Pronounced ba-boor-tea, this is one of the national dishes of South Africa…just in time for Heritage Day on Monday when South Africans across the spectrum celebrate their cultural heritage and the diversity of their beliefs. Bobotie (or bobotjie) is a delicious mixture of spiced minced meat and fruit with a golden egg-based topping, not dissimilar to moussaka. The recipe is likely to have originated from the Dutch East India Company colonies in Batavia with the name derived from the Indonesian ‘Bobotok’. It was taken to South Africa and adopted by the Cape Malay community and has become a much loved national dish.
Why is this the right wine choice? Shiraz works well with robust food. The ‘sweet’ berry-fruit flavours will complement the sultanas and chutneys in the recipe. Shiraz generally works well with spicy or ethnic foods (in addition to bobotie, it would work well with Jamaican jerk chicken or Lebanese merguez sausages) and also is a good match for everyday food like cottage pie.
To serve 6 you will need:
- 2 slices white bread
- 2 chopped onions
- 25g butter
- 2 crushed cloves of garlic
- 1kg lean minced beef
- 2 tbsp madras curry paste
- 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
- 3 cloves
- 5 allspice berries
- 2 tbsp peach or mango chutney
- 3 tbsp sultanas
- 6 bay leaves
- 300ml full-cream milk
- 2 large eggs
What to do:
- Heat oven to 180C.
- Pour cold water over the bread and set aside to soak.
- Meanwhile, gently fry the onions in the butter until they are soft and starting to colour.
- Turn up the heat slightly, add the garlic and beef and stir well to break up the mince.
- When the meat has turned brown, stir in the curry paste, herbs, spices, chutney, sultanas and 2 bay leaves. Season with 1 tsp salt and plenty of ground black pepper.
- Cover the mixture and allow it to simmer gently for 10 mins.
- Squeeze the water from the bread, then beat into the meat mixture until well blended.
- Tip into an oval ovenproof dish (23 x 33cm and about 5-6cm deep). Press the mixture down well and smooth the top.
- For the topping, beat the milk and eggs with seasoning, then pour over the meat.
- Top with the remaining bay leaves and bake for 35-40 mins until the topping is set and starting to turn golden.
Note: Like lasagne or cottage pie, you can make this a day ahead and chill.