Well I guess the first thing to do is apologize for not posting any new recipes for the last few weeks. But I have a very good excuse. (Don’t I always!) I was in SOUTH AFRICA! Yep – you read it right – South Africa. And I have to say, my time there was one of the best travel experiences of my life. We only visited the Eastern side of the country as far up as Richards Bay and environs – Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve for wild animals and St. Lucia for an afternoon boat ride spent cruising the river estuary amid the local hippo and crocodile population. (BTW – if you are interested in how you pronounce Hluhluwe, I will give you the same advice I was given by a nice older couple from Johannesburg. “Pretend you have had too much to drink, and then slur your words. If it sounds like schlu-shlouwee, you’ve got it right!”) Let’s see, where was I? Oh yes.
We only drove from Cape Town as far up as Richards Bay, touring mostly along the coast. On the way back to Cape Town, we stuck close to the Indian Ocean again for about half the distance, then turned inland to drive through glorious mountain passes and wine country. During the 24 days that we had our rental car, we drove a total of 7,016 kilometers or 4,360 miles. And even if the amount of kilometers we travelled seems like a lot, we actually only visited a very small part of this glorious country.
And of course along the way, we had many opportunities to enjoy South African cuisine. Along our route one day, we stopped for lunch at a quiet little café. Basically it was a place to buy gourmet condiments, fresh bread, and take-away food. But we were tired, so we asked the kind server if she would heat something up for us. She said, “pleasure” and we settled ourselves in their small outside dining area to await our meal.
I truly don’t recollect what Mr. C. ordered, but I decided to try a South African comfort food called Bobotie. Bobotie is basically a savory meat loaf flavored with curry and other aromatic spices and topped with a simple egg custard. Well from bite one I was hooked. So I decided there and then that Bobotie had to be the first South African recipe to get posted when I returned.
So for the next few weeks, my cooking time is going to be mainly spent trying to duplicate some of the amazing dishes we experienced on our trip. And because I know you all love new and different recipes to fix for your family and friends, I have faith that as you try some of these amazing dishes, you will forgive me for being away from my blog for so long.
So give this recipe a try. It’s easy to prepare and just delicious. Comfort food, Cape Town style.
- 1 T. vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 lb. ground lamb or beef
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lg. carrot, peeled and grated
- 1 T. fresh lemon juice
- 1 thick slice or 2 thin slices of white bread soaked in ¼ cup milk
- 1/3 c. slivered or sliced almonds
- 1/3 c. golden raisins
- 1 c. buttermilk or plain milk (or combination)
- 2 eggs
- 5 bay leaves
- chutney, opt.
Heat the oil in a large fry pan. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the ground lamb and cook until just cooked through, breaking up the meat as it cooks. (You don’t want any large lumps of meat.) Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the coriander, ginger, curry powder, cinnamon, turmeric, sugar, salt, pepper, grated carrot, and lemon juice. Remove from heat and add the soaked white bread, making sure you have mixed the milk and bread thoroughly. (You shouldn’t be able to see big chunks of bread). Add the almonds and golden raisins and mix through. Spoon the mixture into a lightly buttered casserole dish, press down and level the top.
Whisk together the buttermilk and eggs and pour over the meat mixture. Gently lay the bay leaves over the egg mixture for decoration.
Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes. (The egg custard should be firm and set and the top a nice golden brown in color.)
Serve hot with Yellow Rice (see recipe below), Greek salad, and chutney.
- 1½ c. long grain white rice
- ½ tsp. salt
- freshly ground black pepper (just a bit)
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. sugar
- ¼ c. golden raisins
- 1 T. butter
- 2½ c. chicken broth
Place all the ingredients in a rice cooker and set it on “go”. Serve with Bobotie or any other South African dish.