Week 80. South Africa. Bobotie.

South Africa

Anyone for Bread and Butter Pudding with a Curry, mixed together?

For anyone who has not tasted this dish, you need a creative mind to imagine it is anything but revolting.

Bread and Butter Pudding is an Old English dish in which you take bread, soak pieces in milk, add fruit and eggs (and a few other bits) and bake it in the oven. It’s delicious.

Bobotie is a dish in which you take bread, soak pieces in milk, add fruit and eggs (see what’s happening here) and then add a few other bits – like mince, garlic, and curry paste – and bake it in the oven.

Bobotie reads like a savoury bread and butter pudding with a thicker custard topping. This was going to have to be made and tested.

Here is the recipe – I’ll discuss the taste after you have considered what is in it.

  • 1 large slice of white bread
  • 1 large onion
  • Knob of butter
  • A crushed garlic clove
  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 tbsp curry paste
  • 1 clove
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 150ml full-fat milk (plus 100ml for the bread)
  • 1 egg

Oven to 180 deg

Soak the bread in 100ml of milk

Simmer onions in butter and garlic on a low heat for 20 mins, being careful not to burn the garlic

Add the beef and brown

Stir in the curry paste, spices, mango chutney, banana, raisins, 2 bay leaves, a tsp of salt and a tsp of pepper. Cook gently for 10 mins.

Take the mixture off the heat. Squeeze the milk out of the bread and then chop the bread up and mix well into the meat. You really want the bread to crumble and really mix in.

Tip into an oven dish and compact as much as you can so the top is flat. If you have time to chill it, that’s even better.

Beat the egg with the milk and then add the remaining bay leaf and season. Bake for 40 mins until the top is golden brown.

Garnish with rice and chopped banana

RESULT and TASTE REVIEW:

Curries, when I was young, were routinely served with a chopped banana. It was normal then. Something semi sweet to take the heat of the curry away….not that I was given very hot curries as a child. This trend trailed off and I had forgotten about it. This dish brought it all back. Curry with banana.

The custard topping was fine. It wasn’t sweet and the texture was…ok. It worked with the spice of the dish, better than a potato topping would have. What really worked was the banana inside. It plumped up the meat and made it taste richer. It really worked. It was a good dish. My wife loves sweet food and preferred it to me, but I did like it. What I really didn’t get was the milky bread. I couldn’t tell it was in the dish. I’m very full – perhaps it is that.

If you ever ate a banana with a curry when you were a kid, try this dish. If you didn’t, and you can cope with the thought of a custard topping on spicy meat, then give it a go. It’s worth it.

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One thought on “Week 80. South Africa. Bobotie.

  1. I’ve never heard of banana and curry before!? Perhaps something happened in our 3 year age gap that changed culinary trends in our local area. I don’t think I’ll be trying the banana but I’m down for a baked bread curry dish. This is something that could possible also please a younger palate if the curry isn’t too hot as my kid doesn’t really seem to care if he has banana in one hand and beef in the other – he shoves both hands in his mouth happily!
    Anyone else singing Bibbety Bobotie Boo?

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