A safari in Africa is up there with my ultimate dream of visiting Southeast Asia. Although I have been to Africa, it was North Africa (Morocco) which is nothing like Sub-Saharan Africa. I admit I’m a bit apprehensive of the flight namely due to my fear of contracting phlebitis which is an inflammation of the leg or arm veins caused by prolonged inactivity. (Twenty-two hour flights will definitely fall under the prolonged inactivity category; my uncle had phlebitis after his return flight home to New York from Johannesburg.) However, long flight or not, I definitely wouldn’t let that deter me from a trip that would include seeing the “big five” or Table Mountain.
This week in the mail I received my two travel magazines I subscribe to, Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel and National Geographic Traveler. I was immensely excited when I saw in National Geographic an advertisement on food and wine travels in South Africa. What was even cooler was that it included a recipe for a famous entree so naturally my destination for this week’s food travels was an easy pick.
Bobotie (ba-boor-tea) is the national dish of South Africa consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping. I made the dish long ago from a children’s cookbook of global foods but never forgot its distinct name. It was just as good as I remembered if not even better since this recipe was for grownups and not 10 year old cooks.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, peeled and sliced
2 1/4 pounds minced beef or lamb
1 thick slice of white bread
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons salt
freshly ground pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon)
3/4 teaspoon tumeric
1 1/2 tablespoons malt vinegar
1/2 cup seedless raisins
2 tablespoons fruit chutney
2 bay or fresh lemon leaves
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heat oil in pan and sautee onions over medium heat until transparent. Add minced meat and cook until lightly brown and crumbly. Soak bread in half the milk, squeeze out the excess liquid and mash with a fork. Pour the squeezed out milk back into the remaining milk and set aside. Add the mashed bread, curry powder, sugar, salt, pepper, tumeric, vinegar, raisins, and chutney to fried meat and onions and mix. Spoon mixture into a greased baking dish and press bay or lemon leaves on top. Bake in oven for 50-60 minutes. Beat eggs with milk and pour over the mixture approximately 25-30 minutes before the end of baking time.
To accompany the bobotie I made ntomo krakro (sweet potato fritters). My only complaint is that they were extremely messy to handle when shaping into balls. Other than that, it was a nice tasting fall dish.
Ntomo Krakro (Sweet Potato Fritters)
4 sweet potatoes
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
enough water or milk to think the mixture into a fairly soft dough
2 large eggs, beaten
breadcrumbs for coating
oil (for frying)
Peel and boil the sweet potatoes until tender, mash them well. Beat eggs and add them to the sweet potatoes along with the flour, butter, dash of salt, and water (or milk). Shape mixture into balls, dip first in beaten eggs and then coat with breadcrumbs. Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain well and serve hot.
I had planned to make a dessert from Mozambique that involved papaya but due to my local supermarket not having any ripe ones I wasn’t able to make it tonight so there will be a part two for this week’s food travels.