Cooking Bobotie - South Africa's national dish



Bobotie
Ingredients:
•minced lamb or beef, or a mixture of the two
•butter, vegetable oil
•2 onions, chopped
•2 ml (1/2 teaspoon) crushed garlic
•15 ml (1 tablespoon) curry powder
•5 ml (1 teaspoon) ground turmeric
•2 slices bread, crumbled
•60 ml (1/4 cup) milk
•finely grated rind and juice of 1/2 small lemon
•1 egg
•5 ml (1 teaspoon) salt, milled black pepper
•100 g (3 ounces) dried apricots, chopped
•1 Granny Smith apple peeled, cored and chopped
•60 ml (1/4 cup) sultanas (golden raisins)
•50 g (1 1/2 ounces) slivered almonds, roasted in a dry frying pan
•6 lemon, orange, or bay leaves

TOPPING
250 ml (1 cup) milk
2 eggs
2 ml (1/2 teaspoon) salt

Preparation:
Set the oven at 160°C (325°F). Butter a large casserole. Heat butter and oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and garlic until translucent. Stir in the curry powder and turmeric, and cook briefly until fragrant. Remove the pot from the heat. Mix in the minced meat. Mix together the crumbs, milk, lemon rind and juice, egg, salt, pepper, apricots, apple, sultanas (golden raisins) and almonds and mix in. Pile into the casserole and level the top. Roll up the leaves and bury them at regular intervals. Seal with foil and bake for 1 1/4 hours. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C (400°F). Mix together the topping milk, eggs and salt (you may require extra topping if you've used a very large casserole), pour over and bake uncovered for a further 15 minutes until cooked and lightly browned. Serve with Yellow Rice and Blatjang .

Note:This would be a hot contender for South Africa's national dish! The recipe was selected for an international recipe book published in 1951 by the United Nations Organisation. Bobotie is a Cape-Malay creation, and they spice it up even more with cumin, coriander and cloves. A similar dish was known in Europe in the middle ages after the Crusaders had brought turmeric from the East. When our first Dutch settlers arrived, Holland was largely influenced by Italian cooks, and a favorite dish was a hashed meat backed with curried sauce, spiked with red pepper and 'sweetened with blanched almonds.' There are many local variations, but the idea is that the mince should be tender and creamy in texture, which means long, slow cooking. Early cooks added a little tamarind water; lemon rind and juice is a more modern adaptation.

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