Bobotie, South Africa’s Definition of Delicious

Bobotie, South Africa's Definition of Delicious
Bobotie, South Africa’s Definition of Delicious

When I think of South Africa I think first and foremost of my heritage, but also of how far removed I am from this seemingly bizarre world seven time zones and many miles away. My memory struggles to recall the sights and experiences of a seven week trip I made to the country fourteen years ago. I was there to visit what at the time seemed like my long lost family. I was there to learn about a tumultuous world that had an inner beauty so strong it managed to hold captive all of my paternal family, except one: my father. He escaped to the states long before I was born. Even though he never forgot his roots, any sort of South African influence in my life was so watered down that it is hard for me to say I am half Afrikaaner. I’ve never cooked a South African dish and it’s been nearly a decade since I last tasted a dish from that country.

The country, like it’s beginnings, is an eclectic mix of cultures coming together in an astonishingly beautiful setting. The food, like Its people, is eclectic too, with roots in many different parts of the world. This is what drew me to bobotie (pronounced buh-booty!–excuse my phoenetic short hand). Bobotie, a dish which could be considered South Africa’s national dish, came to be nearly three-hundred years ago. As a settlement–an ancient truck stop of sorts–developed in the Cape of Good Hope, so did this very peculiar and delicious dish. This stop serviced Dutch traders as they made the trek from Indonesia to Holland; the food at this stop reflected the collision of flavors from these two cultures. It stayed with the country ever since.

This dish is one memory I cannot forget from my trip to South Africa. It is a dish I have so long wanted to try on my own. Now, I finally have an excuse. To prepare, I began looking through recipes. Shock overcame me as I browsed through the various ingredient lists. How could this be?! Can these ingredients really come together to create something so delicious? I quickly found myself in what had to have been a Chopped nightmare.

Ok, it wasn’t that bad, but this recipe really does manage to combine some very different, exotic flavors that juxtapose each other perfectly. This dish is best served on yellow rice with uie & tamatie (onion and tomato condiment). A recipe for both follows the bobotie recipe and each can be prepared after you put the bobotie in the oven. This recipe also uses a mango chutney, both in the bobotie and as a condiment. You can go with store bought but making it on your own isn’t that hard. Check out my recipe here. Shopping for kitchen blender to make this recipe at this article.

Bobotie Ingredients:
3 slices white bread (crust removed)
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion finely chopped
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon curry
2 teaspoons turmeric
Juice from 1 lemon
1 lb ground lamb
1 lb ground pork
4 bay leaves (or lemon leaves if you can find them)
3 tablespoons mango chutney
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup chopped raisins
Rind from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon sugar
4 eggs

Bananas
Coconut shavings

Bobotie Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degress. Soak the bread slices in the milk until saturated. Remove from the milk and allow the excess milk to drain. Save both the bread and milk.
2. Add the oil and butter to a large saute pan and heat over medium heat.
3. Add the onion and brown, about ten minutes.
4. Add the garlic, cooking another two minutes.
5. Add the spices (curry & turmeric). Cook, stirring for a minute then add the lemon juice and continue to cook for another minute.
6. Add the lamb and pork; cook until the pink is just gone.

7. Add the bay leaves, mango chutney, almonds, raisins, lemon rind and sugar. Stir to mix thoroughly.
8.  Beat 1 egg and add to the mixture. Add the bread from earlier. Mix well.
9. Put the mixture into a baking dish. Do not press it into the dish.

10. Beat the remaining three eggs with the reserved milk from above. Pour the custard evenly over everything in the baking dish. Leaving the meat light/fluffy will allow the custard to fill into the dish. You may need to use a knife of fork to aid this process.
11. Bake for 45 minutes.

While you wait for the bobotie to bake, prepare the condiments and yellow rice.

Uie & Tamatie Condiment Ingredients:
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 small onion finely chopped
3 small tomatoes chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt & pepper to taste

Uie & Tamatie condiment Instructions:
1. Put the chopped tomato and onion in a bowl.
2. Mix together the vinegar, water, brown sugar, salt, pepper and oregano.
3. Add the vinegar mix to the bowl and toss. Allow this mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes.

Yellow Rice Ingredients:
2 cups rice
4 1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup raisins
Salt and pepper to taste.

Yellow Rice Instructions:
1. Place all the ingredients except the raisins into a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce to a simmer and cook 25 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
3. Add the raisins in once the rice is cooked. Stir to combine.

Time the rice so it will be ready to serve when the bobotie is ready.

Bobotie is a great family style meal.

Not only is the uie & tamatie a great condiment for this dish, but so is mango chutney, freshly sliced bananas and coconut shavings.

I’d you’ve never had a South African dish, or bobotie I urge you try this recipe! It may look intimidating but it is a pretty simple dish to compose and it is down right delicious!

The best part is piling up your plate with all the delicious components.

Of course that neat, organized pile won’t last long. You’ll quickly discover this dish is best all mixed up, allowing the savory, spicy and sweet to all play so well together.

 

 

Homemade Pasta – A Photo Tutorial

As you can probably tell from my lack of a Sunday Project Food Blog post, I’m out of the competition. I can’t lie and say that I wasn’t bummed, but making it to round three was absolutely amazing. And I couldn’t have done it without your help, so thank you for all your kind comments and of course for your votes. Make sure to check out all the round four entries, there are some very talented bloggers still in the competition!

We had no choice but to do this challenge in advance of the results for round three (which I’m convinced is the reason I didn’t make it through — I jinxed myself!), so all the cooking was done and the pictures taken. Therefore, I decided to post anyway, whether it be for my reassurance, my benefit (or maybe even yours!) or just in support of all the other PFB challengers out there. So…here it is, my would-be post for round four of Project Food Blog.

Before I get into the details though, a few notes on making fresh pasta. Marcella Hazan is the Italian God. We turn to her for any and everything Italian that I don’t know from my family. According to her pasta-making tips, regular old all-purpose flour works perfectly fine for fresh, homemade pasta. In fact, she says it’s best for home cooks. Traditional pasta is made with 00 or doppio zero flour, which is apparently near-impossible to find. It’s the finest of flours, perfect for traditional Italian cooking. Then there’s semolina flour, which is what’s traditionally used in dried pastas. Marcella actually suggests not using this type of flour as it’s frustrating to work with. Well, we read this after buying semolina flour specifically for this challenge. So, we used it anyway. The semolina flour reminded me more of cornmeal than flour, and it was a little more difficult to work with than regular all-purpose flour, but in the end everything turned out just fine. We actually liked the taste and texture of the cooked pasta better than any pasta we’ve made using all-purpose flour. Anyway, enough blabbing. Basically, it’s up to you what flour you use, but all-purpose is probably the safest bet.

Homemade Pasta

{Print this Recipe}
Here’s what you’ll need:
Makes: about 1 pound
– 1 cup flour
– 2 eggs

Instructions:
Pour the flour out onto a large counter or flat workspace in one large mound (in other words, don’t spread it out). Using your hand or the bottom of a measuring cup, form a hole in the center. Make sure the “walls” of the mound are secure since you’ll be mixing the eggs in the center. Crack the eggs into the center of the mound and gently beat them with a fork. As you’re beating the eggs, begin to draw some of the flour over onto the eggs, mixing with the fork, until the eggs are no longer runny.

Because you may not need to use all of the flour, push some to the side before mixing completely. Draw the sides of the mound together with your hands and begin to work the eggs and flour together using your fingers and the palms of your hand. The dough will still be pretty sticky at this point. Continue to work the eggs and flour together until you have a smooth mixture. Test the dough by pressing your finger into the center — if your finger comes out clean and the dough doesn’t feel sticky, no more flour is needed. If the dough is still too moist, add some of the flour you set aside. Clean your work surface and begin kneading the dough.

According to Marcella, there’s a “proper way” to knead the dough: “Push forward against the dough using the heel of your palm, keeping your fingers bent. Fold the mass in half, give it a half turn, press hard against it with the heel of your palm again, and repeat the operation. Make sure that you keep turning the ball of dough always in the same direction. When you have kneaded it thus for eight full minutes and the dough is as smoother as baby skin, it is ready for the machine.”

After kneading for eight full minutes, prepare the dough for the pasta machine. Set up an area near your machine with clean, dry cloths to allow the pasta to dry. Cut the dough into three equal parts and wrap two of the separated balls in plastic wrap so they don’t dry out. Working with one piece of the dough, flatten it with the palm of your hand. Using the widest opening of the thinning rollers on your machine, feed the flattened piece of dough through the machine. Next, fold the dough twice into a third of it’s length and feed it by the narrow end through the machine again. Repeat this process two or three times on the widest setting, then close down the opening to the very next setting. Run the dough strip through the lower setting one time, then close down the opening by one notch again. Continue this process, lowering the setting by one notch each time, until you reach the desired thickness (you don’t necessarily have to go to the smallest setting on your pasta machine). Place the flattened dough on the towel and repeat the whole process again with the other two pieces of dough. Once all the strips have been flattened to the desired thickness, let them dry for at least 10 minutes before cutting. The strips are ready to be cut when they’re still moist enough so they won’t crack, but dry enough so they won’t stick together.

Once all the pasta is cut it’s ready to be cooked (or dried for storage). Place it all in one cloth and carefully slide it into a large pot of salted, boiling water. Begin stirring the pasta immediately to keep it from sticking together as it cooks. Fresh pasta will cook in five minutes or less, so make sure to keep a close eye on it. I also like to keep my fresh pasta moving as it cooks.

I’m reading over this blog and it sort of sounds really difficult and a little confusing, but I promise it’s not. It’s just a lot to explain, but it really is an easy thing to do — and the results are worth the little effort it takes. The dough comes together easily, and once you get in a routine of flattening and cutting the pasta, you’ll find that it’s ready to cook in no time.

Fresh pasta is so much different than dried. It’s…fresher (obviously), and that’s evident in the cooking process and (of course) the taste and texture. It cooks so quickly, and it plumps up as it cooks. The end result is thick, pillowy strands of pasta that can never be compared to the dried variety. A simple, light sauce is perfect for homemade pasta — you don’t want something that’s heavy and overpowering for the delicate work you’ve done!

Homemade pasta doesn’t have to be scary. It’s definitely not something you’ll do all the time, but it’s great for a special treat. Plus, it’s pretty dang awesome to enjoy a homemade dinner from start to finish! A special thanks to Billy for doing all the hard work while I snapped a million photos. 🙂