a pinch of turmeric powder to the boiling rice. Yes, I was feeling a bit lazy to do more, but the mild flavours of the rice complemented the bobotie perfectly. Rengoni and Agastya were asking for seconds and thirds in no time, so it did go down well with the four of us.
I am not mentioning the recipe here as I have mostly followed Jeanne’s recipe ( didn’t have apricots and apricot jam), so you can have a look at the original recipe here.
Thanks again, Jeanne, for the gifts. And yes, this is a true food blogger connection!